Healthcare

 

Palliative is one of the newest medical fields to date. With a focus on holistic physical, mental, and emotional pain management and support, palliative care seeks to reevaluate the way pain is understood and treated in our medical system.

 

On this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with Dr. M.R. Rajagopal, an anesthesiologist and palliative care physician whose pioneering work around comprehensive pain management and patient support in India earned him a Nobel Peace Prize nomination this year.

Katie Peikes/IPR

Dentists from around the state gave free care to hundreds of people in Sioux City Friday. For many of the patients, it’s difficult to afford such care on a routine basis.

doctors office
Jennifer Morrow / flickr

The Iowa Farm Bureau released some information Wednesday about new health plans that are meant to be a cheaper alternative to health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

But the Farm Bureau plans, offered in partnership with Wellmark, don’t have to follow federal health insurance laws, which raises questions about consumer protections.

mike randol
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa’s Medicaid director said Tuesday he doesn’t know what is driving a recent increase in what the state is paying per Medicaid member.

Kim Spading, a member of the council that oversees the Iowa Department of Human Services, asked during a budget presentation why the per-member cost shot up in the past two years.

“This is the opposite of what we would’ve hoped for,” Spading said.

Todd Huffman / Creative Commons

 

Opioid-related deaths are on the rise in Iowa, and research suggests that needle exchanges may be effective in decreasing drug-related deaths.

 

Iowa Department of Public Health

From mumps and foodborne illness to Ebola and Zika, whenever there have been health threats in the news, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk has been there to inform Iowans. In a few days, she'll retire from her position as Medical Director at the Iowa Department of Public Health.

On this news buzz edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Quinlisk about her upcoming retirement and some highlights from her 24 years with the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Courtesy of Brad Anderson

As the founder of Above + Beyond Cancer, oncologist Dr. Richard Deming is used to treating patients, and going further to inspiring and encouraging cancer survivors as they challenge themselves physically as cyclists or mountain climbers.

But right now, Deming is finding himself on the other side of the treatment process, as he recovers from a serious bicycle accident that left him with a fractured collar bone, fractured shoulder blade, multiple fractured ribs, a punctured lung, and a lung contusion.

foxhoven
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Several days after the new fiscal year started July 1, Iowa has yet to finalize contracts with the companies that run its privatized Medicaid program.

This also happened last year. Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven told lawmakers in January negotiations would be completed in time for their budget process.

But lawmakers approved budgets more than two months ago without knowing how much the Medicaid program would cost.

Lorie Shaull

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s announcement that he will retire from the U.S. Supreme Court this summer has put into question the future of abortion rights in the United States.

Vaping360 via flickr creative commons / http://vaping360.com/cbd-oil-cannabidiol-hemp-oil/

The mayor of Cedar Rapids says his city is ready to capitalize on the state’s medical marijuana industry. That's after state officials awarded a license to the company Iowa Relief, LLC to build a cannabis manufacturing center in the city.

National Institute on Drug Abuse

A new addiction treatment clinic is now open in Burlington. The facility will offer medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, a somewhat controversial approach that pairs behavioral therapy with medication. Staff members behind the new center hope to counteract the stigma some drug users are facing. 

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Liliana Moreno

Days after her son Sergei died by suicide, Mary Neubauer and her husband Larry Loss, decided to publicly share their story.

“It was just heartbreaking for Larry and me, as his parents, to watch this vivacious funny loving outgoing kid just disintegrate in front of our eyes,” says Neubauer, “and no matter how much we helped, or how much we loved him, we just couldn’t stop it from happening.”

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Neubauer about her family’s struggle to get Sergei the mental health care he needed.

pills and money
Images Money / flickr

Iowans who buy their own health insurance will have more options for coverage under the Affordable Care Act next year, but the price of that coverage is still unclear.

Insurance premiums for plans under the Affordable Care Act spiked this year when only one company agreed to sell insurance in the state. That company is Medica, and it’s proposing more plan options for next year.

mike randol
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa’s Medicaid director Wednesday told the Council on Human Services the state’s privatized Medicaid program is saving money for taxpayers, but his explanation left questions unanswered.

Medicaid Director Mike Randol said the state is projected to save $140.9 million in the fiscal year that ends June 30, compared to what the state would have spent before its health care program for low income and disabled people was turned over to for-profit companies.

“I think it’s important to understand that regardless of the methodology, there are savings,” Randol said.

Francisco Osorio / Flickr

A new Iowa law banning physicians from performing most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected is being called the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation.

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer discusses the law with three state lawmakers who each have very different views, including a Democrat against the change, a Republican who voted for it, and a Republican who was one of six in his party who felt he couldn’t support the law.

UIHC

The Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa has been approved to use a new therapy that harnesses the immune system to treat specific forms of leukemia and lymphoma. Dr. George Weiner is director of the center and says the therapy shows great promise.

Country View Care Center / http://countryviewcc.com/contact-us/

Black Hawk County officials are considering two offers to take over the county-run nursing home. But some community members don’t want the center to be privatized.

oversight committee
Katarina Sostaric / IPR

Iowa lawmakers are looking into whether companies known as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are overcharging public entities for prescription drug benefits.

The House Oversight Committee heard testimony Wednesday from Ottumwa pharmacist Mark Frahm, who said he lost money on prescription drugs he provided to the Wapello County Jail.

Frahm said CVS Caremark charged the county about $5,000 for a month’s worth of drugs, but CVS Caremark only paid Frahm about $1,000 to provide those drugs.

iowa capitol
John Pemble/IPR

A bill to allow cheaper health plans that don’t comply with the federal Affordable Care Act passed the Iowa Senate Tuesday and is heading to the governor’s desk.

Supporters say the new plans—offered through a Farm Bureau partnership with Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield—would be a cheaper health care option for people who can’t pay the increasing price of insurance under the ACA.

“This bill is about getting those folks insured,” says Sen. Dan Zumbach, R-Ryan. “It’s a great investment.”

University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine / https://medicine.uiowa.edu/content/match-day-2017-medical-students-anticipate-residency-locations

For medical students in Iowa and throughout the country, Friday was Match Day. That's an anxiety-filled reveal ceremony where the soon-to-be graduates open sealed envelopes to find our where they'll do their residency training. The post-graduate programs are vital to earning a license to practice, and help determine if young doctors will stay in the state.

Mental Health Systems in Iowa

Feb 28, 2018
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode
Hey Paul Studios

In the aftermath of mass shootings, we often hear about the importance of mental health diagnoses and treatment.

On this edition of River to River, we explore the services being provided in Iowa and as well as the mental health needs of the state in the near future.

A recent Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows nearly three-quarters of Iowans believe the state’s mental-health system is in crisis or is a big problem.  

Sima Dimitric

With age and illness, taking care of necessary, day-to-day tasks can become impossible. Many elders who receive help are especially vulnerable to abuse from caretakers.

On this Talk of Iowa segment, Charity Nebbe chats with Celene Gogerty, Polk County Assistant Attorney, about what puts older adults at risk and how to prevent abuse.

“Nationalized studies have indicated that 10% of elders will be abused,” Gogerty says. Still, only about 4% of elder abuse is reported.  

doctors office
Jennifer Morrow / flickr

Funding for clinics that serve low-income and uninsured Iowans hangs in the balance as Congress considers another short-term spending bill to avoid a government shutdown Friday.

legislative leaders
Clay Masters / IPR

Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, says the state’s privatized Medicaid system needs to be "in a better position" before the end of the upcoming legislative session.

Iowa’s handover of its Medicaid system to private companies in 2016 has led to patients losing services and providers losing payment.

Mercy College of Health Sciences

The push to prepare more nurses to fill a growing shortage within the profession is resulting in another educational collaboration. This joint venture involves two private colleges in Des Moines.

pills in a bottle
nosheep / Pixabay

The Iowa Board of Pharmacy has filed a bill that would help fill gaps in the state’s system for tracking prescription opioid suppliers in an effort to identify patients who might be abusing prescription painkillers.

Pharmacies currently have to submit information to the Iowa prescription monitoring program (PMP) when they dispense opioids. The pharmacy board’s bill would require prescribers who supply opioids to also add that information to the PMP.

Iowa Caregivers

A new report is praising Iowa as one of three states developing solutions to the problem of a shortage of direct care workers. Advocates for caregivers in the state say they need legislative support to enact them.

doctors office
Jennifer Morrow / flickr

More than 56,000 Iowans are enrolled in an individual health insurance plan for 2018 through the Affordable Care Act, according to Medica, the only insurance company left on Iowa's ACA exchange. 

An Iowa Insurance Division spokesman says that number is, "roughly in line with the 18,000 to 22,000 [consumers] we expected to leave the market." 

UnityPoint Health

UnityPoint Health is about to make available in Cedar Falls a medical clinic with dedicated service hours for LGBTQ patients. It will be a first-of-its-kind within the hospital chain.

Beginning right after the first of the year, the UnityPoint clinic on Prairie Parkway in Cedar Falls will offer evening hours for LGBTQ patients two Wednesdays a month. Dr. Eric Neverman, a specialist in pediatrics and internal medicine,  will help staff the clinic. He and the rest of the providers there have completed what’s called Safe Zone training.

foxhoven
John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

Iowa Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven says the state can fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) into April.

Congress has yet to renew federal funding for the program, which is called hawk-i in Iowa. It provides health insurance for about 60,000 kids from low and moderate income families in the state.

Foxhoven says he thinks CHIP will be reauthorized, but he says Congress has been unpredictable.

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