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

Iowa News

Put aside partisan politics and expand Medicaid
As for Iowa, our hospitals will continue to absorb the costs of care for individuals who would have Medicaid coverage under the Medicaid expansion program but will now have nowhere to turn but emergency rooms when they become acutely ill. Free clinics and community clinics will have their resources stretched even further in an attempt to care for those citizens ignored by our governor. If this seems wrong, remember this when the governor runs for still another term. (Iowa City Press-Citizen)

Doctor awarded for drug abuse prevention work
A central Iowa doctor was honored Monday for his work to reduce prescription drug abuse. Dr. Gary Hemann was presented with the of the Physician’s Innovation, Determination and Excellence in Action to reduce substance abuse award. Dr. Hemann launched a program at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines in 2011 to review emergency department pain medication prescriptions with the goal of standardizing the process. He also created a coalition of local and state health care organizations to make the program available in all Iowa hospitals. (WHO-TV)

IPOST implemented in Dubuque County
The mission of the IPOST (Iowa Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) is to create a system to honor the health care treatment choices of individuals through improved communication across the healthcare continuum and to promote community engagement in advanced care planning. IPOST is a complement to advance directives by translating patient treatment choices into actionable medical orders which can be relied upon across all care settings. (The Finley Hospital)

Henry County Health Center launches hospitalist program
HCHC is partnering with Family Medicine of Mt. Pleasant, P.C. to offer a hospitalist program that is designed to provide specialized care for patients who are hospitalized. “Henry County Health Center is pleased to collaborate with Family Medicine on this new initiative. The health center and physicians are dedicated to bringing the hospitalist program to HCHC for the benefit of our patients and to meet the health care needs of our communities,” said HCHC CEO Robb Gardner. (KILJ)

National News

Patients balk at considering cost in medical decision-making
In recent years, consumers have increasingly been encouraged to factor cost into their medical decisions — by, for example, avoiding unnecessary tests, buying generic drugs and reducing visits to the emergency room. The hope is that a patient better educated and more engaged in his or her health decisions will choose options that will both promote better health and decrease costs. But a study published last month in the journal Health Affairs found that a majority of patients were reluctant to consider cost when making medical decisions, nor did they want their doctors to do so. (Washington Post)

Data-driven health care comes with IT hurdles
First, health care IT groups strain under near-term reporting burdens. Second, as the industry moves away from a fee-for-service revenue foundation to a value-based purchasing model, many health care IT groups may find that they have to respond to a slew of internal demands for reporting and analysis. The investments required are many, and the return on investment often is unclear. Finally, for a long time, the IT needs of the industry, especially on the clinical side of the house, have been met with highly targeted software applications. (HealthLeaders Media)

Immigration reform may solve long-term care worker shortage
Immigration reform is once again being taken up in the country’s capital, and depending on the final shape it takes, it could be a boon for the long-term care industry. The long-term care industry has struggled with labor shortages and faces caring for a projected 88 million people age 65 and older by 2050. “As a result,” wrote Walter Leutz in a report for the Immigration Policy Center on immigrants in long-term care, “immigrants will continue to play a significant role in the growth of the U.S. labor force in general and the direct-care workforce in particular.” (Healthcare Finance News)

Preventive health services not always cost effective
A new report by Trust for America’s Health offers solutions to policy makers and the public to increase preventative healthcare. According to the report, prevention improves health and productivity “while saving billions in health care costs.” In this report, the authors link prevention and savings by assuming that increasing preventive services will, in turn, reduce the spending on chronic diseases, lowering overall healthcare costs. For example, they said that chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease are responsible for 75 percent of total U.S. medical spending. (Healthcare Payers News)

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