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America’s health care sector is shifting rapidly to a system where patients can get better information about the quality and cost of care, and there is competition to provide them with the best value.
That’s the word from Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, from a roundtable of key business, union, government, community and health care leaders from across the United States. Continue Reading Health care industry becoming more transparent

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Starting June 9, the Visiting Nurse Association will provide public wellness clinics the second Saturday of each month at 5373 N. Union Blvd, suite 101.
Registered nurses from the VNA will answer questions and provide access to health services for reduced fees. Continue Reading Weekend clinics will focus on preventative care

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Survey results were released last week about the success of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which Congress is debating whether to reauthorize.
The program works to reduce the number of uninsured, low-income children in the United States. Continue Reading Children’s health insurance plan gets rave reviews

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Information technology systems provide some assistance for hospitals’ data-collection initiatives but fall short of completely automating the processes.
That’s one finding from a Government Accountability Office report about hospitals’ efforts to collect data for a series of quality measures.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ annual payment update program requires hospitals to submit the information every quarter to avoid reductions in Medicare payments. Continue Reading GAO: IT systems falling short in data collection

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The Food and Drug Administration has indicated it will close its laboratory in Denver, according to the Sen. Ken Salazar’s office.
Salazar has joined with Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Arlen Specter to save the lab, which has 52 employees. Continue Reading FDA puts Denver FERN laboratory on closure list

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Affiliated Computer Services will continue to manage the state’s Medicaid records for the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing as part of a three-year, $67 million contract.
ACS has held the contract since 1996. The company processes more than 25 million claims annually. Continue Reading State Medicaid records contract awarded to ACS

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The Health Maintenance Organization industry in Colorado saw massive profits in 2006, according to Colorado Managed Care, a newsletter published by James Hertel.
The HMO industry doubled its 2005 profits during 2006.
The combined before-tax profits grew to $213.78 million — up 111 percent. Continue Reading Health maintenance organization profits double

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Health departments eye immunization awareness

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Bibs for babies and a Web conference for local doctors’ offices about vaccination updates top the list of a month-long push to increase immunization rates in El Paso and Pueblo counties.
The bibs will be handed out free to WIC, Nurse-Family Partnership, immunization clinics and birth certificate clients in both health departments and have an “immunize me” message. Continue Reading Health departments eye immunization awareness

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With the date for complying with National Provider Identifier regulations looming May 23, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has developed a contingency plan for health care providers who will not meet the deadline.
Required as part of the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, every health care provider is supposed to have applied for a unique identification number. But many providers have not obtained the required documentation, according to CMS acting administrator Leslie V. Norwalk. Continue Reading CMS allows more time for health care ID numbers

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Colorado’s economic loss during a severe flu pandemic could be nearly $12 billion.
According to a report by Trust for America’s Health, Colorado’s economy could face a 5.4 percent loss — or $11.7 billion — during a severe flu pandemic. The loss represents the 38th highest percentage loss of the 50 states. Continue Reading Pandemic could cause billion dollar losses in Colo.

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