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

Iowa News

Creston grateful following tornado
Considering a tornado ripped through perhaps the most vulnerable part of town, Creston citizens after a week of cleanup remained thankful that no lives were lost. Hundreds of volunteers converged on Creston, population 7,556, after an EF2 tornado weaved through the northwest corner of town April 14. They had disposed of most of the debris by Tuesday. The hospital sustained significant roof and water damage, and an army of workers was present Friday, cleaning and repairing. Still, spokeswoman LouAnn Snodgrass said, the hospital was fortunate because nobody was injured. (Omaha World-Herald)

Legislative output won’t be high this session
The 84th Iowa General Assembly is on track to produce one of the lowest bill totals in recent memory. So far this year, the split-control Legislature has approved 115 enrolled bills and joint resolutions. But that number will grow once the House and Senate finalize work on roughly a dozen fiscal 2013 budget bills and reach expected agreements on property tax reform, mental health redesign, education reform and a short list of other priorities. Last year, lawmakers worked a 172-day, overtime session that produced 138 enrolled bills and joint resolutions.

UIHC nurses named among Iowa’s best
Stopping a painful ulcer, preventing a stroke, and preparing a patient for surgery are just a few things that nurses Donna Dolezal and Sandra Roberts have done for more than two decades. The pair, who have grown accustomed to rising before dawn, said their drive comes from the desire to give good patient care. (University of Iowa Daily Iowan)

National News

Illinois Medicaid cuts worry health care providers
Illinois health care providers are concerned with Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposed Medicaid cuts. The Illinois Hospital Association said Quinn is proposing an eight percent across the board cut. Advocate Healthcare Vice President of Government Relations Meghan Clune Woltman said the state is already behind on Medicaid payments and cuts will only make matters worse. “The reason why we’re so concerned about an across the board percentage cut is that we’re already 44th in the nation as far as per beneficiary Medicaid spending,” Clune Woltman said. (WJBC)

OIG: Medicare, Medicaid anti-fraud program is ineffective
The anti-fraud Medicare-Medicaid Data Match program, known as the Medi-Medi program, “produced limited results and few fraud referrals,” the Office of Inspector General said in a report released this week. The 10 states that volunteered to participate in the program received $60 million in appropriations but avoided and recouped only $57.8 million during 2007 and 2008, the OIG found in its review of data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, program safeguard contractors, state Medicaid program integrity agencies and other federal and state agencies. (Fierce Healthcare)

Social Security, Medicare strained by slow economic recovery, aging workforce
Medicare is in worse shape than Social Security because of rising health care costs. But both programs are on a path to become insolvent in the coming decades, unless Congress acts, according to the trustees. Last year, the trustees projected the Medicare hospital insurance fund for seniors would run out of money in 2024. Social Security’s retirement fund was projected to run dry in 2038, while the disability fund was projected to be drained by 2018. (Associated Press/Washington Post)

When a lifetime of health care cost just $1,700
Dialogue With Life, a documentary from the late fifties or early sixties sponsored by the Medical Society of the State of New York, looks at advances in medical technology and the corresponding rise in health insurance in the mid-20th century. This excerpt, courtesy of the Prelinger Archive, looks back at medicine 1931—a time when hardly anyone had health insurance and diseases like pneumonia were deadly. The narrator gives an overview of how much healthcare cost at the time, and the numbers are fascinating. (The Atlantic)

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