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

Iowa News

Partnership for Patients Campaign kicks off Hospital Engagement Network
Last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the national Partnership for Patients initiative to make health care safer and less costly by targeting and reducing the millions of preventable injuries and complications from health care acquired conditions. Later, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center launched a nationwide public-private collaboration to identify and create innovative solutions designed to reduce patient harm and improve care coordination. CMS awarded 26 organizations a two-year contract to help identify the key improvements and spread initiatives across their defined population. The Iowa Healthcare Collaborative has been awarded the sole Iowa-based contract to serve Iowa hospitals in this campaign. (Iowa Healthcare Collaborative)

Can Iowa’s Safe Haven law be improved?
A member of National Safe Haven Alliance says there are several things Iowa can to improve its Safe Haven provision. Dawn Geras, vice president of media relations with National Safe Haven Alliance, says she has been following the case of twin babies allegedly murdered recently in Iowa. She believes Iowa’s law can be improved. Geras says 32 of the 50 states also designate fire stations as safe haven locations. Thirty states also include police departments. She says lawmakers who passed a safe haven law years ago need to look at possible adjustments based on that which has been learned over the last decade. (Des Moines Register)

Genesis vaccinates nearly 35,000 Quad Citians against the flu
Genesis Medical Center released new numbers Friday showing that 34,705 children and adults have been vaccinated against the seasonal flu since September.  Initiatives like “Flu-Free Quad Cities” helped administer the flu vaccine. The program provided free vaccinations to 9,439 elementary school children at more than 80 schools this Fall.  Public flu clinics, which concentrate on higher risk seniors, provided 2,087 vaccinations. Also, a system-wide program with Genesis vaccinated 5,876 employees and volunteers. Dr. Jim Lehman, vice president of quality for Genesis, says even though the total number is around 35,000, thousands more than that have been indirectly protected against the flu. (WQAD)

Dorm staff trained on mental health support
College students have a lot on their plate. That’s why the Community Mental Health Center for Mid-Eastern Iowa wants to help. The center hopes to team up with the University of Iowa to provide residence hall staff with Mental Health First Aid Training. “This is prime time for psychotic disorders to develop in, we’ve seen this time and time again,” said Jason Knight, with the Mental Health Center. Details are still few but residence staff would have to attend a 12-hour training course over two days. It would provide them the tools to handle someone with any type of mental health issue, from depression to substance abuse. (KCRG)

Iowa gets two F’s, one D and one A on tobacco report card
Iowa’s backward step in tobacco control funding could derail its “healthiest state” goals, according to a new report that gave Iowa an F in two categories. The American Lung Association’s annual report card called out Iowa for slashing its tobacco prevention and control budget by 55 percent – from $7.39 million in 2011 to $3.25 million this year. That cut happened as Iowa began an effort endorsed by Gov. Terry Branstad to become the healthiest state in the nation. “It’s going to be difficult for Iowa to receive that healthiest state title,” said Katie Lorenz, regional spokeswoman for the American Lung Association. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

National News

Lack of dental coverage sends patients to ER for pain
When a man recently visited an emergency room here with a toothache, consulting physician Alan Sorkey quickly diagnosed the dental infection was serious and even potentially fatal. The patient was on more than 25 medications and scheduled for a major surgery — not dental related — all covered by government health care programs, Sorkey said. Those same programs wouldn’t cover the estimated $70 to pull the rotting tooth. The patient didn’t have the money for it, and a local low-cost oral surgery clinic had a wait of as long as a year for an appointment, he said. (USA Today)

Federal judge continues to block California’s cuts to in-home care
A federal judge will continue blocking millions of dollars in cuts to in-home care for the elderly and the disabled, parties to a lawsuit over the services said Thursday. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken had temporarily halted the cuts in December. The $100 million in reductions to home aid, built into the state budget in case revenue did not match projections, were to have kicked in this month. Advocates for the disabled said the cuts would have hurt more than 300,000 people, and they teamed with the union that represents caregivers to sue the state. Government officials argued that the cuts were unavoidable because of the budget crisis. (Los Angeles Times)

Health care consumer confidence improves again in December
Americans’ confidence in their ability to access and pay for health care improved for the second straight month, according to a consumer sentiment index produced by Thomson Reuters.  Respondents reported positive news when asked if they had experienced a reduction in or loss of insurance coverage in December. Overall, the Thomson Reuters Consumer Healthcare Sentiment Index moved upward one point from 98 to 99. “It’s extremely encouraging to see high levels of across-the-board optimism from health care consumers in this month’s report,” said Gary Pickens, chief research officer at the Thomson Reuters Center for Healthcare Analytics. (Reuters)

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