Next year full of healthcare wild cards

Well, happy 2008, readers! Hope you had a great holiday break, and are back, renewed, refreshed and ready to power up for this year's challenges. During 2007, we're proud to say that FierceHealthcare grew to more than 35,000 subscribers, all of you well-connected, sophisticated health leaders. We're honored to serve you, and invite you to tell us what we can do to support you further.

In this issue, I'm going to take a close look at some of the trends that should have a significant impact on healthcare providers and payers this year. And there are some really important issues in play here across virtually every sector--for example, retail clinics are threatening to change key dynamics in ambulatory care, and IRS/state actions are poised to shake up charity care policies among not-for-profits. Meanwhile, given that we elect a president this year--and that many state health reform programs are well underway--politics should play a particularly large role in shaping the industry in '08.

All told, it's easy to see that this year should be full of healthcare wild cards, so expect some high-velocity changes to take place. The fun will be in figuring out which stay tuned. -Anne