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

Iowa News

Branstad calls for better-paying Iowa jobs, improved education system
Gov. Terry Branstad proposed a $6.2 billion state budget today that includes a $230 million increase in spending with the goal of creating more good-paying jobs and improving the state’s education system.  The governor spoke to a joint session of the Iowa House and Senate for his annual Condition of the State address at the Iowa Capitol. His 2012 legislative program focuses on reducing commercial property taxes, creating high-quality jobs, developing a “supply chain cluster” of factories around major employers like Deere & Co. in Waterloo, and retaining Iowa businesses and careers. (Des Moines Register)

Spencer ‘Blue Zones’ application done, but effort continues
Teams of local volunteers have submitted Spencer’s Blue Zones application to the state, but the work continues. Activities have been scheduled allowing residents and workers to begin working toward a healthy lifestyle consistent with the Blue Zones Community plan. “We feel really good about what we put together, mainly because we had input from so many entities across the community, with regard to the questions that were asked,” Alison Simpson, one of the forces behind the volunteer effort, said. (Spencer Daily Reporter)

National News

Recession holds down health spending
National health spending rose a slight 3.9 percent in 2010, as Americans delayed hospital care, doctor’s visits and prescription drug purchases for the second year in a row, the Obama administration reported Monday. The recession, which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, reined in the growth of health spending as many people lost jobs, income and health insurance, the government said in a report, published in the journal Health Affairs. (New York Times)

The history of health care spending in seven graphs
Health care spending grew more slowly in the past two years than it has in over five decades. Even with health care costs growth slowing, the U.S. still devotes 18 percent of its economy to the sector, more than most other industrialized countries. These charts explain how that happened, what drives up health care costs and whether they’ll continue to slow in years to come. (Washington Post)

Building health reform’s research arm
PCORI is not quite a household name, but if Dr. Anne Beal has her way, it will be soon. The acronym stands for Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute—a group of doctors, researchers, statisticians and patient advocates who will commission evidence-based research for the health care system. The goal, according to Beal, is to provide easy-to-understand information to patients so they can make the most informed health care decisions. The quasi-governmental institute is partially funded through a $1-per-enrollee fee on certain insurers; the fee increases to $2 per person in 2013. (Kaiser Health News)

More patient data risks, lawsuits predicted in 2012
According to experts in health care law and information privacy and security, healthcare IT managers can expect to see more patient data breaches in 2012, along with more lawsuits filed by patients as the availability of patient information exchanged over social media sites and mobile devices grows. These conclusions, published by ID Experts, offer a glimpse into what health CIOs can expect as they seek to protect patient data during a year that promises more of the same challenges they faced last year.  (InformationWeek)

The income penalty for diabetes: $160,000
A young person with diabetes could earn an average of $160,000 less over their lifetime compared to someone without the disease, according to a study published in the most recent issue of the journal Health Affairs. Adolescents with diabetes are also more likely to drop out of high school than their peers — a more pronounced difference than seen in racial or gender disparities — and complete .25 fewer years of school, researchers found. That adds up to 150,000 lost years of school across the American population, according to the study, which was based on data gathered from following 15,000 adolescents until age 30. (Kaiser Health News)

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