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

Iowa News

Genesis nurse named Iowa Hospital Hero
Marsha Menke, instrumental in founding the Genesis Diabetes Care Center more than 20 years ago, is always side-by-side with diabetes patients. Throughout her more than 45 years as a nurse, Marsha Menke has exhibited extraordinary dedication to her career and to her patients. That dedication continues today with methods that have helped develop the Genesis Diabetes Care Center into a nationally recognized program with nearly perfect patient satisfaction scores. (Quad-Cities Online)

Iowa seniors saved $8 million on drugs this year because of Obamacare
The savings came from the law’s effort to narrow Medicare’s “doughnut hole,” under which members previously went without federal assistance to buy prescription drugs. Under the Medicare prescription-drug plan, which went into effect in 2003, seniors paid any annual drug costs that were beyond $2,800 but less than $4,550. Under the federal health-reform law, championed by President Barack Obama, people who hit the doughnut hole in 2010 received a $250 rebate. Starting in 2011, people in that position received discounts on medications, including half off name-brand drugs. The discounts and coverage are set to increase until the doughnut hole is phased out in 2020. (Des Moines Register)

Knoxville hospital staff become ‘Backpack Buddies
After months of planning and hard work, this October will mark the kickoff of Knoxville Backpack Buddies, a supplementary food program launched by several employees with the Knoxville school district and Knoxville Hospital & Clinics. The program is designed to provide extra food for elementary children to have to eat during the weekends when they head home from school. (Knoxville Journal Express)

National News

Hospitals name their least favorite insurers
Each year ReviveHealth, a hospital public relations firm in Santa Barbara, Calif., asks hospitals to name the most problematic payers. This year’s loser: WellPoint, which “managed to have some pretty intense negative opinion” in the regions where it does business, said Revive President Brandon Edwards. “That vaults them above — or I should say below — all the other health plans, even those that operate in all 50″ states. Insurers called the report unscientific and biased, pointing to the agency’s interest in cultivating hospital clients. (Kaiser Health News)

Health law gives Medicare fraud fighters new weapons
Fighting health care fraud in the U.S. can seem like an endless game of Whack-a-Mole. When government fraud squads crack down on one scheme, another pops up close by. But the fraud squads that look for scams in the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs have some new weapons: tools and funding provided by the Affordable Care Act. “For a long time we were not in a position to keep up with the really sophisticated criminals,” said Peter Budetti, who oversees anti-fraud efforts at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “They’re not only smart, they’re extremely well-funded. And this is their full-time job.” (National Public Radio)

13% of hospitals surveyed last year were in ACOs or planned to be
Only 3 percent of hospitals surveyed a year ago were participating in an accountable care organization, while another 10 percent were planning to participate and 12 percent were not sure, according to a new report by the Commonwealth Fund. Hospitals in both groups tended to be larger than other hospitals, belong to a health system, located in large urban areas, and teaching and nonprofit organizations. The findings are based on a survey by the American Hospital Association Health Research & Educational Trust, which was completed before the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released its final rules for the Medicare Shared Savings Program. (Health Research & Educational Trust)

Health care enrollment time tries workers
As the open-enrollment season for health benefits approaches, many workers will be making some bad choices, according to a new survey. “Far too many people don’t really understand their benefits,” says Audrey Tillman, executive vice president of Corporate Services at Aflac. “In fact, most employees are on autopilot.” The majority of American workers — 56% — estimate that they waste up to $750 each year because of costly mistakes they have made with their health insurance benefits, according to the Aflac WorkForces Report, a July survey of more than 2,000 consumers released today. That could represent four months of the grocery budget for a single person. (USA Today)

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