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

Iowa News

Severe weather possible this afternoon for eastern Iowa
The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for much of eastern Iowa. Severe thunderstorms are possible from late this afternoon into the evening hours. Large hail and damaging wind will be the primary threats with tornadoes possible as well. (Quad-City Times)

Buying power impacts businesses, community
Buying medical services locally is a way area residents can ensure that health care, and many jobs derived from the industry, always will be available in the community. Amy Conlee with Keokuk Area Hospital noted, “In 2009, KAH employed an average of 455 people that in turn put $17,485,581 worth of income and benefits into the community. That is a lot of money.” (Keokuk Daily Gate City)

Stakes high for hospital’s annual benefit
Some patients and health care providers say the stakes have never been higher for Mary Greeley Medical Center’s annual benefit, which this year supports the William R. Bliss Cancer Center. (Ames Tribune)

Displaced nurses can apply with county
Cedar Falls school nurses who will be terminated soon will be able to apply to the Black Hawk County Health Department to continue working in the schools, county health director Bruce Meisinger said Wednesday. (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier)

U.S. News

States decide on running new pools for insurance
The fight over the new health care law shifted Thursday to the states, as some governors claimed federal money to run a new insurance pool for people with serious medical problems, while officials in other states said they would not operate the program. (New York Times)

Health insurers adopt some new rules early
After being criticized as obstructionists during the long health-care debate, insurance companies now are implementing some popular provisions even sooner than the law demands. (Washington Post)

Anthem Blue Cross withdraws request for rate hikes
California health insurer Anthem Blue Cross canceled rate hikes of as much as 39 percent for thousands of California policyholders Thursday after state regulators said the plan was “seriously flawed.” The move came after a consultant to state regulators found that Anthem overstated future medical costs used to justify increases averaging 25 percent for many of the company’s 800,000 customers with individual policies. (Los Angeles Times)

Illinois budget problems hit doctors’ offices and patients
The State of Illinois is known to provide good insurance for its employees. However, that may no longer be the case. The reason is a lack of cash. As a result the state is delaying payments to its insurance providers, which for some is making visits to the doctor that more painful. (KFVS)

Minnesota nurses’ contract fight spills onto Web
Nurses don’t have to wait for pickets to publicly vent about this spring’s contract negotiations with Twin Cities hospitals. They can just go to their union’s Facebook page and let the opinions fly. With the May 19 deadline nearing for six hospital groups and their 12,000 nurses, both sides have turned to web pages to convey their messages, and the nurses union also has built large social-media networks. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

Hospital fee to avoid TennCare cut moves forward
The Tennessee Senate on Thursday approved a bill to allow state hospitals to pay a fee to avoid $659 million in TennCare cuts. The measure, sponsored by Republican Sen. Doug Overbey of Maryville, passed on a 25-5 vote on Thursday.  Overbey said the bill would bar hospitals from passing on to patients the $239 million assessment they are raising to draw down federal funds. (Nashville Tennessean)

Insurance firm has incentive for primary care doctors
Independence Blue Cross, the Philadelphia region’s largest health insurer, will spend an extra $47 million a year to increase base pay and double incentive programs that already encourage primary-care doctors to deliver higher quality and less costly care. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Hospital replicates Haiti’s worst-case scenario
Some U.S. doctors who’ve volunteered in post-earthquake Haiti have said they felt unprepared for the types of injuries and primitive medical settings they encountered there. Children’s Hospital in Boston is running a startlingly realistic simulation program to help prepare American health care workers for the scene they’ll find. (National Public Radio)

D.C. moves to control failing hospital
United Medical Center, formerly known as Greater Southeast Community Hospital, is in such financial distress that it has been unable to pay its electrical bill and taxes, has failed to meet retirement plan obligations, and has defaulted on its employee life insurance plan, according to newly released documents. (Washington Post)

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

Iowa News

Clarinda Council approves historic bond issue to finance hospital construction
The Clarinda City Council approved a loan agreement not to exceed $29 million for the construction of a new hospital in the community. “This probably has got to be the largest issuance of a bond in the city of Clarinda’s history,” Clarinda Mayor Gordon Kokenge said. Groundbreaking for the new hospital is tentatively scheduled for June 30. (Clarinda Herald-Journal)

UIHC to raise rates by 6 percent
The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics will increase rates by 6 percent beginning July 1, after the state Board of Regents approved the change during its Wednesday meeting in Iowa City. One key issue with the current fixed-reimbursement system comes with outliers — those payer groups that fall beyond the normal scale. The new increase will help the UIHC manage those payments without losing too much money, said Ken Fisher, the chief financial officer of UI Health Care. (University of Iowa Daily Iowan)

UIHC audit finds $11 million in missed billings
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics officials said an oversight that led to about $11 million in missed billings has been discovered and will be fixed. Hospital officials told the Board of Regents on April 28 that they think the missed billings started in November 2009. (KCRG)

Telemedicine project to aide mental health patients
A new telemedicine project at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa will provide increased access to mental health services to patients in the Hancock County area, Mercy officials reported. Mercy Behavioral Services is collaborating with Hancock County Memorial Hospital in Britt to allow Hancock County patients to receive mental health care locally through telemedicine. (Mason City Globe Gazette)

U.S. News

Hospital cuts hit health care workers
With one hospital closing and others slashing budgets, the city’s health care-job marketplace could get crowded in the coming days, and some employees fear they could be facing a long spell without work. More than 3,500 employees will have lost their jobs when St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan effectively closes on Friday, weeks after filing for bankruptcy when deals to merge with other hospital systems fell apart. (Wall Street Journal)

Justice Department investigates Partners HealthCare contracts
The U.S. Department of Justice has opened a civil investigation into possible anticompetitive behavior by Partners HealthCare System Inc., one of Massachusetts’ most powerful hospital and physician networks. In a letter sent to Partners and the state’s three largest health insurers, investigators from the department’s antitrust division demanded documents relating to Partners’ “contracting and other practices in health care markets in Eastern Massachusetts.” (Boston Globe)

Minnesota starts mental health cuts, layoffs
Legislators turned testy with a state agency official Wednesday when they learned that the Pawlenty administration will eliminate the jobs of 72 mental health workers on Friday and close or downsize four mental health facilities — just as lawmakers are crafting laws to keep the services going. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Wellcare Health to repay Illinois $1 million
private insurance company that manages health benefits for the Illinois Medicaid program for the poor will repay about $1 million after overbilling the state during a three-year period. Wellcare Health Plans Inc., the largest Medicaid HMO in Illinois, said a “calculation error resulted in a minimum overstatement of capitation expense.” (Chicago Tribune)

IRS lacks clout to enforce mandatory health insurance
While the IRS can impose liens or levies, seize property or seek jail time against people who don’t pay taxes, it’s barred from taking such actions against taxpayers who ignore the insurance mandate. In the arsenal instead: the ability to withhold refunds from taxpayers who decline to pay the penalty, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said this month. (USA Today)

Seniors aren’t flocking to quality health plans
Millions of seniors signed up for popular Medicare Advantage insurance plans don’t get the best quality, an independent study found. How the private plans score on a quality rating system set up by the government is about to have a direct impact on insurers’ finances — not to mention seniors’ benefits and premiums. President Barack Obama’s health care law ties what the plans get paid by the government to the quality they provide, for the first time. (Associated Press)

Study shows ‘invisible burden’ of family doctors
Comparatively modest salaries and rising patient numbers are part of the challenge of attracting medical students to primary care, medical experts say. But so is the breadth of the unpaid work performed by family doctors. A study published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine measured that problem precisely, using computerized patient records and reporting systems to track all the tasks done in a five-physician practice over a year. (New York Times)

Path clears for health chief to lead SEIU
Mary Kay Henry, head of the Service Employees International Union’s health-care division, is likely to take the lead at the 1.8 million member union following the decision by rival Anna Burger to withdraw from the race to succeed longtime President Andy Stern. Ms. Burger, who had the backing of Mr. Stern, told the union’s executive board that she would end her campaign, the SEIU confirmed Wednesday. There are no other candidates in the election to lead the union, which is scheduled for May 8. (Wall Street Journal)

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The demand for health care has seen little change in recent years. Even when faced with the worst economic downturn since the early 20th century, the industry has continued to thrive. However, for those who may just be entering the health care industry or are looking for new opportunities, a little extra help never hurt – right?

That’s why it’s nice to keep up with online resources such as CareerBuilder.com to receive accurate career information relative to any career industry. 

Recently, CareerBuilder.com released a list of the fastest growing jobs in the health care industry. The list is based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is a forecast of which health care careers will see the most growth in the next eight years. 

These aren’t small numbers we’re dealing with here. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that from 2008-2018, approximately 26 percent of all new jobs created in the U.S. economy will be in the health care and social assistance industry. It’s expected that upwards of four million jobs will be created in this time, the next closest service-oriented industry being professional, scientific and technical services with an expected 2.7 million jobs. 

Topping off the list of fastest growing jobs in health care are physician assistants with a predicted 41.3 percent increase from 2008-2018. Other top careers include medical secretaries, physicians/surgeons, registered nurses and counselors. 

Overall, health care careers have continued to yield a number of benefits. In addition to being well-paying jobs, hospitals and clinics are great environments in which to grow a career and seek leadership roles. The need for these positions is prevalent across Iowa, which gives many young people and families the option to choose where they want to live and work. From their community’s perspective, individuals in health care careers are especially beneficial to helping sustain the local economy

Click the link below to read the full article courtesy of MSN: 

Fastest Growing Jobs in Health Care

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

Iowa News

Doug Cropper

Genesis CEO recognized for community advocacy
In the two short years Doug Cropper has been at the helm of Genesis Health System, he’s nurtured a grassroots advocacy approach that has won him national recognition. The American Hospital Association is honoring Cropper today with the Grassroots Champion Award for exceptional leadership in generating community-based support for the Genesis mission. (Quad-City Times)

Obama ribs Iowa crowd for not applauding his warning about ‘hard choices’
“We’re going to have to make some tough choices” about the deficit and national debt, President Obama said to a crowded gymnasium full of supporters at Indian Hills Community College, after a lengthy riff on how the unsustainable debt would need to be tackled. “I noticed I didn’t get a lot of clapping about the whole ‘We’re gonna have the hard choices’ thing,” the president ribbed the crowd. (ABC News)

Des Moines cancer center selected for advanced research
Mercy Cancer Center, part of Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines, has been chosen by the National Cancer Institute to join a network of community cancer centers offering expanded research and advanced care at hospitals serving largely rural, suburban, small-town and underserved urban populations. (Des Moines Register)

Culver signs law extending seat-belt requirements
Isaiah Krull saw his personal lobbying efforts pay off Wednesday when Gov. Chet Culver signed legislation requiring passengers up to age 18 to wear seat belts or restraints in the back seat of a vehicle traversing Iowa roadways. (Quad-City Times)

Blood banks complete merger
The Siouxland Community Blood Bank said Wednesday it has completed its merger with the Blood Center of Iowa. The combination, which became effective April 1, creates a single entity, LifeServe Blood Center, headquartered in Des Moines. (Sioux City Journal)

U.S. News

Farmers unsure how health law helps them
Some 70 percent of agricultural workers in California are uninsured. The new health care law will benefit many of those workers through an expanded Medi-Cal program and government subsidies to buy private health insurance. But how will new mandates affect farmers and farm workers — especially those who are undocumented and are barred from buying health coverage through the exchange? (National Public Radio)

Study: Retailers likely to face big health overhaul challenges
The ink’s barely dry on health-care reform legislation, and the regulations that will actually spell out the details of the provisions are just a twinkle in the regulatory agencies’ eyes. But a report by Mercer finds that retailers may be in the not-so-sweet spot when it comes to complying with some of the new employer requirements. (Wall Street Journal)

Small business owners have mixed reviews on health law’s tax credits
Everyone wants a tax credit, right? Maybe not. Employers, particularly small businesses, are fretting over provisions in the health overhaul they say could burden their companies. They are the same provisions Democrats point to as a plus: tax credits to help small businesses offer health insurance coverage to their employees. (Kaiser Health News)

As deficit commission meets, Obama doesn’t rule out new taxes
President Obama said Tuesday that “everything has to be on the table” for a new commission examining the federal deficit, a position that raises the possibility that he could revisit the most expensive provisions of his new health-care law or backtrack on his pledge not to raise taxes for the middle class. (Washington Post)

Justice Department OKs study of Cailfornia hospital costs
The U.S. Department of Justice won’t stand in the way of a long-delayed project aimed at shining more light on California’s rising hospital costs. That means CalPERS and some of the state’s largest health care purchasers can proceed with plans to launch an extensive study scrutinizing the cost of providing care at more than 300 hospitals statewide. (Sacramento Bee)

Hospitals rejecting Minnesota health plan
A compromise plan to provide health care for thousands of the state’s poorest residents appeared to be unraveling Tuesday, after Hennepin County affirmed its decision not to participate and legislators scrambled to find a solution. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

AHA: Meaningful use rule ‘asking for too much, too soon’|
Members of the American Hospital Association (AHA) prepare to swarm Capitol Hill this week with a list of legislative measures they want changed. According to Rick Pollack, AHA executive vice president, the meaningful use rule will be at the top of the list. The rule is “asking for too much, too soon,” Pollack said at an opening plenary session of the forty-first annual AHA conference Monday. (Healthcare IT News)

Living wills: Have they failed?
The great health reform debate over alleged death panels has fizzled. Lawmakers guaranteed that by stripping provisions supporting end-of-life planning from legislation enacted last month. What remains is the status quo. It’s left to individuals to decide if they want to think about their medical destiny at life’s end, talk to their families and make their wishes known — as it has always been. (Chicago Tribune)

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

Iowa News

President talks jobs, prosperity at Iowa factory
In an area socked by hard times even before this latest recession, President Barack Obama told workers at a wind turbine plant here today that his administration is laying the groundwork to put the country “on a new foundation for long-term growth and prosperity.” (Quad-City Times)

C.F. schools to use county nurses
The Cedar Falls Board of Education Monday voted 6-1 in favor of a budget reduction plan that included the elimination of district-employed nurses. Beginning this fall the district will contract with the Black Hawk County Health Department for nursing services. (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier)

U.S. News

Next in health care war: Applying the law
Dozens of special-interest groups that helped shape the 10-year, $938 billion health care measure over the past year — from insurance companies to patient advocates — are gearing up for a second wave of lobbying as the Obama administration prepares to implement the law. (USA Today)

With expanded coverage for the poor, fears of a big headache
Of all the changes wrought by the new health care law, none is more sweeping than the transformation of Medicaid — from the government’s health insurance plan for poor families into a much wider program for millions of the poorest Americans who cannot afford insurance on their own. (New York Times)

Pelosi takes a victory lap on health care reform at AHA conference
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took a victory lap for the Democrats’ health care win on Tuesday, thanking a key industry group for its support of the sweeping legislation that passed last month. Pelosi (D-Calif.) addressed several hundred members of the American Hospital Association in Washington at the organization’s annual conference. (The Hill)

Inquiry says health care charges were proper
When major companies declared that a provision of the new health care law would hurt earnings, Democrats were skeptical. But after investigating, House Democrats have concluded that the companies were right to tell investors and the government about the expected adverse effects of the law on their financial results. (New York Times)

Surgical equipment price a shocker
When Dr. Linda Galloway learned she needed surgery to save her vision, she scheduled the procedure immediately with her ophthalmologist. What an eye-opener it was when the hospital bill arrived. She noticed several high-priced items, including a charge of $863.20 for disposable forceps. (CNN)

New York hospitals probed over big-rigging
Federal prosecutors are investigating allegations that bid rigging and fraud at Mount Sinai Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital resulted in the hospitals awarding contracts worth tens of millions of dollars to outside contractors. (Wall Street Journal)

Boston hospital chief sorry for ‘poor judgment’
Paul Levy, the chief executive of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, has acknowledged unspecified “lapses of judgment in a personal relationship,’’ prompting the hospital’s board to issue a statement yesterday declaring that it was “disappointed in these circumstances’’ but also expressing “unanimous continued confidence’’ in Levy’s leadership. (Boston Globe)

Mayo Clinic to build at Mall of America
Mayo is planning to construct a new Mall of America building, with an effort to draw more patients to Minnesota and to Mayo. Executive health program services will be offered there, among other services. (Rochester Post-Bulletin)

SEIU chapters back alternative candidate to succeed Andy Stern
At least two major California-based chapters of the giant Service Employees International Union have rejected the recommendation of outgoing President Andy Stern for his designated successor and are backing an alternate candidate, union insiders said Monday. (Los Angeles Times)

One Year Later: 5 Lessons from the H1N1 Pandemic
It was a year ago that the term “H1N1” entered the American consciousness, stamped in 72-point tabloid type. In April 2009 researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that two children in California had been infected with a new strain of influenza virus — originally dubbed ‘swine flu’ but eventually and more accurately known as H1N1 — even as Mexican health officials grappled with major outbreaks of a new flu-like illness. (Time)

Nurses administering medications can’t pardon the interruption
Researchers from Australia sought to understand the impact of interruptions on nurses. They observed 98 hospital-based nurses over 505 hours. The nurses administered a total of 4,271 medications during those hours. Only 19.8 percent of these administrations were free of two kinds of errors: procedural mistakes, such as failure to read labels or check patient identification; and clinical errors, such as administering the wrong drug, dose or formulation. (Los Angeles Times)

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