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

Iowa News

Doctors, patients share duty to contain costs
We can envision the letters from doctors. We don’t perform unnecessary procedures, they will say. But when the most profitable tool one has is a scalpel, there is an inevitable tendency to use it. There is pressure from bosses to use it. And patients just go along. It is no secret Americans use more health care than people in every other country. We undergo too many tests that lead to unnecessary procedures. We rush to the doctor for minor ailments. We undergo unnecessary surgeries. And then we talk about containing health care costs. The most obvious way to do that is to use less health care. (Des Moines Register)

Cancer center continues Mercy mission
The official opening of Mercy’s Hall-Perrine Cancer Center on July 19 was an exclamation point to Mercy’s legacy as the leader in cancer care in the Cedar Rapids community. Well-known business leader and philanthropist Howard Hall recognized Mercy’s commitment to cancer care as far back as 1956 when he helped bring the first cobalt radiation technology to Hall Radiation Center. Today, as a member of the Mercy Medical Center board of trustees since 1991, I have witnessed Mercy’s continued commitment to ensuring Cedar Rapids and its outlying areas have the best cancer care close to home. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

National News

Denver Health: Low readmission rate not easy to emulate
Denver Health can do it, every hospital ought to be able to do it. That’s the implicit challenge of the new Medicare penalties for high hospital readmission rates that will be hitting 2,211 American hospitals come October. Denver Health, despite being a safety net hospital, won’t be paying a penalty: It has an enviably low readmission rate. But there’s a problem says Medicare’s poster child: Denver Health’s quality chief calls the new policy imprecise and perhaps unfair, too. (Kaiser Health News)

Ohio hospital successfully battles C. diff
When officials at The Jewish Hospital-Mercy Health in Cincinnati launched a high-priority initiative in 2009 to bring down its skyrocketing C. diff rate, it took far less time and money than they expected to get dramatic results. With better controls on antibiotic use, new room-cleaning strategies, and revamped standards of care, the hospital cut its C. diff infection rate 50% in just six months—a period when the average number of cases dropped from about 16 a month to fewer than half that number. And the decline continues: From January through March this year, the infection rate was down nearly 80% since the initiative began, with no change in occupancy rates. (USA Today)

Cleveland Clinic wellness program gets results
As Cleveland Clinic’s wellness program hits its five-year anniversary, Chief Wellness Officer Michael Roizen says the program is showing real results and returns. Fierce Healthcare spoke with Roizen about how the program has affected the patients, the community and employees–plus previews a patient wellness widget that’s in the works. (Fierce Healthcare)

CIOs walk fine line between doctor access and patient privacy
Health care CIOs are struggling to balance the needs to doctors and patients as they work out the governance of electronic medical records. Glenn Mamary, CIO of Hunterdon Healthcare System, in, Flemington, N.J., says he has worked out a series of governance policies designed to address the practical challenges he has faced while transitioning to electronic medical records. He has contended with problems such as doctors not getting sufficient access to those records and with curious personnel looking at medical histories they should not be seeing. (Wall Street Journal)

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