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

Iowa News

Change of date for move-in and opening of UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital
The new University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is postponing its original December 10 move-in until late January or early February 2017. In evaluating the progress to date, officials determined that they are close, but not quite ready, to move patients and staff into the new facility. The safety and comfort of patients, their families and hospital employees are the top priorities. Officials believe a late January or early February move-in and opening will provide the safest environment and smoothest transition for everyone involved. (Iowa Now)

Eastern Iowa hospitals giving and receiving
Giving trees, angel trees, poinsettias, love lights, sock lines and ornaments. All are ways Corridor hospitals are raising spirits and funds through the holiday season. “No one wants to be in the hospital over the holidays,” said Mary Klinger, president of the UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Foundation in Cedar Rapids. The various initiatives in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City help foster the spirit of giving. “We see so many less-fortunate people that don’t really have a lot of things, and they have a need,” she said. “The spirit of giving is impactful for the patients … so we want to be able to make their holiday special, too.” (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

BVRMC celebrates Kelly’s Leadership in health care
Michele Kelly, executive director of quality at Buena Vista Regional Medical Center (BVRMC), has been voted to serve as the position of president elect for the Iowa Organization of Nurse Leaders (IONL) board for 2017. Through IONL, Michele will represent and support nurse leaders in Iowa to shape the future of health care delivery, education and health policy. BVRMC celebrates Michele Kelly’s leadership in health care to foster the future of nurse leaders. (Storm Lake Times)

UIHC patients give thanks for hearing this season
The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) is working to bring that hearing back to those who’ve lost it. UIHC leads research for this innovative hybrid cochlear implant technology. “It’s a device for people who are actually having trouble hearing nose,” Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Department Chair Dr. Bruce Gantz said. Doctors at UIHC put in the first cochlear implant back in 1979. Ever since, the hospital dedicated time and research to improving them. The Food and Drug Administration approved the hybrid implant only three years ago. (KCRG)

Hampton nurse killed in weekend accident was a ‘bright, shining star’
Griselda “Gris” Tello of Hampton, a 22-year-old nurse at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa who died in a motor vehicle accident Friday, is being remembered for her bright smile and her desire to help others. “Her smile just lit up the room and made patients feel at ease,” said Linda Latham, director of critical care and nursing administrative services at Mercy. Tello was killed Friday evening on U.S. Highway 65 between Mason City and Rockwell when an oncoming pickup truck allegedly crossed the centerline and hit Tello’s car. (Mason City Globe Gazette)

National News

Mental health care still relatively difficult to access in New Hampshire
A survey from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) shows that for people with insurance, mental healthcare is still tougher to access than other kinds of care. There are a variety of reasons for that according to Ken Norton, executive director of NAMI New Hampshire. New Hampshire has had pretty severe workforce development issues. “A recent report indicated in the community mental health system alone that there were 200 vacancies, and that becomes a compounding effect, certainly,” said Norton. There’s certainly a psychiatric shortage, but also prescribers, nurse practitioners, nurses, psychiatric nurses, social workers, therapists. (New Hampshire Public Radio)

Thousands on Medicaid, MinnesotaCare to switch plans as Medica drops contract
More than 300,000 Minnesotans on public health programs could have to switch to a new plan next year after insurer Medica couldn’t agree on a new contract with the state of Minnesota. The move is fallout from last year, when Minnesota for the first time issued contracts to manage Medicaid and MinnesotaCare plans based on competitive bidding. This is the second major upheaval in just over a year in Minnesota’s public plans. Now that Medica’s out, the roughly 310,000 Minnesotans with Medica-managed Medicaid or MinnesotaCare plans will be moved to new plans by May 1. (Twin Cities Pioneer Press)

Vermont’s health care regulator hopeful state’s plan stays
Vermont’s top health care regulator said Wednesday he was hopeful any changes to the federal health care system under president-elect Donald Trump’s administration would recognize that the state’s effort to pay doctors to keep people healthy is a better business model than paying them for the procedures they perform. In September, Vermont and federal officials agreed that the state could begin implementing a system in which payments could go to providers to keep patients healthy, including Medicare and Medicaid recipients and residents with private insurance. It replaces the traditional fee-for-service that pays providers for the procedures they perform. (Associated Press/San Francisco Gate)

AHA congratulates Trump, proffers wish list
The American Hospital Association (AHA) this week urged President-elect Donald Trump to avoid “abrupt changes” to the Affordable Care Act that could destabilize the health care sector. The plea from AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack came near the end of a four-page wish list the hospital lobby sent this week to the president-elect, who has vowed to repeal Obamacare on his first day in office. Pollack’s letter highlighted five areas of concern for hospitals: reducing the regulatory burden; enhancing affordability and value; continuing to promote quality and patient safety; ensuring access to care and coverage and continuing to advance health care system transformation and innovation. (HealthLeaders Media)

Telemedicine may work as well as in-person visits for depression
Treating depression with video conference calls may offer symptom improvement similar to in-person visits, a recent US study suggests. “Based on results of this study and prior research, telemedicine is a highly relevant option to address the needs of rural patients or those living in remote locations, while providing patient satisfaction and quality of life similar to that provided by in-person treatment delivered at clinics,” said lead study author Dr. Leonard Egede, a researcher at the at the Medical University of South Carolina and the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston. The findings add to existing evidence suggesting telemedicine can work as well as in-person visits. (Reuters/Fox News)

GOP may delay Obamacare replacement for years
Congressional Republicans are setting up their own, self-imposed deadline to make good on their vow to replace the Affordable Care Act. With buy-in from Donald Trump’s transition team, GOP leaders on both sides of the Capitol are coalescing around a plan to vote to repeal the law in early 2017 — but delay the effective date for that repeal for as long as three years. They’re crossing their fingers that the delay will help them get their own house in order, as well as pressure a handful of Senate Democrats — who would likely be needed to pass replacement legislation — to come onboard before the clock runs out and 20 million Americans lose their health insurance. (Politico)

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