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The move toward online health records has taken a big step forward.
Microsoft and Kaiser Permanente plan to test a program that will provide information transfers from Kaiser’s health manager to Microsoft’s consumer health platform.
The pilot program is expected to create strategies for expanding consumer access to online health information and management tools. Continue Reading Kaiser, Microsoft testing online records program

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Health insurance premiums in Colorado grew nearly 60 percent between 2000 and 2006, and the cost of coverage is eating away at an increasing share of business expenses and employees’ wages.
The Colorado Business Health Forum says that employee contributions to family premiums grew 85 percent between 2000 and 2005, from an average of $1,536 to $2,845. During the same period, average wage growth was 12 percent. Continue Reading Rising health care costs hammer Colorado businesses, workers

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Colorado hospitals will have the chance to test bundled payments for hospitals and doctor services through a Medicare demonstration program being tested by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The goal of Acute Care Episode testing is to determine whether combining the payments leads to better quality and greater efficiency using a global-payments system to align incentives for providers. Continue Reading Pilot program for bundled payments ready to launch

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Nursing teachers have the opportunity to qualify to have as much as $20,000 of their student loan debt forgiven through the Loan Incentive for Teachers of Nursing Program.
A total of $250,000 in student loan forgiveness is available through CollegeInvest. Qualified teachers can receive up to $4,000 in student loan forgiveness each year for five years. Continue Reading Nurses may qualify for student-loan debt forgiveness

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The number of small group plans decreased in Colorado during 2007, according to the Colorado Division of Insurance’s annual small group activity report.
While the report shows no significant increase or decrease in the number of people covered by small group insurance from 2006 to 2007, the number of plans decreased from 48,288 to 45,667. Continue Reading Small group plans decrease, but number served steady

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The cost of long-term care in Colorado has increased 20 percent since 2004, compared to a nationwide increase of 17 percent.
A Cost of Care Survey released by Genworth Financial Group finds that the cost of elder care in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and at-home care increased for the fifth straight year. One year in a private nursing home in Colorado, for example, costs $75,259. By contrast, the national average for the same type of facility is $76,460 — Continue Reading Long-term care costs rise for fifth consecutive year

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More than half of small businesses do not offer a company health care plan to employees, according to a survey conducted by online payroll service SurePayroll.
Owners say that offering insurance is too expensive, the survey said, with 32 percent fewer small businesses indicating they offer health insurance than during 2006.
“The cost of doing business is going up — health insurance premiums are going up. Continue Reading More small businesses decline to offer insurance

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All Penrose-St. Francis Health Services campuses will be tobacco-free starting Aug. 8, with no designated smoking areas available at any of its facilities.
“We’re committed to preserving the health and wellness of our patients and associates, as well as promoting a true healing environment,” said Kristine Barrett, health improvement incentive program coordinator for the hospital.
The Aug. 8 date coincides with the opening of the St. Francis Medical Center in northern Colorado Springs. Continue Reading Opening of new hospital coincides with the last light up at Penrose

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There is a significant blind spot hindering hospitals’ efforts to protect data and patient identity.
Security of Patient Data, commissioned by Kroll Fraud Solutions, reveals that the industry’s focus on medical privacy has fostered a lack of awareness about patient identity theft.
“Health care facilities are complex environments where information is stored and shared in a number of ways that are critical to patient well-being,” said Brian Lapidus, chief operating officer of Kroll Fraud Solutions. Continue Reading Hospital security policies put personal data at risk

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Lack of health insurance kills one person every day in Colorado.
That’s the word from Families USA, the national organization for health care consumers. The state-specific report is based on a national study by the Institute of Medicine, which forged a direct link between a lack of health coverage and deaths from health-related causes. Continue Reading Adults without health insurance at greater risk of death

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