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

Iowa News

BVRMC offers new 4K ‘big screen surgery’
Big screen surgery at Buena Vista Regional Medical Center (BVRMC) in Storm Lake now offers a new 4K ultra high-definition imaging system for unparalleled vision within the human body. BVRMC will be among the first in Iowa to use the Olympus VISERA 4K UHD System for minimally invasive surgery. The medical center announced the advancement late this week. The new system delivers four times the pixels, higher resolution, better light, and a wider color gamut than high-definition displays for a big screen surgery experience in the operating room. (Storm Lake Pilot Tribune)

New respiratory program opens at Regional Health Services of Howard County
Regional Health Services of Howard County in Cresco opened its new Respiratory Care Department and Cardiopulmonary Services last month. There are a number of services they can provide including pulmonary rehabilitation, coaching on breathing techniques to help treat your condition and at-home sleep tests. “We have an at home sleep test and it wraps around your chest and it has an apnea link and that is going to help you with your oxygen and tracking your snores,” says Rebecca Gardner, Respiratory Care Supervisor. (KIMT)

Changes ahead for inpatient cancer care at Mercy Medical Center
Some big changes are in the works for patients undergoing inpatient cancer treatment at Mercy Medical Center. The downtown Sioux City hospital is moving cancer patients from the seventh floor to the eighth floor. The seventh floor was devoted solely to cancer care, but on the eighth floor, cancer patients will share space with general surgery and urology patients. The consolidation is said to be happening for business reasons, most notably Mercy says it’s cancer unit is handling fewer patients than in years past. Mercy maintains there’ll be no change in the level of care patients receive. (Siouxland Matters)

Skiff Medical Center names new president
The leaders of Mercy Health Network have announced Laurie Conner will accept the role of president of Skiff Medical Center effective March 19. Conner has served as Skiff’s interim leader following the resignation of Brett Altman, who moved to a CEO position at Cass County Health System in Atlantic. Conner has served in various roles in her nine years with Mercy Medical Center. She was CEO for Dallas County Hospital, administrator for Mercy West Lakes and most recently vice president of business development for Mercy Des Moines. (Newton Daily News)

National News

Angry town hall meetings on health care law in Wisconsin, and few answers
The questions from voters on display this weekend at a series of town-hall-style meetings in Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District, many of which were focused on the future of the health care law, underscored the quandary many lawmakers are facing even in solidly Republican districts. The imminent problem: Constituents want answers, and without any consensus on how to go about replacing the law, Republicans have little to say. (New York Times)

Major Ohio hospitals join together for a trauma care network
Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth and University Hospitals in Ohio have joined together to create a new Northern Ohio Trauma System (NOTS), which will provide coordinated trauma care to patients throughout the seven-county Northeast Ohio region. The NOTS network was originally formed in 2010 between MetroHealth and Cleveland Clinic, and NOTS assisted the City of Cleveland public safety forces to get the right patient to the right place at the right time for their care. NOTS members will coordinate with public safety forces and network hospitals to ensure patients are rapidly triaged and taken to the appropriate level of care within the network. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Religious vaccine exemptions on the rise in New Jersey
More parents in New Jersey are choosing religious exemptions for child vaccinations, resulting in a steady increase in unvaccinated schoolchildren. The number of state religious exemptions among children in primary school more than doubled within a six-year period. The number of unvaccinated school-age children has public health experts worried, while vaccine-choice supporters say families are making the best decisions for their kids. Experts do say they are concerned rising exemptions will weaken “herd immunity” for those who depend on others for protection. (Miami Herald)

Trump administration tightens Obamacare enrollment rules
The Trump administration has released its first big Obamacare rule, and it tightens several rules for enrollment to try to “stabilize” the individual health insurance market. Now, health insurers could refuse to cover a person who hadn’t paid some of their premiums during the past year until they’ve paid their debts. The open enrollment period for next year will be shorter and anyone who tries to sign up outside of the open enrollment period through the HealthCare.gov website will have to prove they’re eligible. Insurers will have greater flexibility in determining the level of coverage in their plans and states will get to decide whether health insurance plans have adequate networks of doctors and hospitals. (Axios)

A deep dive into 4 GOP talking points on health care
Republican leaders have a lengthy list of talking points about the shortcomings of the health law. And they can point to a host of issues, including premium increases averaging more than 20 percent this year, a drop in the number of insurers competing on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces and rising consumer discontent with high deductibles and limited doctor networks. Yet a careful analysis of some of the GOP’s talking points show a much more nuanced situation and suggest that the political fights over the law may have contributed to some of its problems. Kaiser Health News provides an annotated guide to four of the most common talking points Republicans have been using. (Kaiser Health News)

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