Halvorson pushes for systematic healthcare reform; Three workers fired after suspicious death at NC facility;

> Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson isn't one to mince words. While he is all for decreasing the cost of healthcare in the U.S., he also believes that that won't occur until the care to patients improves. In Monday's keynote address at HIMSS09 in Chicago, Halvorson called for a "systematic" approach to fixing the healthcare system. HIMSS09 Coverage

> Congress is expected to set hard and fast rates it will pay Medicare Advantage Providers next year, with a 5-percent cut after formula adjustments also expected in subsidies that CMS had awarded the providers during the Bush administration. In recent years,  consumer advocates among others questioned the rate structure and actual value of Medicare Advantage plans. The Obama administration has voiced similar concerns, and wants to be sure that the plans are not overpaid particularly if they do not provide value or better care. Article

> Three healthcare workers were fired last week following the unusual death of a patient in a North Carolina medical facility. The suspicious death of a female patient at O'Berry Neuro-Medical Treatment Center last month triggered an investigation by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. The agency found that the patient "was not provided adequate supervision." CMS has threatened to cut the facility's $4.7 million a month funding if it does not comply with a plan of correction by April 15. Article

> Cash strapped patients are delaying procedures, causing revenue drops at Rhode Island hospitals. For example, at Lifespan Hospital Network--which includes Rhode Island, Newport, Bradley and Miriam Hospitals--the number of people seeking surgery from October to January declined by 350 compared with last year, a drop of about 2.6 percent. Kaiser Family Foundation says that this is a national trend. Article

And Finally... What a load of fluff! Article