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Daily Briefing Blog

The makings of a 'Best Place to Work'

August 20, 2014

Clare Rizer, Daily Briefing

Modern Healthcare last week released its list of the "Best Places to Work" in health care, which includes industry leader hospitals, suppliers, and payers. (Of the 100 entities named, several dozen were Advisory Board members.)

But what makes a health care company a "Best Place to Work"? And how can your organization become one if it isn't already on the list?

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It's not just Ebola. Thousands of outbreaks are threatening communities across the globe.

August 15, 2014

Paige Baschuck, Daily Briefing

The deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa—widely ignored when it first began—is now on the front pages of newspapers across the globe. Fears of the disease's spread have taken hold, even though experts say it's unlikely that a large outbreak will occur outside of Africa.

Troops cordon off Ebola-struck areas—a tactic unseen since 1918

The Ebola outbreak should get the kind of coverage it is getting. But there are many other outbreaks that aren't getting the same kind of scrutiny.

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#ALSIceBucketChallenge: How did it start—and is it safe?

August 13, 2014

Clare Rizer, Daily Briefing

Here at the Daily Briefing, we are committed to covering health topics both large and small—and one trend sweeping the globe has us (and everyone else) abuzz: The #ALSIceBucketChallenge.

What is the #ALSIceBucketChallenge?

On Facebook, Twitter, or even TV, you've likely seen videos of friends dumping buckets of ice water on their heads, all in the name of spreading awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

The challenge was started by friends of former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012, and involves either donating money to ALS research or dumping a bucket of ice water on your head within 24 hours of receiving the challenge. The idea is to keep the cycle going and encourage other friends to accept the challenge or make a donation.

It has become a phenomenon. Just this week, Ethel Kennedy took the challenge and then issued it to President Obama. (He says he will be making a donation to the charity.)

The challenge has been a donation boon. From July 29 to Aug. 11, the ALS Association received $1.35 million in donations. (That's compared to $22,000 received over the same time period last year.)

Another Web sensation: Everybody (Pink Glove) dance now

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Why are suicides rising—and how can hospitals help?

August 12, 2014

Dan Diamond, Managing Editor

Robin Williams' death on Monday put a spotlight on depression—how it can strike anyone, anywhere, anytime. Even one of the world's funniest, most successful men.

And it also underscores an awful fact: The nation's death rate may be falling, but the suicide rate is only going up.

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EHR rollouts aren't an IT issue. How execs need to get involved

August 12, 2014

Clare Rizer, Daily Briefing

On the surface, implementing a new electronic health record (EHR) system sounds like a problem for the hospital's IT department. But this assumption can quickly tank any rollout—as officials at a Georgia hospital saw earlier this year.   

Hospital CEO resigns after botched EHR rollout

EHR rollouts are complicated and affect nearly everyone from the CEO to the newest nurse on staff. But how can leaders—clinical, technical, and executive—make sure all of the key players are heard and incorporated into the process?

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Ebola: How the deadliest outbreak in history spread

August 5, 2014

Paige Baschuck, Daily Briefing

The 2014 Ebola outbreak hit a new milestone on Monday—infecting 1,603 and killing a record 887 victims in a few short months, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO). It is the deadliest outbreak of the virus since it was first detected in 1976.

The virus—which kills about two-thirds of the people it infects by causing uncontrollable bleeding—has no vaccine and no cure.

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Health care for $4: Walmart launches primary-care clinics in South Carolina

August 4, 2014

Dan Diamond, Managing Editor

With more than 1 million workers, 140 million customers, and thousands of stores, Walmart operates on a grand scale across the United States. 

But despite advance buzz that captivated the industry last year, the company's actual moves into primary care haven't gotten much attention—partly because Walmart's new clinics have been popping up in smaller markets.

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Who's saying no to the ACA? The states that might need it the most.

July 24, 2014

Dan Diamond, Managing Editor

Reformers hoped that the Affordable Care Act would empower the states to experiment with their health systems. And sure—there's a "private option" here, a coordinated care organization demo there.

But rather than lend itself to 50 different laboratories, Obamacare is generally setting up a stark divide across the nation.

(The "Two Americas," you might call it.)

About half of the nation's Americans are living under the ACA's full coverage expansion.

The other half is missing out, as their state's leaders have opted out.

Two-dozen states have said no to Medicaid. Three dozen have decided not to run their own exchanges, which could become a much bigger deal pending the outcome of Halbig v. Burwell and this week's associated court cases.

Like a funhouse mirror, where the states stand on Obamacare has led to two versions of American health care that increasingly look very different.

  • In the pro-ACA states, the uninsured rate is rapidly falling, even as the share of government reimbursement is quickly rising. 
  • In the states sitting out, uncompensated care remains a serious issue—and hospitals and doctors may be more rapidly pushed to try their own reforms as a result.

Most media attention of this issue has focused on the politics of reform; some coverage has played up the finances, too. But remember: There's more at stake than just the optics of coverage expansion.

Based on measures of mortality and other health outcomes, the states that are generally saying no to Medicaid—the ones that are resisting the ACA—are the states that might need it the most.

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