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

Iowa News

Ft. Dodge nurse honored for caregiving
When the difficult decision is made to move someone into hospice care, the person in care and their loved ones want to make sure they receive the best care possible. In Fort Dodge, one woman who tries to make this difficult journey as painless as possible is Becky Kalous, a hospice nurse at the Paula Baber Hospice Home at Trinity Regional Medical Center. Kalous said she decided to become a hospice nurse after witnessing her father receive care she felt was inappropriate. “The hospital called and they told me over the phone that he had died,” she said. “That really hurt me for a long time.” (Fort Dodge Messenger)

Trinity has new cancer treatment device
The Varian TrueBeam system goes into operation today, and hospital officials were delighted to discuss the machine and what it means to Trinity Regional Health System. “It’s absolutely the latest technological advance,” said Rick Seidler, the president and CEO of the health system, pointing out that the first one to be installed in Iowa was at a Des Moines hospital that, like Trinity, is also part of Iowa Health System. He added that the TrueBeam is part of $6.5 million in improvements being made to the cancer center. (Quad-City Times)

Sioux City health care leaders graduate
More than 65 leaders from throughout Iowa Health System graduated during an evening commencement service. The nation’s fifth largest non-denominational integrated health system graduated its first joint class of over 35 physicians and 30 administrative managers from its innovative Physician Leadership Academy and Management Leadership Academy. The academy, an intensive graduate-level course of study, was launched in 2010 to identify, prepare and support practicing clinicians who, upon graduation, are well-positioned to be leaders within the organization and to contribute to the strategic direction of Iowa Health System. (St. Luke’s Health System)

National News

Massachusetts governor signs new healthcare cost measure
Governor Deval Patrick, in a State House ceremony, signed a sweeping bill on Monday that seeks to rein in the state’s rising health costs. The first-in-the nation legislation is considered the second phase of the groundbreaking universal healthcare law that was signed by Governor Mitt Romney in 2006. The new law allows health spending to grow no faster than the state’s economy through 2017. For five years after that, spending would slow further, to half a percentage point below the growth of the economy, although leaders would have the power under certain circumstances to soften that target. (Boston Globe)

CDC: Fewer adults have high blood pressure, cholesterol
The proportion of U.S. adults with uncontrolled high blood pressure or cholesterol declined between 1999 and 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported. Both conditions are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, as is smoking. In 2010, about 23 percent of adults had high cholesterol while 12 percent had high blood pressure, CDC said. That’s down roughly 8 and 9 percentage points, respectively, from 1999. An estimated one in four adults smoked cigarettes in 2010, about the same as in 1999. (CDC)

Use telehealth to zap the cost of sick days
The Centers for Disease Control reports that cardiovascular diseases and stroke account for $39.1 billion in lost productivity due to sickness or disability. An addition $122.4 billion in productivity is lost due to premature death. Asthma alone cost U.S. businesses $5 billion in 2011. Next time you hear an obviously ill employee sneeze, grab the tissues—then use them to dry your own tears, because your bottom line is about to take a hit. Sick days and chronic illnesses cost your hospital or health system productivity and benefits dollars. But there is the potential for relief from a simple addition to your wellness program, in the form of telehealth. (HealthLeaders Media)

Redesigning hospital rooms for health
If you or a loved one have ever struggled to reach a tissue over a hospital bed rail, hit the nurse call button or transfer to a chair without assistance, you know the kind of frustration that architect and designer Michael Graves wants to correct. He knows firsthand how spirit-crushing such hospital rooms can be. After an illness in 2003 left him paralyzed from the chest down, he spent time in eight hospitals as he recovered and learned to get around as a paraplegic. (MarketWatch)

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