Healthcare

John Pemble/IPR file photo

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.

 

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.

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.

Vinoth Chandar

Death can be scary, difficult and painful, but it can also be a healing and beautiful process. How does one have a "good death?"

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:

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.

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. 

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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:

A new U.S. State Department report raises no major environmental objections to the possible construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, but the report is being treated differently by Democrats and Republicans.  That and other political news; analysts for this Politics Day include Steffen Schmidt from Iowa State University and Bruce Nesmith from Coe College.

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.

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.

European Parliament

How likely are you to donate blood? Are you more motivated if you were given something in exchange for donating? A t-shirt? Maybe an umbrella?  How about a 15-dollar gift card?  On this River to River, Ben Kieffer talks a little about how our behavior is affected by the financial incentive to donate. But also the larger picture of how blood is processed, and how blood centers work to reduce the risks for recipients.  

Rusty Blazenhoff

Illinois recently became the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana. And, some in Iowa are pushing for a similar initiative. Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer sits down with Iowa patients and families who believe cannabis to be an effective medicine for their suffering. He talks with medical professionals about the benefits and the concerns of using the drug as medicine. And, State Senator Joe Bolkcom and Iowa’s drug policy coordinator Steve Lukan give a preview of how this issue will play out in the upcoming Iowa legislative session.

Broadlawns Medical Center

Even if the rollout of the federal health law had gone off without a technical hitch, getting millions of Americans to sign up for insurance would still be a tall order. That’s why the law includes funding for workers trained to help people find their way around the new system. But in rural states like Iowa, with populations spread across hundreds of miles, those workers face an especially daunting challenge.

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee

While support to reduce prison sentences has been growing, Iowa State University sociologist Matt DeLisi recently testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that for certain offenders this would be a mistake. 

LinkedIn

November 1 marks a month since the launch of the federal health insurance marketplace under Obamacare.  

As has been widely reported, the website has been plagued by problems from the start, and many Americans area struggling to get information.

Politics Day

Oct 23, 2013
Ben Kieffer / Iowa Public Radio

President Obama has vowed to fix the Affordable Care Act's online insurance exchanges after an embarrassing launch, but what of the pending political fallout?

Also, will U.S. Rep. Steve King (R.-Iowa) have a challenger within the Republican Party for his seat next November and what are U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R.-Texas) prospects for a 2016 presidential run?

Ben Stanton/Iowa Public Radio

Join host Ben Kieffer to examine the technical issues surrounding the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and answer questions about the law itself, including its requirements and the process of enrolling in the health insurance exchanges online.

Sarah McCammon / Iowa Public Radio

As we continue our look at the rollout of Obamacare in Iowa, we now turn to the implications of the new law for seniors. One of the key tenets of health reform is making coverage more accessible, by requiring everyone to get insurance – and spreading the risk among the young and old, the healthy and the sick.  Experts say this means some younger, healthier workers will now pay more for their insurance. But for some older Iowans not yet eligible for Medicare, the rates will be within reach for the first time.

Clay Masters / IPR

  Many millennials, those born in the 1980s and 1990s, graduated from college or entered the workforce right at the height of the housing crisis, making it hard to find entry level work. Now many from that generation face a new challenge... paying for healthcare. 

"If you’re either a young individual or a company that employs primarily young people – the impact is going to be greatest on that group," said Rick DeBartolo, a Senior Vice President at LMC Insurance in Des Moines. "That would suggest to a person you’re going to see a significant premium increase.”

Euan Slorach

When Henrietta Lacks died in 1951, her family had no idea that her cells would live on indefinitely…multiplying to the extent that laid together, they could wrap around the Earth at least 3 times. Today on River To River - the immortal life of Henrietta Lacks. Host Ben Kieffer talks with Lacks’ grandson about Henrietta's legacy. Her grandson, David Lacks Jr., will speak tonight in Iowa City as part of the Iowa City Book Festival.

John Sonderman

Representative Steve King of Iowa’s 4th Congressional district has come to the fore in the current debate over the Affordable Care Act and the partial government shutdown.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with University Professor of Political Science at Iowa State University,  Steffen Schmidt, and the Joan and Abbott Lipsky Professor of Political Science at Coe College, Bruce Nesmith about Congressman King and how far he and other Republican representatives are willing to go in pursuit of the end of Obamacare.

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