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

Iowa News

Turning Pointe continues to fill mental health service gap
Ten months after opening its doors, Turning Pointe Crisis Stabilization Residential Services continues to fill a mental health service gap in southwest Iowa. The center, which is housed in a residential neighborhood in Clarinda and opened in January, is funded by a grant from the Southwest Iowa Mental Health Disabilities Region and ran through the Waubonsie Mental Health Center. Program Director Jessica Coburn says the facility is meant for patients who don’t quite qualify for in-patient treatment, but still need mental health services. (KMAland

It’s time to talk about mental health
While mental health may be every bit as important as physical health, mental-health treatment often carries with it an element of embarrassment or shame. Sometimes, this contributes to a lack of available services – a serious problem in rural Iowa. According to a report released by the National Alliance on Mental Health in June, Iowa ranks second to last in mental health care, so even those brave enough to seek treatment often have trouble accessing help they need. Unfortunately, the largest challenge is convincing a patient to get medical attention in the first place. (Osceola Sentinel-Tribune)

Partnership gives hands-on work experience to people with disabilities
Stacie Kintigh has worked in special education for 25 years, but her newest endeavor may be one of the most rewarding experiences of her career. Kintigh is an instructor for Project SEARCH, a new initiative to the Quad-Cities that provides classroom instruction and workplace internships to students with physical and intellectual disabilities in hopes of preparing them for future employment. The initiative is a collaboration between UnityPoint Health—Trinity, Bettendorf School District, North Scott School District, Pleasant Valley School District, Goodwill Industries, Vocational Rehabilitation and Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency. (Quad-City Times)

Lunch with a leader: Pam Delagardelle
First a nurse, then a teacher of nurses, then top administrator of nurses, doctors, technicians and health care personnel, Gilbertville native Pam Delagardelle certainly has risen through the health care ranks in the Cedar Valley. She kept expanding her knowledge and skills until she’s now president and CEO of UnityPoint Health-Waterloo, with three hospitals, 26 regional clinics and nearly 3,000 employees serving 10 Northeast Iowa counties. By all accounts, UnityPoint Health has grown and prospered under her leadership, having been named one of the top 20 places to work in the Cedar Valley. (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

Okeoma receives Iowa Women of Innovation Award
Chioma Okeoma, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology at the University of Iowa (UI) Carver College of Medicine, has received the Research Innovation and Leadership Award from the Technology Association of Iowa. Okeoma was one of eight women leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math to be honored as winners of the ninth annual Des Moines Area Community College Iowa Women of Innovation Awards. Okeoma’s team has identified a BST-2-based peptide that prevents breast tumor growth. The discovery has been patented by the UI Research Foundation. (University of Iowa Health Care)

National News

South Dakota governor ditches Medicaid expansion after Mike Pence meeting
Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard said Tuesday that he won’t pursue an expansion of Medicaid in 2017 after a discussion with Vice President-elect Mike Pence. The South Dakota governor said in a statement that his decision is based on a Monday meeting in which he and Pence talked about the Trump administration’s plans for repealing or reforming the Affordable Care Act. The move comes after Daugaard’s administration had worked during Democrat Barack Obama’s presidency to open the program to roughly 50,000 more low-income South Dakota residents. (Rapid City Journal)

Colorado health care commission recommends more transparent prices to control costs
A state commission working on ways to reduce the cost of health care in Colorado says greater transparency in pricing would help patients avoid costly doctors’ visits. That is just one of more than a dozen recommendations that the Colorado Commission on Affordable Health Care sent to lawmakers and the governor Tuesday in its second annual report. The commission’s first report, issued last year, found that Coloradans’ spending on health care had quadrupled over the past two decades. This year, the commission held seven public meetings across the state in the hopes of finding ways to control runaway health care costs. (Denver Post)

Leader of Kansas mental health crisis center touts savings from care
The leader of a mental health crisis center in Kansas City told legislators Tuesday that the amount of money his facility is saving Kansas hospitals, prisons and jails is nearly double its total budget. Randy Callstrom is president and CEO of Wyandot Inc., a community mental health center that took over the former Rainbow Mental Health Facility state hospital in 2014. Callstrom told the Joint Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice that the facility saved $6 million last year by stabilizing people in crisis who otherwise would have ended up in state hospitals, local emergency rooms or jails and prisons. (Kansas Health Institute)

Retail clinics don’t reduce ER use for low-acuity conditions
Some researchers and policymakers had hoped the surge of retail clinics across the country would reduce visits to the emergency room (ER). A new study finds that hasn’t been the case. The report, published Monday in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, found ERs in close proximity to retail clinics didn’t experience a reduction of visits from patients with low-acuity illnesses like influenza, urinary tract infections and ear aches. The study, conducted by researchers at Rand Corporation, was the first to explore the association between the opening of retail clinics and admissions to the ER. (Modern Healthcare)

The players who are set to influence Trump on health care
At a time when nobody really knows how the Trump administration will regulate drugs and medical devices, fund scientific research, or repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act, relationships with the newcomers are viewed as critical to getting one’s issues on the table. Trump’s transition team is a moving train, so influencers are likely to jump aboard fast. Here’s STAT’s look at people and organizations in health care and science who are likely to have influence with a Trump presidency — and who else might benefit. (STAT)

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