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WHO Closer To Declaring Swine Flu Outbreak A Pandemic

The WHO on Tuesday said it was "getting closer" to declaring the H1N1 (swine) flu outbreak to be a pandemic, as the virus continues to spread to people outside of North America, and in populations "as far apart as Britain, Spain, Japan, Chile and Australia, " the AP/Washington Post reports (Jordans, AP/Washington Post, 6/2). The WHO on Wednesday confirmed that 66 countries have officially reported 19, 273 cases of H1N1, including 117 deaths. A full list of country cases and deaths is available here (WHO Influenza A(H1N1) - update 43, 6/3). "We still are waiting for evidence of really widespread community activity in these countries, and so it's fair to say that they are in transition and are not quite there yet, which is why we are not in phase 6 yet, " WHO's Assistant Director General Keiji Fukuda said (AP/Washington Post, 6/2).

Statement By Senior Vice President Of Public Affairs, Premier Healthcare Alliance, On Association, Labor Action Plan To Reduce Healthcare Costs

The Premier healthcare alliance applauds the healthcare stakeholders group for their commitment to achieve up to $2 trillion in savings over the next decade. The 2, 100 non-profit hospitals in the Premier healthcare alliance are at the forefront of efforts to improve the quality, safety and affordability of healthcare. Through the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration (HQID), QUEST: High Performing Hospitals collaborative, Perinatal Safety Initiative and others, the Premier alliance has a long-standing track record of improving healthcare performance. Through these efforts, Premier hospitals have identified hundreds of billions of dollars in potential savings that can be shaved from the system without compromising patient care.

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Low Medicare Reimbursement Rates Hurt Hospitals In Iowa And California

Low Medicare reimbursement rates are not keeping up with costs at hospitals in Iowa and California while a grant helps boost Medicare enrollment in Missouri. Television Station KHQA 7 reports on how Iowa hospitals are losing millions of dollars a year because of low payments from the state and federal government. "For years Medicare pays 14 percent less than what it actually costs for hospitals to provide the care to patients. Medicaid payments are even lower and many times are late in coming, " KHQA reports. The station reports that "while Iowa ranks third lowest in the nation for Medicare reimbursements it's not hurting patient care." A recent Commonwealth Fund Study that found that "Iowa hospitals are number two in the nation for quality of patient care, patient access and affordability.

AMA Outlines Initiatives To White House To Help Slow Increases In Health Spending

Statement attributable to: Nancy H. Nielsen, M.D. President, American Medical Association "The American Medical Association (AMA) joined with five other organizations in the health sector today to outline initiatives to help achieve President Obama's goal of decreasing the health-care cost growth rate by 1.5 percent, saving $2 trillion or more over the next 10 years. "The AMA is committed to action to help achieve greater value from our nation's health-care spending. We want to help bend the spending curve and move forward on health reform. Our proposals focus on making sure people get the right care at the right time, addressing appropriateness of care, overutilization of some services and avoidable hospital readmissions.

Public Are Key To Fighting NHS Fraud

The contribution of the public and healthcare workers in the fight against fraud and corruption is commended by Managing Director of NHS Counter Fraud, Dermid McCausland in an online broadcast at to launch Fraud Awareness Month (FAM), June 2009: "Whether you are an NHS employee, a contractor, a supplier of goods and services or a member of the public, your input is vitally important in our joint fight against fraud and corruption." McCausland presents the often complex work of NHS Counter Fraud in plain terms. He warns that a minority of people who work in and use the NHS are not honest. The honest majority need to be aware of the types of fraud being committed and should not be afraid to report it - which they can do anonymously on the NHS Fraud & Corruption Reporting Line 0800 028 40 60.

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Hospital Disaster Potential Highighted By Swedish Study

Factors that lead to emergency department overcrowdings, ambulance diversions and other incidents that endanger patient safety have been revealed. A study published in BioMed Central's open access Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine has shown that reductions in the number of hospital beds and downsizing or closure of emergency departments may create a dangerous loss of 'surge capacity'. Amir Khorram-Manesh, from the Prehospital and Disaster Medicine Centre, Gothenburg, Sweden, worked with Annika Hedelin and Per Ortenwall to study all data concerning 'hospital-related incidents' in Sweden's Region VĂ stra GĂ taland between January 2006 and December 2008.

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