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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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