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

Iowa News

Branstad: State employees must pay for health care
Iowa’s state employees would be required to pick up 20 percent of their health care costs under a demand Gov. Terry Branstad will make during union negotiations this year, he said today in a meeting with The Des Moines Register. If successful, it would cost state workers roughly $46.3 million a year. Most state employees currently pay nothing in health care premiums. Iowa was one of only six states that does not require employee health care cost sharing, according to a 2009 review conducted by The Des Moines Register. (Des Moines Register)

Clarinda hospital to get medical helicopter
The Clarinda Regional Health Center will become home to an air ambulance service for the region, starting in September. The hospital on Wednesday announced a partnership with Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines and Air Methods/LifeNet to base an air ambulance in the southwest Iowa community. (Omaha World-Herald)

Komen grant to expand breast cancer screening
A $74,000 Komen Iowa Grant will enable the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health to screen an additional 75 North Iowa women for breast cancer, a Health Department official reported. The Komen Grant provides breast cancer screening and diagnostic services for women in a 15-county region of North Iowa who do not have health insurance or are under-insured. (Mason City Globe Gazette)

National News

Navigating the health care maze
The exchange, called the Health Connector, has been operating since Massachusetts passed its own individual mandate in 2006. For all the criticism that has been hurled at the state’s health plan during this year’s Republican presidential primaries, surprisingly little attention has been paid to this piece of the law. Even if the Supreme Court strikes down the federal mandate, many people believe that some form of exchanges could still be crucial to expanding coverage in a number of states. (New York Times)

Reinventing health care in one of America’s poorest cities
Controlling diabetes and reducing costly hospital stays are two goals of Jeffrey Brenner, the nonprofit Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers’ executive director and a physician with Cooper University Hospital. Backed by several large grants, including a recent $2.8 million federal Health Care Innovation Award, Brenner and his team are undertaking one of the nation’s most important healthcare experiments. They aim to halt the inexorable rise in health costs in part by caring for patients more effectively in one of the country’s poorest cities. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

How hospitals can shape sustainable cost control
The frustration to move from the immediate and into the long-term cost-reduction phase is perhaps best summed up by these comments from a physician organization CFO who participated in the November 2011 HealthLeaders Intelligence Report Cost Containment: Overcoming Challenges: “We can’t get beyond the idea stage. We run around like Chicken Little—the sky is falling—we must reduce costs now. Then, we get absorbed into the next crisis and forget all about cost reduction. We need to appoint a leader, create a plan with measureable goals, get buy-in, implement, and then monitor and reassess. We’re just too busy some days to reduce costs. (HealthLeaders News)

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