Health care

Health
9:46 am
Fri November 7, 2014

How Is Iowa Doing In the Fight Against Cancer?

17,630 people in Iowa will be diagnosed with cancer in 2014
Faculty of Medicine NTNU

Cancer-related deaths continue to decline in the U.S., and scientific breakthroughs are occurring at a breathtaking pace. But is this trend in jeopardy?

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Ebola
6:30 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Iowa Hospitals Prepare for Ebola

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is undergoing
Jon Favrel Flickr

Though there’s only been two cases in the United States, hospitals across the nation and across Iowa are preparing for the possibility of caring for Ebola patients.

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Medicine
11:09 am
Thu October 2, 2014

To Test or Not to Test

Kristen Powers discusses genetic testing with her father and her doctor.
Kristen Powers Official Twitch Trailer

If you inherited a deadly, incurable disease, would you want to know?

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News Buzz
3:33 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

New Compound Could Offer Protection Against Brain Injury

Wellcome Images (Creative Commons)

A new class of compounds has been shown to protect against brain damage caused by traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

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Healthcare
3:50 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Residency Opportunities Lacking for Young Doctors

Des Moines University's campus in Des Moines, Iowa
Wikimedia Commons

Medical schools are accepting more applicants into their programs, but training programs for doctors after medical school aren't keeping up. 

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Health
1:44 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Living with Parkinson's Disease: "It helps define who I am, but it's not a negative"

Emily Woodbury

Andrew Duarte was only 31 years old when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. One of the biggest questions he had was, “What can I expect?”

“And there’s not really a good answer for that,” he says.

Today on Talk of Iowa - living with Parkinson’s disease. Host Charity Nebbe sits down with two Parkinson's patients and a clinical researcher to talk about recent developments in Parkinson’s research and find out what it’s like to live with the disease.

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Medicine
4:27 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

News Buzz: Preventing Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia was previously difficult to detect until late in the pregnancy.
Ken Hammond Wikimedia Commons

Preeclampsia, a cardiovascular condition that affects expecting mothers and often causes premature births, kills 100,000 women worldwide every year. Previously, it’s been difficult to predict or prevent before the late stages of a pregnancy. But a few researchers at the University of Iowa may change that.

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Crime
3:39 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

News Buzz: Mackenzie Found Guilty

Benton Mackenzie, in a wheelchair, and his wife, Loretta, outside the courthouse Wednesday.
Brian Wellner Quad City Times

Last summer, a Long Grove resident was arrested after police found marijuana plants in his home. Benton Mackenzie claims his family grew the plants in order to treat a rare blood-vessel cancer. This past week, the jury reached a guilty verdict for Mackenzie, his wife and child.

Host Ben Kieffer talks with Brian Wellner, crime reporter for the Quad City Times, about the circumstances, outcome of the trial and why the jury couldn’t hear his primary defense.

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Health
1:19 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Iowa Doctor Receives Governor's Award for Work in Haiti

Dr. Christopher Buresh first visited Haiti in 2003. Today, he says he thinks about the trip every day. He’d been to India and Peru before going to Haiti but says the poverty he saw there was unique. “It really blew me away that this was a 90 minute plane flight from Miami.”

He talks about mountains of trash and plastic, and women who cut their umbilical cords with broken glass or a rock for lack of a clean blade.

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River to River: From the Archives
12:13 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Growing Old and Dying in Prison

Iowa Medical and Classification Center at the Oakdale Prison near Coralville.
Ben Stanton

Today we listen back to a show, part of Iowa Public Radio's corrections series last summer, about what it is like to grow old and die in prison.

We hear from an offender who works in a hospice program. He has helped 20 fellow inmates face the end of life behind bars. Host Ben Kieffer also talk with a 74-year-old inmate about growing old. We also tour a hospice room at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville.

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Crime, Justice and Public Safety
3:06 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Medical Billing Class-Action Suit

Zachary Korb

A class-action lawsuit that could involve thousands of Iowans has been filed against HealthPort Technologies.

The Georgia-based company is a medical records and billings statement provider.  The suit alleges HealthPort overcharges costumers for duplications of their medical records and billing statements.

The lead attorney for the plaintiffs is James Bisconglia of the Des Moines law firm LaMarca & Landry. Bisconglia says that Iowa Code limits the amount a consumer can be charged for a records request.

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2014 Legislative Session
2:04 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Governor Branstad to Sign Bills on Cannabis Oil and HIV Transmission, but REAP Funding in Question

Governor Terry Branstad
John Pemble IPR

A bill legalizing the possession and medical use of cannabis oil for epilepsy patients passed the Iowa House and Senate.  But will the Governor sign it?  In this News Buzz edition of the show, Host Ben Kieffer talks with Governor Terry Branstad about the loose ends from the 2014 legislative session and which bills will or will not gain his signature.

 

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2014 Legislative Session
4:20 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Session Ends, Campaigning Begins

The Iowa Capitol
John Pemble IPR

The Iowa Legislature adjourned last week and even though it’s an election year, lawmakers managed to get a few big items accomplished, including a $7-billion budget and a bill that decriminalizes some forms of medical marijuana in the state. At the same time, priority bills from the governor to crack down on schoolyard bullying and expand broadband to rural parts of the state failed.

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News
5:30 am
Fri May 2, 2014

In Medical Billing, Everyone Pays a Different Price

Karla Vaquerano-Serio (right) and Krystal Nichols are patient advocates at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

In a small room stuffed with cubicles at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, a team of patient advocates answers phones, enters data, and determines who is eligible for financial assistance.

When a patient at Mercy is faced with a hospital bill they can’t pay, they come here. Team leader Karla Vaquerano-Serio says many times, it’s only a matter of helping a patient sign up for a federal program they didn’t realize they qualified for.

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Health Care
4:21 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

The Influence of Insurance on Your Hospital Bill

Common hospital billing and insurance terms
Emily Woodbury, via Wordle

A trip to the emergency room is expensive, even for more routine procedures. Take for example, Ron Smith, an Indianola resident whose $24,240 bill for a rabies vaccination was negotiated down by $17,627 by his insurance company.

Today, the third installment in our examination of hospital costs. We find out how insurance negotiations play into how much you pay for that ER visit, how Iowa’s insurance landscape may change through the Affordable Care Act, and how the number of visits to the ER may be affected by Obamacare.

Today's guests include:

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Statehouse and Politics
8:04 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Iowa Lawmakers Expect to Adjourn this Week

Credit John Pemble / IPR

The predictions are out there that Iowa's legislative session will wrap up early this week. On Mondays we check in with IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell to make sense of everything going on up at the capitol.

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Statehouse and Politics
3:54 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Limited Medical Marijuana Bill Advances at Statehouse

Sally Gaer has lobbied lawmakers for a law that would allow her to use cannabis oil to treat her daughter's seizures.
John Pemble IPR

A senate subcommittee has approved a bill that would let the parents of children with a severe form of epilepsy go out of state to get an oil-based form of medical marijuana for their children.  The bill will be considered by a full senate committee sometime after five o'clock today. 

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Health Care
4:52 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Delivering Better and More Affordable Care to Emergency Room "Super-Users"

Dr. Joshua Pruitt at St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids
Durrie Bouscaren

Some Iowans visit hospital emergency rooms more than 15 times a year. They’re known as “frequent-flyers” or super-users of the ER. Today on River to River, how our system handles them.

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News
5:21 am
Thu April 10, 2014

How a Cedar Rapids Emergency Room Saved Millions, and What it Means for the Whole State

Theresa Brown, who is enrolled in the coordinated care program at St. Luke's, sits in her home in Cedar Rapids.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

Emergency Rooms are often the catch-all of the medical world, where patients can receive care at any hour, regardless of their ability to pay.

But physicians and hospital administrators say it’s an expensive and disjointed way for people to receive care, particularly when patients visit the ER multiple times a year.

A pilot program to manage care for ER ‘super users’ in Cedar Rapids is now in its third year—and administrators say it saves St. Luke’s Hospital about a million dollars annually.

Coordinating Care for Multiple Diagnoses

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Statehouse and Politics
6:35 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Branstad on Settlements, Medical Marijuana

Iowa Republican Governor Terry Branstad in the statehouse law library.
Credit John Pemble / IPR

Despite predictions for a speedy session in which nothing of substance was accomplished, the 2014 legislative session has had plenty of controversy.  Governor Terry Branstad was a guest on IPR’s River to River on Monday.

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Legislative Day
3:30 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Branstad on Medical Cannabis, Juvenile Home, and Secret Settlements

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad in the Captiol's Law Library.
Photo by John Pemble

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad would support a bill with limited medical uses for cannabis if it looks similar to legislation passed in Utah.  Host Clay Masters talks with Branstad about medical marijuana, the juvenile home, secret settlements, and more on this Legislative Day edition of River to River from the Law Library at the Iowa state capitol building.

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Legislative Day
2:48 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Shifting Views on Medical Cannabis in the Iowa Legislature

Sally Gaer is mother of a 24 year old diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome who says medical marijuana would help her daughter. She is standing in the Iowa Capitol Law Library, 3/31/2014
John Pemble

Views on medical marijuana appear to be shifting in the Iowa Senate and among the GOP.

Today on River to River - what this may mean for cannabis in Iowa moving forward.

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Health Care
8:07 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Behind the Numbers on Your Hospital Bill

Dr. Thomas Striegel treats a patient in the emergency room
Nick Oza The Arizona Republic

In the emergency room, the last thing you want to think about is what your bill is going to look like. But, weeks later you will receive a bill in the mail; and you might experience some sticker shock.

Today on River to River, we seek to answer your hospital billing questions. Questions like: why does an aspirin cost upwards of $15, when I can get a generic bottle at the drug store at 2 cents a pop?

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News
5:21 am
Thu March 27, 2014

The Murky World of Emergency Room Billing

Five months after a bicycle accident, Martha Norbeck wonders if some of the charges on her ER bill could have been avoided.
Durrie Bouscaren Iowa Public Radio

No matter how you slice it, medical care is expensive—especially in an emergency.

Martha Norbeck shuffles through paperwork as she looks back over her itemized hospital bill from a bike accident five months ago.

“Just to have the guy come to the ER to do my stitches was $460, the six stitches was $846… so that was $140 a stitch or something?” Norbeck muses. 

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Health
4:32 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Successful Kidney Donation Between Incompatible Donor-Recipient Pairs

Peter and Nerissa March are guests on Iowa Public Radio’s “Talk of Iowa”. Peter donated his kidney to a stranger and in turn his wife was able to receive a kidney from another stranger in the first kidney pair donation chain performed at Mercy Transplant.
John Pemble

Today on Talk of Iowa we listen back to a conversation from last year, where in a three day period, five people received kidney transplants thanks to something called a kidney paired transplant chain.

We find out about this life saving chain of generosity and talk to a transplant surgeon, donors and recipients of kidney transplants. Also, we learn about an organization called My Angel Foundation, a non-profit focused on inspiring Iowans to become registered organ, eye and tissue donors.

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Health
6:49 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Rural Iowa Cancer Care Challenges Highlighted in New Report

Credit asco.org

The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare is expected to provide millions more Americans with health insurance coverage. But a new report says the ACA alone may not solve disparities in cancer care. The University of Iowa partnered with the American Society of Clinical Oncology recently and released the State of Cancer Care in America: 2014. 

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Talk of Iowa
12:18 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Noonan: The Most Common Medical Syndrome You've Never Heard Of

Max is 6 and has Noonan syndrome
photo submitted

Noonan syndrome is a genetic condition.  The characteristic facial features include low set ears, widely spaced-eyes, bright blue or blue-green eyes, a low hairline at the back of the head, and multiple congenital problems like heart defects and an unusually shaped chest.

A person with Noonan syndrome is often short, has a broad or webbed neck, low set nipples, and bleeding problems.  Developmental delay or intellectual disability are also common.

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Health Care
4:38 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Ethical Questions Surrounding Brain Death

Garrett Brockway, who passed away from brain trauma a year ago and lives on through his organ donations
Courtesy of Brockway family

This winter, two stories gained national attention regarding brain-dead pregnant women and their unborn children. One husband kept his wife on life support until the baby was born, while the other husband fought to take his wife off life support.

Today on River to River, we discuss ethical questions in the emergency room. Host Ben Kieffer looks at these cases with medical professionals and with Iowans who have been through similar situations here in Iowa.

Today's guests include:

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Health
7:45 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Feds Approve Iowa's Medicaid Expansion Alternative - Mostly

Credit differentieel / Flickr

A months-long battle over health insurance for thousands of uninsured low-income Iowans has moved closer to resolution.  The federal government agreed to most of the plan Iowa adopted instead of  simply expanding Medicaid. But the feds say the poorest individuals should not have to pay premiums, as proposed under the Iowa plan.

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Health Care
2:45 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Health Insurance Updates

Christopher Penn

Two months after its disastrous launch, government officials say HealthCare.gov is now working 90 percent of the time and can handle the promised capacity of 50,000 users at any given time. Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer checks in with public policy experts, Pete Damiano and Dan Shane, as well as Wellmark's Blue Cross Blue Shield CFO David Brown. Then, Des Moines psychiatrist Dr. Joyce Vista-Wayne discusses the mental health provisions added to the Affordable Care Act.

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