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

Iowa News

Five weekend tornadoes confirmed in Iowa
Five tornadoes hit Iowa over the weekend, meteorologists said, though the worst damage was confined to the two towns hit. Creston and Thurman were both struck by EF2 tornadoes, part of a large storm system that unleashed dozens of twisters across the Midwest. Tornadoes also touched down near New Virginia in Warren County, near the Oskaloosa airport and close to Council Bluffs, the National Weather Service confirmed. No fatalities were reported anywhere in Iowa. (Des Moines Register)

Major issues yet to be resolved as Iowa Legislature eyes adjournment
Iowa legislators are likely to have one eye on the calendar and the other on their pocketbooks as they go back to work today, the 99th day of their scheduled 100-day session. With the session scheduled to end April 17, lawmakers are trying to wrap up work on major priorities – commercial property tax reform, education reform and mental health services. If they can’t reach resolution by Tuesday, they’ll be paying their own way. (Eastern Iowa Government)

Will tax revenue go up in smoke?
Hundreds of Iowans are buying cigarettes at half the cost of those sold over the counter, using relatively new machines in a development that some lawmakers and others say amounts to tobacco tax evasion. Some Iowa lawmakers say the few machines already in place in Iowa will cost the state an estimated $1.2 million in lost tax revenues annually. And if the machines catch on, a good chunk of the $200 million in tobacco taxes that the state collects each year could be in jeopardy. (Des Moines Register)

Questions to ask on National Health Care Decisions Day
What if you suddenly experienced a severe injury or illness that left you unable to express your wishes regarding your health care? Would your circle of support know what kind of medical treatment you would want? Today is National Healthcare Decisions Day, a day to remind adults to have conversations about their future health care preferences, and to select a healthcare agent who would carry out their wishes if they are unable to communicate. (Iowa City Press-Citizen)

National News

Medicare moves to tie doctors’ pay to quality and cost of care
Twenty-thousand physicians in four Midwest states received a glimpse into their financial future last month. Landing in their e-mail inboxes were links to reports from Medicare showing the amount their patients cost on average as well as the quality of the care they provided. The reports also showed how Medicare spending on each doctor’s patients compared with their peers in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. (Washington Post)

Poor performance, patient dissatisfaction go hand in hand
Saket Girotra, MD, of the cardiovascular diseases division at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, and colleagues wrote that previous research has identified groups of hospitals that perform poorly in cardiac care, based on hospital-level analyses using Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) data in Hospital Compare. They wrote that critics of process measures such as heart failure (HF) and acute MI (AMI) metrics argue that they are imprecise and subject to gaming by hospitals that self-report the data. (Health Imaging)

OSF HealthCare, Rockford Health System may still work together
When OSF HealthCare and Rockford Health System parted ways earlier this week — ending their two-year fight to join together — they hinted at the possibility of working together in the future. Indeed, that might be their only option after spending years studying the other’s business. It’s unlikely they would attempt an acquisition deal again, given the millions of dollars they’ve spent pursuing the plan. (Rockford Register Star)

Unconventional doctor faces life as a patient
Krenie Stowe believes in science. After all, she is a doctor, a pediatrician who has practiced in the suburbs north of Houston for almost 20 years. But she also believes in alternative healing. While Stowe has an Ivy League education and a busy medical practice, she has made choices that mean, like many of her patients, she has struggled to find insurance and to pay for her medical care. (Houston Chronicle)

The difference between God and a doctor
God doesn’t think he’s a doctor. Surely you know that ancient wheeze. It comes to mind because the Associated Press Stylebook editors at the American Copy Editors Society’s national conference in New Orleans last week restated their preference to restrict the use of the term Dr. to M.D.s and osteopaths. And, I think, dentists. Oh, and veterinarians. (Chiropractors can go roll a hoop.) Why people who spend the workday probing into other people’s orifices are more worthy of dignity and respect than someone who has mastered quantum mechanics or Babylonian cuneiform continues to baffle me. (Baltimore Sun)

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