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

Iowa News

Blank’s advocate for children
Amber Russell became the community child advocate in May at Blank Children’s Hospital, where she will be providing a more concentrated effort to improve the health and safety of Iowa children. Her experience and research in advocacy will help her shape the role. “My role is to help Blank identify unmet needs in the community and existing programs and groups that are impacting child health and well-being,” she explained. (Des Moines Register)

Iowa children rate themselves as safer, happier than national peers
Iowa’s children are healthy, happy and feel safer in their communities and in their schools than children nationally, a survey led by University of Iowa researchers has found. The 2010 Iowa Child and Family Household Health Survey is the only statewide study of the health and well-being of the state’s children. The surveys, led by the UI Public Policy Center, began in 2000 and are conducted every five years. (Waukee Patch)

3 out of 10 Iowans severely obese
A new federal report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 29 percent of Iowans are severely overweight or obese, which can lead to health problems like diabetes and heart disease. State Fair fans know the calories can add up when it comes to corn dogs, turkey legs and fresh-fried potato chips. “In your head you know it’s bad, but I don’t even care. I don’t even care,” said Megan McGuire, as she munched on a fried turkey leg. (KCCI)

Avera employees donate school supplies
For 12 years now, Avera Holy Family Health employees have been donating school supplies to Estherville Lincoln Central. The school district started working on the project thanks to the donations from Avera Medical Group and the Clinic Spirit Committee. The Clinic Spirit Committee is a small group that takes on projects to help others obtain donations from hospital coworkers and some community members. (Estherville Daily News)

National News

Beneath ‘Mediscare’ talk, who’s right?
When the Obama campaign accused Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan of wanting to “end Medicare as we know it,” the two Republicans could have responded: “Yes, you’re right — our country is going broke, and we’re going to have to make some painful choices if we want to survive.” But they didn’t. Instead, Romney and Ryan declared themselves to be the ones who would “save” Medicare — and accused President Barack Obama of being the one who would kill it. It’s not like Obama is anxious to discuss the details of his plan either since he took a knife to Medicare spending when he signed the Democrats’ health care reform law in 2010. (Politico)

Making $11,000 a year, but excluded from Medicaid
Sandra Pico is poor, but not poor enough. She makes about $15,000 a year, supporting her daughter and unemployed husband. She thought she’d be able to get health insurance after the Supreme Court upheld President Barack Obama’s health care law. Then she heard that her own governor won’t agree to the federal plan to extend Medicaid coverage to people like her in two years. So she expects to remain uninsured, struggling to pay for her blood pressure medicine. (Associated Press/WHBF)

A giant hospital chain is blazing a profit trail
HCA’s robust profit growth has raised the value of the firms’ holdings to nearly three and a half times their initial investment in the $33 billion deal. The financial performance has been so impressive that HCA has become a model for the industry. Its success inspired 35 buyouts of hospitals or chains of facilities in the last two and a half years by private equity firms eager to repeat that windfall. (New York Times)

Med tech’s arrest shows flaws in system
Radiology technician David Kwiatkowski was a few weeks into a temporary job at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Presbyterian in 2008 when a co-worker accused him of lifting a syringe containing an addictive painkiller from an operating room and sticking it down his pants. More syringes were found in his pockets and locker. A drug test showed he had fentanyl and other opiates in his system. Authorities say that when he swiped the fentanyl syringe, he left another one in its place, filled with a dummy fluid, ready to be used on a patient. But Kwiatkowski did not go to jail. No one in Pittsburgh even called the police. Neither the hospital nor the medical staffing agency that placed him in the job informed the national accreditation organization for radiological technicians. So just days after being fired, he was able to start a new job at a Baltimore hospital. (Associated Press/Vacaville Reporter)

Glucose monitors overlooked as infection source
The federal investigation of New Hampshire’s Exeter Hospital hepatitis outbreak linked to suspicions of drug diversion by a health care worker reveals an underappreciated potential source of infection in all healthcare organizations—the inadequate cleaning of blood glucose monitors. “It’s not well appreciated in the healthcare community that these devices should be cleaned and disinfected in between patients; that’s something that’s only now being realized,” says Joseph Perz, Prevention Team Leader for the Division of Healthcare Quality and Promotion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (HealthLeaders News)

Hospital error reports up slightly in Oregon — and that’s good news
Reports of errors in Oregon hospitals grew slightly last year, according to the Oregon Patient Safety Commission. But that might actually be good news. The commission relies on voluntary reporting, and has been struggling to persuade hospitals to improve their reporting. More reports will allow the state to better improve safety, says Bethany Higgins, the commission’s executive director. (Portland Oregonian)

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