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

Iowa News

Morally and fiscally, Medicaid expansion is right for Iowa
Providing high-value health care is part of our mission that also reflects the expectations of the community. Accomplishing this goal — ensuring quality while also lowering health care costs through improved care management — will also fuel economic growth, a top priority for both our state and Cerro Gordo County. However, refusing to expand Medicaid and keeping thousands of poor Iowans uninsured undermines the physical health of our people and the economic vitality of our hospitals and our state. (Mason City Globe Gazette)

Des Moines University students spend spring break working in Honduras
Over two dozen students from Des Moines University are in a warmer climate for spring break, but they are on a working trip, not a vacation. Student Ashley Rivera says they will be using their medical skills while in Honduras. “We spend four days in a community down there and we set up a mobile clinic type of thing and people are seen for various medical issue,” she explains. “We saw about a thousand patients in four days last year, and probably gonna see hopefully about the same this year. (Radio Iowa)

Jobless rate 5% in Iowa despite gains
Iowa’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in January from December’s revised 5 percent, despite adding 3,700 nonfarm jobs, a report Monday showed. The greatest job gains came from professional and business services, adding 3,100 jobs, followed by manufacturing, adding 2,600 jobs, Iowa Workforce Development said. January marked the fourth consecutive month for job gains in manufacturing. (Des Moines Register)

National News

Dems: Rejecting Medicaid expansion will hurt state’s rating
Mississippi House Democrats said yesterday that the state could hurt its own financial standing if it rejects Medicaid expansion, but Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said he’s not convinced that would happen and he still opposes putting more people on the government health program. Democrats pointed to a statement made last week by Moody’s Investors Service, which is one of the financial firms that ranks the creditworthiness of Mississippi and other states. (Mississippi Business Journal)

Studies: Employers could save with Medicaid expansion
The debate over expanding Medicaid in Indiana so far has hinged on how much it will cost. But two recent studies suggest Hoosier employers should be focused on how much a Medicaid expansion will save them: perhaps as much as $400 million per year. The actual number is likely to be lower, but the potential savings are real. That’s because a Medicaid expansion would spare some employers from having to pay penalties for not providing health insurance to their workers and it might lead to less cost-shifting by hospitals, which raises prices for employers to cover the hospitals’ losses on uninsured patients. (Indianapolis Business Journal)

Chambers of Commerce urge Medicaid expansion in Texas
Chambers of Commerce in Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington are among five chambers in Texas that are urging Gov. Rick Perry and the state Legislature to expand Medicaid coverage in the state. Bloomberg reported that the chambers have sent lobbyists to Austin to pressure Republican legislators to increase coverage under the Affordable Care Act. (Dallas Business Journal)

Care coordination tools have potential to reduce health care costs
Care coordination initiatives – whether they’re paper-based or digital – have the potential to significantly reduce the nation’s health care bill. One-in-five senior citizens discharged from the hospital is readmitted within 30 days, according to Qualidigm, a health care consulting firm. Many of these readmissions result from preventable complications and mismanagement. To address these issues, several health care stakeholders are now putting care coordination programs in place to help patients transition from one care setting to another. (Healthcare Finance News)

Warning sounded on demoralized health care work force
The experience of working in American health care is being drained of joy and meaning amid a rising rate of occupational injuries, episodes of verbal abuse and physical assaults from colleagues, and a seemingly relentless drive to provide more care in less time. This toxic blend is setting back the effort to improve the quality of care and prevent patient harm, according to a recently published report produced by some of the most distinguished names in the field of patient safety. (American Medical News)

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