healthcare

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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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
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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Health
7:09 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Iowa Insurance Commissioner: Obamacare Rollout "Bumpy," But Will Get Better

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart says the rollout of the Affordable Care Act has been "bumpy," but he's been told the online marketplace will be fixed by the end of the month.
Credit 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.

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River to River
1:26 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Politics Day

U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack (D.-Iowa) speaks to Iowa veterans at the National World War II Memorial as part of the Oct. 18, 2013 Eastern Iowa Honor Flight.
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?

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Health
7:21 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Iowa's Older Workers Struggle to Sign Up for Obamacare

Terry LaBelle, 57, of Altoona, cares for her granddaughter and several other young children in her home daycare center.
Credit 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.

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Health
4:36 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Sorting Out The Affordable Care Act in Iowa

Credit flickr creative commons

 

   October 1 is an important milestone in the rollout of health reform. The new insurance marketplace – where Iowans can select health coverage – goes live on October 1st. Iowa Public Radio’s Sarah McCammon and Clay Masters have an overview of what to expect on the health exchange.

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Health
9:54 am
Tue April 30, 2013

County Jails Struggle to Treat Mental Health Issues

Just about everyone – from the National Rifle Association to the American Civil Liberties Union — agrees that the mental health system in this country is broken. In Iowa, many local sheriffs say that means their county jails have become way stations for people with mental illness. Iowa Public Radio’s Sandhya Dirks reports on what can happen when county jails are tasked with caring for the mentally ill.

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Statehouse and Politics
6:08 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Legislative Preview: 03/18/13

Credit John Pemble / IPR

IPR's Joyce Russell and Sarah McCammon check in on news from the Iowa Statehouse.

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Statehouse and Politics
5:10 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Senate Democrats Unveil Plan to Expand Medicaid with Opt-Out Option

Flanked by Senator Jack Hatch (left D-Des Moines) Senate Majority leader Mike Gronstal (right D-Council Bluffs) talks with reporters about the Democrats' Medicaid expansion plan on March 14, 2013.
Credit Clay Masters / IPR

Democrats in the Iowa senate say they’re extending an olive branch to Republican Governor Terry Branstad regarding their proposal to expand Medicaid in the state. The governor is opposed to expanding the joint federal state healthcare program for the poor mainly because he doesn’t believe the feds can continue to pay for it. Democrats are offering an opt-out provision in case federal funding levels would change.

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