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  • Tom Boyd

Medical Checkups By Phone’s

Government News of the Week

January 31, 2011

Medicare Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs), the controversial contingency-fee “bounty hunters” that have made such a splash in finding overpayments in fee-for-service, are coming to Medicare Advantage as a result of the health reform law.  And CMS’s Dec. 23 request for comments on how RACs should be used in MA suggest the agency is well aware that the different nature of MA and FFS could make for some complications, especially since it is the plans, rather than the government, that are at direct risk on overpayments to providers in MA … (more)

Long Term Care, Inc., in Charlotte, N.C., has agreed to pay $170,000 in a civil monetary penalties settlement with OIG for employing an excluded individual, according to the settlement, which AIS obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request … (more)


Hospital Labor Costs Ratchet Up; Wage Growth Still Slow

By: John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 28, 2011

Total compensation costs – wages, salaries, and benefits – for hospital employees rose 2.1% in 2010, just above the 2% rise in total compensation costs for all workers in the larger economy, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Cost Index shows.


High-Risk Pools, Hospital Readmissions Among Health Law Topics In The News

Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, January 31, 2011

The Sacramento Bee:  Medical Checkups By Phone Ring Up Savings

A telephone chat with a nurse instead of an office visit with a doctor may seem impersonal, but good medicine sometimes means keeping patients away from doctors and hospitals. … Under the federal health care law, Medicare will begin rewarding hospitals with incentive payments meant to cut down on recurring – and expensive – hospital readmissions.  The government expects to save $8 billion over the next decade if Medicare patients can remain healthy and avoid repeat visits to the hospital because of relapsing conditions.  The approach is prompting doctors, hospitals and other medical care providers to look for ways to reap the higher Medicare payments (Calvan, 1/30).


Efforts To Repeal Medicare Advisory Board Could Attract Dem Support

Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, January 31, 2011

CT Mirror:  In Attack On Health Reform, Republicans Target Medicare Advisory Board

This week, a half-dozen House Republicans unveiled a one-paragraph piece of legislation to dismantle the [Independent Payment Advisory Board], well before it ever gets going.  And unlike most other Republican repeal initiatives, this GOP effort might attract some Democratic company (Shesgreen, 1/28).


Today’s Datapoint

AIS’s Health Business Daily, January 31, 2011

35% … in tax credits are available to small employers who pay at least 50% of their employees’ health insurance premiums, if they have 10 or fewer employees with average annual salaries of $25,000 or less.

Click here to read the HEALTH PLAN WEEK article in which this datapoint appeared.  (Free for HPW subscribers; $17 for non subscribers).


The Best Jobs In America 2011

The Huffington Post, January 10, 2011

  1. Software Engineer

  2. Mathematician

  3. Actuary

  4. Statistician

  5. Computer System Analyst

  6. Meteorologist

  7. Biologist

  8. Historian

  9. Audiologist

  10. Dental Hygienist


TIPS for Extraordinary Living (excerpt)

…four steps that I consider fundamental to designing, creating and living your own World Class Life:

  1. Clarity about the life you want. … Be clear.  Write it down.  Design the life you want with clarity and precision.  Then go after it with power and purpose.

  2. Maintain extremely high standards. …taking care of your health, getting enough sleep, keeping a reasonable schedule, doing your work, treating other people well… .  The quality of your life is in the details. …

  3. Acquire the skills you need. … Learn what you need to know.  Study.  Get a coach or mentor, take classes, attend workshops. …

  4. Persistent Self-Discipline. … A World Class Life has lots of time for play, but when work or diligence are called for, winners do the right things, in the right way, in a timely manner. … No one can stop you from creating and living the life you desire! 


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