Visit our website ⇒

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

Iowa News

Lawmakers promise to work toward goals of Iowa Hospital Association
Funding issues will have to be ironed out before the Iowa Hospital Association’s legislative goals can be accomplished, area lawmakers said Wednesday. Hospital activists from around the state, including Council Bluffs, met with area legislators as part of the Iowa Hospital Association Legislative Day. Hospital advocates had concerns about Gov. Terry Branstad’s budget proposal, released in the Legislature as House Study Bill 661, and the effect it would have on Medicaid funding. (Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil)

Branstad stresses individual responsibility for own health
Gov. Terry Branstad is concerned about the growth in Medicaid and wants to see Iowans take responsibility for their own health, he told hospital officials and advocates Wednesday. Branstad was the keynote speaker during the Iowa Hospital Association Legislative Day. “I learned when I was governor before that Medicaid was a very difficult and challenging issue,” he said. “During those nine years, we were able to fund Medicaid and meet the obligations in the program for nine years. As I come back, we see Medicaid is now one-third of the money spent by the state and federal governments (together).” (Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil)

Cedar Rapids pitches plan to become a Blue Zones community
Blue Zones supporters will find out in May whether or not Cedar Rapids will be selected as a demonstration site, after a visit Thursday by a selection team. A dozen “judges” from Wellmark and Healthways took note as city officials and representatives of local organizations rolled out the welcome at CSPS, 1103 Third St. SE. A crowd of supporters wore blue and held signs supporting the initiative outside the hall in the New Bohemia district of Cedar Rapids. That show of support is crucial as the selection team weighs the attributes of each of the 11 finalist communities. (KCRG)

‘Blue Zones’ author Buettner hears Waterloo plan
The man behind it all showed up with the Blue Zones Project Team at the Waterloo Center for the Arts on Wednesday. National Geographic writer Dan Buettner has researched places around the globe where residents live the longest, healthiest lives. He is the author of “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest,” a book that lays out principles on which the Blue Zones Project is based. (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier)

Pella doctor performs single site gallbladder removal
Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles. And Pella, Iowa. Pella Regional Health Center has joined the ranks of major medical centers offering single site robotic surgery and is the only hospital in Iowa with this latest technological breakthrough. Matt Morgan, D.O. is one of fewer than 20 general surgeons in the nation trained in this area. “I view robotic surgery techniques as the best opportunity to get patients feeling better and back to work more quickly,” said Dr. Morgan, who recently performed a cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) through this process for the first time in Iowa. (Knoxville Journal-Express)

National News

Quinn lifts hold on Illinois hospital tax exemption rulings
Turning up the heat on talks aimed at making sure nonprofit hospitals do enough charitable work, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn stuck to his Thursday deadline and authorized the Department of Revenue to resume decisions that could strip some health care institutions of valuable tax exemptions. The Democratic governor’s action came a day after negotiations failed to reach a compromise on how much charity care hospitals must provide to earn freedom from local taxes. The state had refrained from decisions on exemptions as negotiations proceeded. (Associated Press/Peoria Journal-Star)

Tougher penalties for nurse assaults
About 1,300 assaults of nurses, nurse aides, clerical staff and other health professionals occur every day nationally, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. That and similar stories helped push passage in the Nebraska Legislature on Thursday of a bill to toughen penalties on those who assault nurses and others who work in hospitals and health clinics. Under Legislative Bill 677, sponsored by State Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha, assaulting a health professional would bring the same potential penalty as assaulting a police officer. (Omaha World-Herald)

NY hospital to pay $13 million for inflating Medicare fees
Beth Israel Medical Center has admitted that it fraudulently inflated its fees for services to Medicare patients, deliberately deceiving the federal government into paying many millions of dollars more than their treatments actually cost. The hospital’s admission, and its agreement to pay the United States government more than $13 million in damages, came in a health care False Claims Act lawsuit simultaneously filed and settled this week and announced Thursday by Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. (New York Times)

Obama’s hospital funding cuts seen worsening primary care doctor shortage
A plan to reduce federal funding for teaching hospitals in President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget proposal will curb training for primary care doctors, undermining a top priority of the 2010 health care law he fought to enact, a Bloomberg Government study shows. The proposed cuts, if enacted, will cause hospitals to adjust the mix of residency slots to focus on specialty positions that are the most profitable. That will steer medical students to specialties that can pay twice as much as primary care, according to medical school executives. (Bloomberg)

Leave a Comment

Please take a moment to read through our comment policy.

If you would like a photo to appear next to your comment, you'll need to upload a gravatar.