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

Iowa News

Conference panel to decide Iowa health, human services budget
The $1.9 billion budget represents a 6.1 percent increase over the current year with much of the $107 million increase going to cover a Medicaid reimbursement change that represents an $87 million hit to the state general fund budget. The House did not include funds for the Iowa Juvenile Home in HF 2463. It included $5.1 million for placing girls classified as children in need of assistance, or CINA, with private providers and spending $780,000 to maintain the Toledo property. Senators earmarked $3.9 million to re-establish a 20-bed facility for delinquent girls, $1.1 million for after-care services and $2 million for CINA placements with private providers. (Quad-City Times)

Trimmed legislation on bullying discussed
The anti-bullying bill Gov. Terry Branstad proposed when the 2014 legislative session began appears unlikely to pass in these final days before adjournment, but key lawmakers are holding out hope for a scaled-back version. Legislators are discussing jettisoning the training mandates and state funding included in early versions of the bill, as well as controversial language allowing school officials to discipline students for bullying incidents that happen off school grounds. (Des Moines Register)

National News

Stop the war on the emergency room
There’s a war being waged on one of America’s most revered institutions, the emergency room. The ER, or emergency department (ED for the sake of this post) has been the subject of at least a dozen primetime TV shows. What’s not to love about a place where both Doogie Houser and George Clooney worked? Every new parent in the world knows three different ways to get to the closest ED. It’s the place we all know we can go, no matter what, when we are feeling our worst. And yet, we’re not supposed to go there. (The Health Care Blog)

New Long Island College Hospital could top $1B
The president of one of the losing bidders for 300- to 400-bed Long Island College Hospital has filed a formal protest with the State University of New York on the premise that the winning bid for SUNY’s Long Island College Hospital drastically underestimated the cost of building a new hospital at the site. (Crain’s New York Business)

Study: Initiative improves treatment time, outcomes for stroke patients
More than 1,000 hospitals participating in a national initiative launched in 2010 to reduce door-to-needle times for intravenous tissue plasminogen activator in patients with acute ischemic stroke also reduced in-hospital death and intracranial bleeding and increased the portion of patients discharged to their home, according to a study in the April 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a neurology theme issue. (Journal of the American Medical Association)

New migraine treatments show promise
Studies presented Tuesday at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting suggest that two new drugs may prevent migraines from happening. “We’ve identified a new preventive treatment for migraines, something that reduces frequency, the number of attacks and severity of attacks, how bad the attacks are,” said Dr. Peter Goadsby, co-author of both studies and professor of neurology at Kings College, London and the University of California, San Francisco. (CNN/KCCI)

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

Panelists discuss problems in Iowa’s adolescent mental health system

Mental health funding in Iowa always has been shortchanged, experts said at a recent panel discussion, and while the state’s mental health redesign hopefully will solve some problems, many remain in a broken and fragmented system. (InsuranceNews)

Not enough done for Iowa’s mentally ill

For people with serious mental illness who do not receive the treatment and support they need, their disease can result in homelessness, incarceration or suicide. Because so many of us are affected, it is important we pay attention to the changes happening right now in our system of services for people with serious mental illness. (Des Moines Register)

National News

HHS taken to court over ‘two-midnight’ rule’

The American Hospital Association, together with four delivery systems and four state hospital associations have filed two federal lawsuits challenging the “two-midnight rule” for hospitals, as well as a 0.2 percent payment cut in Medicare to offset alleged higher costs because of the rule. (Health IT Outcomes)

Hospitals trying their hand at insurance provider business

As doctors, businesses and individuals around the country are adapting to the sweeping changes enacted under the Affordable Care Act, some hospitals are getting in on the provider game.Self-insurance plans are cropping up at hospitals that put the financial risks on employers for providing benefits to their workers. Hospital officials say they can offer competitive pricing as providers to small business owners as many predict higher premium costs in the coming years. (Fox News Business)

4 ways hospital leaders can advance health equality

Healthcare leaders play a huge role in advancing quality care and health equity for diverse populations.  Success, however, requires leaders to recognize they aren’t experts in this area and must collaborate on ideas to build accountability with minority and under-resourced communities. (FierceHealthcare)

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

Iowa News

Chaplains, volunteers meet patients’ spiritual needs
For Mitch Holte, the time he spends administering the Eucharist and offering blessings in hospital rooms each week is always rewarding. However, his visits with patients Friday at Mercy Iowa City were perhaps even more meaningful, given the importance of the week to his faith. It can be easy to lose track of the calendar when you’re hospitalized, says Holte, so helping patients mark Good Friday was one small way he could lift spirits. (Iowa City Press-Citizen)

Funding youth mental health
The Linn County Leaque of Women Voters organized a youth mental health forum at Mercy Medical Center to ask people in the Corridor to stick together. In one day, a mental diagnosis can change a life of a loved one, something Mary Ann Nelson knows all too well. “It’s difficult to deal with someone who has mental health problems because they do not believe they have mental health problems,” she said.”You are scared to death.” (KGAN)

Blue Zones kicks off in Iowa City
Hundreds turn out for Iowa City’s Blue Zones project kick off with Dan Buettner, founder and CEO of Blue Zones. The idea is to improve people’s by creating an environment where making healthy choices comes naturally. (Iowa City Press-Citizen)

Chris Norton rising above spinal cord injury to help others
In three years, Chris Norton, his family and friends have raised $230,000. To date, his SCI CAN Foundation has distributed $168,000 to entities like On With Life in Ankeny, Euroteam in Decorah and the Mercy Foundation in Des Moines. “It just took off. Everybody’s been getting behind it,” Norton says. He pulled it off while continuing his own rehabilitation, continuing as a full-time business management student at Luther and keeping up a heavy schedule of speaking engagements. (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier)

National News

Health care spending’s recent surge stirs unease
A surge of insurance enrollment related to rising employment and President Obama’s health care law has likely meant a surge of spending on health care, leaving policy experts wondering whether the government and private businesses can control spending as the economy gets stronger and millions more Americans gain coverage. “Following several years of decline, 2013 was striking for the increased use by patients of all parts of the U.S. health care system,” Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, said in a statement. (New York Times)

Report: Lack of interoperability impeding health information exchange
A lack of interoperability among the data resources for electronic health records “is a major impediment to the effective exchange of health information,” according to a new report by JASON, an independent group of scientists that advises the federal government on technology. “Although current efforts to define standards for EHRs and to certify HIT systems are useful, they lack a unifying software architecture to support broad interoperability,” the report states. (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)

You’re on the clock: Doctors rush patients out the door
It’s not unusual for primary care doctors’ appointments to be scheduled at 15-minute intervals. Some physicians who work for hospitals say they’ve been asked to see patients every 11 minutes. And the problem may worsen as millions of consumers who gained health coverage through the Affordable Care Act begin to seek care — some of whom may have seen doctors rarely, if at all, and have a slew of untreated problems. (USA Today)

Rural Maryland lacks health care resources
Kerry Palakanis has spent most of her career as a nurse practitioner working in rural communities. She comes face to face with the everyday challenges of providing healthcare in a rural area where health disparities include higher rates of heart disease and obesity and lower life expectancy rates. “We’re akin to a Third World country,” Palakanis said. (Easton Star Democrat)

Mental and physical toll of bullying persists for decades
What doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger, right? Well, not when it comes to bullying. Some may still consider bullying a harmless part of growing up, but mounting evidence suggests that the adverse effects of being bullied aren’t something kids can just shake off. The psychological and physical tolls, like anxiety and depression, can follow a person into early adulthood. (Iowa Public Radio)

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

Iowa News

Iowa health care providers get C grade for value
How much value do Iowa businesses feel they’re receiving for their health care expenditures? Iowa business leaders have given their local health care providers mostly “C” grades, according to a new study published by Clive-based health benefits expert David Lind, principal of Heartland Health Research Institute. (Des Moines Business Record)

Congressman Loebsack tours Fort Madison hospital
During one of his regular visits to his district in Iowa, U.S. Representative Dave Loebsack made a stop Tuesday at the Fort Madison Community Hospital for a tour of the facility and a question and answer session with department heads. Loebsack said he tries to get to one or two of his district’s hospitals each time he’s in the state. (Fort Madison Daily Democrat)

National News

Obama to meet with health care leaders
President Obama is scheduled to meet with health insurance executives and state insurance commissioners on Thursday, just two days after ObamaCare’s special enrollment period officially closed. The meetings, which will include at least one photo-op, are a chance for the White House to telegraph unity with health insurance companies and state regulators involved with the rollout of the health care law. (The Hill)

Rates for certain diabetes-related complications fall sharply
The heart attack rate for patients with diabetes fell 68 percent between 1990 and 2010, while deaths from hyperglycemic crisis fell 64 percent, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. In addition, diabetes-related stroke cases fell 53 percent, amputations 51 percent, and end-stage renal disease cases 28 percent, the study found. (New England Journal of Medicine)

Initiative greatly reduces the number of early elective deliveries in Missouri
A two-year initiative started in 2012 by the March of Dimes Missouri Chapter and the Missouri Hospital Association has helped greatly reduce the number of early elective deliveries — deliveries scheduled by induction or cesarean for no medical reason before 39 weeks. Of the 46 participating hospitals in Missouri, 78 percent report a rate of 5 percent or less and 61 percent have had no early elective deliveries within the past six months. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Creating an integrated care business model for behavioral health
To get ready to participate in integrated care funded by bundled payments, behavioral health providers need to establish a new business model, with particular emphasis on establishing episode of care rates. “It is worth making an attempt at developing your own episode of care rate, your own bundled approach, because we have to be forward thinking,” said Jeff Capobianco, PhD, a consultant with the National Council for Behavioral Health. (Healthcare Finance News)

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

Iowa News

North Liberty woman meets her heart donor’s family
A North Liberty woman who needed a heart transplant in 2012 met the family of the Wisconsin woman who gave her life at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics on Tuesday. Amber Mattheis found out she had severe hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with end-stage heart failure in 2004. Then in 2011, she was in the hospital for a test when doctors told her she needed a heart transplant. (KCRG)

Woodbury County Board approves regional mental health services agreement
The Woodbury County Board on Tuesday approved a final sharing agreement for the delivery of mental health services through the new four-county Sioux Rivers Regional Mental Health and Disability Services group. Beginning July 1, Woodbury, Plymouth, Cherokee and Sioux counties will work together in the reorganized state mental health system for low-income residents with mental, intellectual and developmental disabilities. (Sioux City Journal)

Blue Zones kicks off in Oskaloosa
The Blue Zones Project held its Oskaloosa kickoff Monday evening at the Oskaloosa High School gym. Blue Zones originated with Dan Buettner of National Geographic.  He found five areas of the world that had many people living healthy, active lives into their 100s. He interviewed those people to learn their secrets to long life. Buettner and several of his colleagues were in Oskaloosa Monday to help the local Blue Zones staff kick off their campaign to improve the community’s health and well-being. (Oskaloosa Herald)

National News

Is Obamacare a success? We might not know for a while
After months of focusing on how many people have or haven’t signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, we now have a rough total (7.5 million), and everyone’s keen to get to the bigger questions: How well is the law working? How many of those who signed up have paid their premiums and are actually getting coverage? How many were uninsured before they signed up? And just how big has the drop been in the number of uninsured people? (National Public Radio)

Health care reform unfinished, part 1: Hospitals take a hit
Surveys find there are 9 million fewer uninsured after the enrollment period prescribed by the Affordable Care Act. But that alone does not equal success for the Act, known as Obamacare. Hospitals have not yet realized the savings of universal health care but they’re already feeling the bite of cuts in payments. The Hospital Association of Pennsylvania embraced health care reform. Hospitals had provided billions in uncompensated care and the promise of universal coverage appealed not only to their bottom line but their values. (CBS Philadelphia)

Accountable Care Organizations explained
While ACOs are touted as a way to help fix an inefficient payment system that rewards more, not better, care, some economists warn they could lead to greater consolidation in the health care industry, which could allow some providers to charge more if they’re the only game in town.   ACOs have become one of the most talked about new ideas in Obamacare. Here are answers to some of the more common questions about how they work. (Kaiser Health News)

Census survey revisions mask health law effects
The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said. The changes are intended to improve the accuracy of the survey, being conducted this month in interviews with tens of thousands of households around the country. But the new questions are so different that the findings will not be comparable, the officials said. (New York Times)

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