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

Iowa News

Lucas County Health Center grand prize winner
The 2017 Iowa Healthcare Collaborative Patient Safety Awards were recently announced and outstanding work in Lucas County Health Center (LCHC) led that hospital to earn the Patient Safety Grand Prize award. This award is presented to healthcare providers and/or health care organizations that have demonstrated outstanding leadership and achievement in patient safety. LCHC made great strides in improving medication safety for their patients in a multitude of ways. From bedside medication scanning to interdepartmental medication safety committees, LCHC has continued to drive its efforts forward. (Daily Iowegian)

FMCH lands two state awards
Fort Madison Community Hospital (FMCH) recently received two awards from the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative (IHC). The awards will be given at the statewide Patient Safety Conference on March 14 at The Courtyard by Marriott in Ankeny. FMCH received the Reducing Healthcare-Associated Infections award and the Improving Person and Family Engagement award. Heather Oppenheimer, registered nurse and infection preventionist at FMCH said it was gratifying to receive the award. Angie Budnik, community relations director at FMCH, said the awards reflect an ongoing mission of the hospital. (Fort Madison Daily Democrat)

Shellsburg clinic officially open
It’s now official. Shellsburg’s new UnityPoint Clinic – Family Medicine is open and many of the eastern Benton County communities came out Tuesday to have a look. Ted Townsend, St. Luke Hospital’s president and CEO, drove over from Cedar Rapids to observe contractor Greg Peacock and Shellsburg City Councilwoman Sharon Harvey cut the ribbon. (Vinton Newspapers/Cedar Valley Times)

Colon cancer cases are on the rise in Iowa
Doctors expect to see more than 1,500 new cases of colon cancer in Iowa this year. And the month of March marks Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. It’s the third most common cancer among males and females, but not everyone gets screened. But the Eastern Iowa Health Center wants to help low income families worried about screening costs. “We are very privileged to be able to take care of anybody regardless of ability to pay,” says Katie Bergen with the Eastern Iowa Health Center. (KCRG)

A few details on Branstad’s confirmation hearing, expected exit
Governor Terry Branstad may resign as soon as the last week in April in order to serve as President Trump’s ambassador to China. Branstad expects a U.S. Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination to happen about five weeks from now. He also met with Trump Administration officials to talk about his hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “I’m thinking it’s going to be late April, maybe early May,” Branstad said. “But as soon as I am confirmed, then shortly thereafter it would be my intention to resign and be sworn in as the ambassador and then the lieutenant governor would, of course, become the governor.” (Radio Iowa)

National News

GOP governors forming plan to keep Obama Medicaid expansion
A group of Republican governors is preparing a compromise plan for their peers in Congress who want to roll back Obamacare’s Medicaid benefits, asking them to preserve the law’s expansion of coverage to millions of poor people. The compromise proposal has been initiated by a group including Ohio Governor John Kasich and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and would hold on to parts of the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of the program. It’s meant to satisfy Republican goals of repealing Obamacare and giving more control of Medicaid to the states, while also maintaining coverage of people such as childless adults and those just above the poverty level. (Bloomberg)

House GOP moves forward toward health care markup despite unresolved concerns
House Republicans hope to start marking up a bill to repeal and partially replace the 2010 health care law next week, despite a litany of concerns about the plan. But proceeding with the legislative process is one way members say they can break through the impasse. Lawmakers with concerns about the plan range from conservatives, who view the refundable tax credits that are designed to help people purchase coverage in the private market as the creation of a new entitlement program, to moderates from states that have expanded Medicaid, who worry the plan won’t provide enough funding needed to sustain coverage provided through that program. (Roll Call)

Schumer says GOP division gives Democrats a chance to save Obamacare
President Trump’s declaration during his speech to Congress Tuesday night that Obamacare is “collapsing” and must be replaced was cheered by Republicans. But Republican lawmakers remain unable to coalesce behind an approach to their oft-stated goal of repeal and replace, and Democrats believe they hold the upper hand to the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In an interview with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep that aired Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the odds “are much greater than half” that the ACA will remain in place. (NPR)

CMS nominee moves on a party-line vote toward confirmation
A sharply divided Senate Finance Committee on Thursday morning recommended the confirmation of Seema Verma, a health care consultant who has reshaped Medicaid in several states, to run the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). On a vote of 13 to 12, with every Democrat in opposition, Verma’s nomination now moves to the full Senate, where the Republican majority has been moving swiftly to give its seal of approval to each of President Trump’s nominees who have come to a floor vote. (Washington Post)

Study finds hospital floors pose significant health risk
A study by the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), suggests hospital room floors pose a significant infection risk. Items in hospital rooms often come in contact with the floor, and pathogens can then spread quickly from the items to hands and other surfaces, researchers found in the study. “Understanding gaps in infection prevention is critically important for institutions seeking to improve the quality of care offered to patients,” APIC President Linda Greene said in a press release. “This this study points out the importance of ensuring cleanliness of the hospital environment and the need for education of both staff and patients on this issue.” (United Press International)

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