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Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and Web.

Iowa News

Iowa’s congressional delegate mulls future of health care reform
President Obama is urging Democrats in congress not to “walk away” from health care reform and Iowa Democrats who’re serving in the House and Senate appear to be on the same page.  (Radio Iowa)

TEAM Opens New Des Moines Data Center
TEAM Technologies and the Iowa Health System held a grand opening for the $15 million first phase of a 46,000 square foot data center in Waukee, Iowa. The facility will house the patient and employee records for Iowa Health and be managed by TEAM Companies, which is building a network of data centers in second-tier markets in the upper Midwest. (Data Center Knowledge)

Back seat belt regulation a step closer to reality in Iowa
Vehicle safety proponents are making a new push to expand Iowa’s seat-belt law to include back-seat passengers under 18 years of age. A Senate subcommittee Thursday approved a measure that would change the current law requiring the use of seat belts, safety harnesses or child restraint systems for back-seat passengers under age 10 to cover youngster in the 11-17 age range effective July 1. (Sioux City Journal)

Harkin: Taking the temperature of rural health care
Patients and doctors in rural areas face an entirely different set of obstacles than their urban counterparts. On top of that, approximately 247,000 people, or 8 percent of Iowa’s population, cannot access a primary care provider due to shortages in their communities. And because rural Americans are more likely to be self employed, they are less likely to have employer-based health insurance and prescription drug coverage. (IowaPolitics)

U.S. News

After Obama speech, Democrats confused about path ahead
Democrats left town early Thursday weighing their next steps on everything from the stalled health-care bill to competing job-creation packages. Before they departed, some criticized Obama for casting blame on the Senate, where moderates felt singled out for ridicule. Others sought to shift the burden to the GOP. Still others said the president’s calls for bipartisanship were wishful thinking and suggested that daring Republicans to block their ambitious agenda would set up a “liberating” contrast for November’s midterm elections. (Washington Post)

Health care reform: Can Mayo emerge a winner?
Despite a long history of staying out of politics, Mayo catapulted out of southern Minnesota and onto the national stage to join Washington’s debate over health care reform. The goal: Get Medicare to reward the most efficient hospitals and pay less to the least efficient — cutting waste, raising quality and saving money all around. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

AG finds clout of hospitals drives cost
Massachusetts insurance companies pay some hospitals and doctors twice as much money as others for essentially the same patient care, according to a preliminary report by Attorney General Martha Coakley. It points to the market clout of the best-paid providers as a main driver of the state’s spiraling health care costs. (Boston Globe)

Hospitals not ready for swell of data to come
A survey sponsored by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and Dell has found that the data centers of small and medium-sized hospitals in North America, Europe, and China are not prepared for the “wave of data” that will soon be inundating them. (Healthcare IT News)

Haiti aid efforts go awry in the ‘convoy to nowhere’
It’s not typical for so much to go wrong on a major operation like this—in fact, on Thursday, the Army successfully delivered the cargo, in the largest single-day food distribution here. But a diary of Wednesday’s journey reads like an anthology of the obstacles stifling efforts to deliver aid since an earthquake turned the Haitian capital to rubble two weeks ago. (Wall Street Journal)

GDP expands at 5.7% rate
Gross domestic product rose a seasonally adjusted 5.7% annual rate October through December, the Commerce Department said Friday in its first estimate of fourth-quarter GDP. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast 4.8% GDP growth during the fall. (Wall Street Journal)

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Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and Web.

Iowa News

Long takes over as Skiff CEO
When Steve Long took over recently as the chief executive officer at Skiff Medical Center, he inherited an operation that was losing nearly a half-million dollars per month, had gone through a painful reduction in force, and had been without a permanent leader for nearly a year. Long believes he knows how to turn the hospital around. (Newton Daily News)

Governor’s budget hinges on state reorganization/tax credit elimination
Culver is calling for the state to spend $5.662 billion in the fiscal year that begins July 1, according to the proposed budget released just moments ago. That’s an increase of $412.5 million as compared to the current year’s revised budget but still below the legislature’s original allocation in the current fiscal year of $5.756 billion. (Des Moines Register)

Scholarships help Genesis build relationships with nurses
The Genesis Health Services Foundation is providing scholarships of $10,000 for students who have been accepted or are already enrolled in an undergraduate baccalaureate nursing program in an Iowa or Illinois college or university. (Moline, Illinois, Dispatch/Argus)

U.S. News

Obama appeals to Congress to save health care bill
In his State of the Union address, the president urged Democrats and Republicans to let temperatures cool and take another look at the legislation that passed the House and Senate last year. Obama said his administration and Congress have gotten closer than ever to insuring millions more. (Associated Press)

Pelosi suggests maneuver to pass healthcare overhaul
The speaker says the House should pass the Senate’s version of the plan and then use ‘budget reconciliation’ to make changes that some lawmakers want. The procedure could circumvent a GOP filibuster. (Los Angeles Times)

South Florida hospitals send Haitian earthquake victims north
The U.S. military is evacuating Haitian earthquake victims to northern portions of Florida to make sure Miami emergency rooms are ready for the Super Bowl. In addition, Gov. Charlie Crist formally asked the federal government Wednesday to have other states’ hospitals receive future patients who come to the United States from the quake-stricken nation. (Miami Herald)

Louisiana wins fight for hospital
Ending one of the longest-running disputes left by Hurricane Katrina, a federal arbitration panel ruled Wednesday that Louisiana would receive $474.8 million — nearly all it had requested — to pay for the replacement of Charity Hospital in New Orleans, which has been closed since the storm. (New York Times)

Rising copays for elderly patients linked to more time in the hospital
Faced with rising copayments, elderly people visited their doctors less but ended up in the hospital more often and for longer stays, according to a new study assessing the impact of cost-sharing both on patients’ health and  their health plans’ bottom line. (Boston Globe)

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Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and Web.

Iowa News

Lawmakers tout new health care plan
Legislative leaders are touting a plan to make health care easier for poor and moderate-income Iowans to find, but they acknowledged Tuesday the meatiest parts of the plan couldn’t take effect without increased federal money. (Des Moines Register)

King, Bachmann to launch health care ‘declaration’
U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, hopes to reshape the national health care reform debate today when he introduces the Declaration of Health Care Independence. (Sioux City Journal)

State money lets Polk County pull 160 off mental health care waiting list
One hundred sixty Polk County residents have been removed from a waiting list for long-term mental health care that reached record levels last year. The development is a “good start,” Polk County Supervisor Robert Brownell said. But 490 people with mental disorders or retardation will continue to wait two years or longer for intensive support. (Des Moines Register)

Siouxland blood bank in merger talks
Talks between the Sioux City-based blood bank and the Blood Center of Iowa, headquartered in Des Moines, are aimed at lowering the cost of blood for the more than 85 hospitals served by the two organizations. (Sioux City Journal)

Iowa Health, Mercy expand robotic surgeries
Central Iowa’s competing medical centers, which each use comparable versions of the system, are expanding their use of the sophisticated devices. By the end of this year, both Iowa Health – Des Moines and Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines expect to increase the number of surgeons they have trained on the system to 20. Iowa Health currently has 14 surgeons certified to use the Da Vinci; Mercy has 15. (Des Moines Business Record)

Trooper relay bring blood to patient
Iowa state troopers rushed a load of life-saving blood over snowy highways Monday night to help a heart surgery patient at Trinity Regional Medical Center in Fort Dodge. (Fort Dodge Messenger)

Heroes emerge from snow-whipped pileup
As Latimer firefighters arrived at the scene of the Interstate 35 multi-vehicle crash Monday, Fire Chief Mike Keehn said he looked out “and all I thought was, ‘Oh my God.’ ” (Mason City Globe Gazette)

U.S. News

Democrats slow efforts on health
After dominating the congressional agenda for months, fixing the health system is taking on less urgency as Democrats place more emphasis on measures to create jobs and help the economy recover. House and Senate leaders say they see no easy options for completing the type of comprehensive overhaul each chamber approved last year. They are also discussing whether to try a scaled-back package, another path that has high hurdles. (Wall Street Journal)

Florida hospitals report on Haitian health care efforts
The University of Miami medical school, which has established a 300-bed hospital in Port-au-Prince, is spending “at least a couple of million in the first month,” said Dean Pascal Goldschmidt. Meanwhile, the financially strapped Jackson Health System has treated 97 earthquake victims as of Jan. 25. (Miami Herald)

Maine hospitals claim state owes them millions
Facing budget cuts, the Maine Hospital Association says it needs the hundreds of millions of dollars it claims the state currently owes it in back MaineCare payments. The Hospital Association, representing all the facilities in the state, says it will be owed $300 million in back payments by the end of the year. (Fox 23-Portland)

Mayo Clinic’s philanthropy campaign raises $1.35 billion
Mayo raised the amount in five years instead of the seven years initially set for the campaign, and exceeded its target of $1.25 billion. A portion of the money will fund research on cancer and depression. Some funds will go toward a subspecialty pediatric clinic in Rochester, a new hospital in Florida, and a new campus for cancer and transplant patients in Arizona. (Minneapolis Start Tribune)

Offer to take over ailing hospital stirs outcry
One of New York City’s largest hospital systems has made an offer to take over the financially struggling St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village, provoking opposition from elected officials who fear the loss of critical medical services, especially emergency care, for tens of thousands of patients who could be sent elsewhere. (New York Times)

Stimulus is now $75 billion more expensive
The Congressional Budget Office hiked its forecast Tuesday for how much the stimulus bill will add to the nation’s deficit, raising its estimate by $75 billion to $862 billion. But the Medicaid match program, in which the government helps states pay for Medicaid expenses, saw came in less than expected. The CBO now estimates that the program will cost $3 billion less than originally thought. (CNN)

Oncology spins a message with figure skating
As figure skaters glided through last weekend’s national championships in hopes of securing a berth on the Olympic team, one prominent display on the rink sideboards advertised a different type of hope — the patient education site Cancer.Net. (MedPage Today)

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Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and Web.

Iowa News

5 killed as roads turn treacherous
Blizzard conditions contributed to the deaths of at least five people as Iowans battled snow and wind for more than 24 hours beginning Sunday evening. Melted snow from a weekend thaw refroze Sunday, and then a fresh layer of snow covered the ice. Visibility dropped to a single car-length in some areas Monday as 35-mph winds whipped the snow across icy roads, according to the National Weather Service. (Des Moines Register)

Hunger sharpens in Haiti
An Iowa City physician went toe-tp-toe with hungry and angry Haitians who demanded food at a makeshift hospital be distributed. The communal rationing, along with signs all over the city that say “SOS” and “we need food,” suggest that the food crisis here is growing. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Cedar Rapids disaster specialist heads to Haiti with actor John Travolta
Cedar Rapids’ Peter Teahen — disaster specialist, funeral director and recent candidate for the U.S. Congress — is flying into disaster-hit Haiti this evening with actor John Travolta and a medical contingent in Travolta’s jet. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

U.S. News

Health care a question of fairness among the states
The question of equality, or inequality, among states is a major reason President Obama’s overhaul of America’s health care system, and the legislation in Congress to make it happen, seemed to reach the brink of collapse last week. And it is a reflection of one of the biggest challenges Mr. Obama and Congressional leaders have faced since they began tackling health care last year: how to devise a national solution for a problem that varies sharply from state to state. (New York Times)

GOP struggles for consensus on health care
Seeking to avert the collapse of major health care legislation, the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress face a crucial decision about whether to use a procedural maneuver that would allow them to advance the bill despite the loss of their 60-vote majority in the Senate. (National Public Radio)

Poll shows growing fear on health care overhaul
A survey shows a majority are following the health care debate in Congress, and 33 percent of respondents said they believed their access to care would be worse if a healthcare overhaul occurred. That is a jump from 25 percent in a poll released last month. (USA Today)

Innovative Alaska health plan outperforms many others
The buzzwords of health reform can sound abstract and confusing. Yet ideas like patient-centered medical homes, integrated care teams and chronic disease management are already reality in what some might consider an unlikely setting for a health-care innovator – Southcentral Foundation, a nonprofit health provider owned by, led by, and serving Alaska Natives. (Kaiser Health News)

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Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and Web.

Iowa News

Health care still a growing employment field
Jobs in health care will be plentiful in the future, area professionals said. “It’s about an aging population,” said Donna Orton, chairwoman of the health division at North Iowa Area Community College. Medical assistants, nurses, physical therapist assistants, medical laboratory technicians and radiology technologists are in demand now and will be in the future, Orton said. (Mason City Globe Gazette)

Caring dedication
Michelle Stapp is a busy person. That word might be an understatement. As the Emergency Services Nurse Manager, she supervises not only the emergency department but she also oversees the satellite clinics in Jewel and Stratford, connected to Hamilton Hospital. (Webster City Freeman-Journal)

Mother, daughter prove volunteering is a family affair
Mother-daughter relationships may not always be the smoothest. That’s not the case for Pat Collins of Sioux City and her daughter Jennifer Clay of Dakota Dunes, who volunteer together in a variety of areas and for numerous fundraisers at Mercy Medical Center-Sioux City. (Sioux City Journal)

Treasurer Commends Mercy Hospital’s Effort to Increase Awareness of Saving for College
Two babies born at Iowa City’s Mercy Hospital win a $1,000 College Savings Iowa account in less than two years. (Treasurer’s Office Press Release)

U.S. News

White House defends health care legislation despite Senate loss
The Obama administration tried Sunday to steady itself and its top domestic priority after last week’s stunning Massachusetts Senate upset, as a top White House official vowed to move ahead with comprehensive healthcare legislation because “the underlying elements of it are popular and important.” (Los Angeles Times)

Paring back health care not so easy
Trimming back the 2,000-page, trillion-dollar Democratic health care bills to the parts that average folks understand and like may not be as simple as it sounds. (Associated Press)

Minnesota safety-net hospital asks for help, gets no takers
Cash-strapped Hennepin County Medical Center asked other Minneapolis-area counties for help to cover the medical bills for the uninsured destitute patients who live in their counties. While the counties are sympathetic, they don’t intend to raise property taxes to cover indigents’ medical bills in Hennepin County. The other counties say it’s a problem for the state of Minnesota. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Jacksonville gobbles health care, but it’s still no Miami
Jacksonville seniors use 11 percent more medical services than the national average, but don’t appear to be any healthier for it, according to a recent report that sheds light on variations in health care use. (Florida Times-Union)

Medicare doctors waning in rural Arizona
Seniors in rural Arizona towns and cities with a graying population, such as Yavapai County’s Prescott and Prescott Valley, are facing what health officials acknowledge is a troubling trend: doctors who refuse to see new Medicare patients. (Arizona Republic)

Critical condition
Families fight with insurance carriers to get loved ones desperately needed treatment. (Dateline NBC)

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