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

Iowa News

Survey: Health insurance costs still outpace everything else, but slowing slightly
This is the first time since 2001 that the survey has projected cost increases less than 10 percent for any type of plan, so a 9.9 percent increase can almost be seen as a victory. Employers are looking for ways to cut the rising cost of health insurance. Buck has been conducting its survey since 1999. The numbers are consistent with projections for Iowa, though perhaps a little higher, according to research from David P. Lind Benchmark, a consulting firm in Clive. (Des Moines Register)

Mercy Air Care celebrates milestone
Mercy Air Care is celebrating 25 years of service to Siouxland. In honor of this silver anniversary Mercy Medical Center is hosting a community-wide celebration on May 5 at 6 p.m on the riverfront near the Marina Inn in South Sioux City. At the celebration the Mercy Air Care helicopter will land on the riverfront. On board the helicopter will be four special passengers who all have a special story to tell about the role Mercy Air Care has played in their lives. (KCAU)

Clinton uses plan, poor rankings to improve health
While Clinton County ranked near the bottom of the list for the County Health Rankings released last week, local health officials are not accepting defeat. Clinton County Community Health Manager Michelle Cullen submitted a community health assessment to improve the health of Clinton residents as part of the Healthy Iowans Health Improvement plan for 2012 through 2016. (Clinton Herald)

National News

Don Berwick, Jim Capretta debate shifting healthcare costs
Dr. Don Berwick, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, and Jim Capretta, who serviced as associate director at the White House Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush, took sharply different stances on what shifting costs to patients could mean during a wide-ranging debate hosted by the Pioneer Institute. Berwick, now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, called the idea of giving patients more “skin in the game” a “vicious idea.” But Capretta, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, said the idea has had dramatic results in some cases. (Boston Globe)

Next generation of doctors sees gloomy future
A majority of young doctors feel pessimistic about the future of the U.S. healthcare system, with the new healthcare law cited as the main reason, according to a survey released to Reuters on Wednesday. Nearly half of the 500 doctors surveyed think the Affordable Care Act will have a negative effect on their practices, compared with 23 percent who think it will be positive. The survey was commissioned by The Physicians Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes the work of practicing doctors through grants, research and policy impact studies. (Chicago Tribune)

Vital signs by phone, then, with a click, a doctor’s appointment
If ever an industry were ready for disruption, it is the American health care industry. Americans spend about $7,600 a year per person on health care, one in two adults lives with a chronic disease and the average wait time to see a doctor in a metropolitan area is 20 days. Entrepreneurs have responded by starting health care technology companies that are changing the way we interact with the entire system. (New York Times)

Companies belittled risks of Risperdal, slapped with huge fine
Johnson & Johnson and a subsidiary have been fined about $1.2 billion by an Arkansas judge after a jury found that the companies had downplayed risks associated with Risperdal, an antipsychotic drug. In a verbal ruling from the bench, Circuit Judge Tim Fox held that Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. committed nearly 240,000 violations of the state’s Medicaid fraud law — one for each Risperdal prescription issued to state Medicaid patients over a 3 1/2-year period. Each violation carried a $5,000 fine. He also fined the companies $11 million for more than 4,500 violations of the state’s deceptive practices laws. (Los Angeles Times)

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