Health, Medicine & Nutrition
How to Navigate a Cancer Diagnosis PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 21 June 2013 09:19
Pioneering Psychotherapist Shares Strategies for Managing
Anxiety & Maintaining Emotional Wellness

Unlike many of the most important events in one’s life – graduation, marriage, having a child – almost no one anticipates a cancer diagnosis.

This year, nearly 239,000 U.S. men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than 232,000 women will learn they have breast cancer, according the American Cancer Society. Over their lifetimes, nearly half of all men can expect a cancer diagnosis, and more than a third of women.*

“Thankfully, we now have many tools for detecting cancers early and treating them successfully. But learning you have cancer remains one of life’s most frightening and stressful experiences,” says cancer psychotherapist Dr. Niki Barr, author of “Emotional Wellness, The Other Half of Treating Cancer,” (

“Developing ways to help patients address their emotional well-being throughout their medical journey, still lag behind medical advances, but physicians and psychologists recognize that healing improves when both the physical and emotional needs of patients are served.”

In her years of clinical practice working exclusively with cancer patients and their loved ones, Barr developed an Emotional Wellness Toolbox that patients stock with what Barr has found to be the most effective tools.

Here are some of her tools for managing anxiety – a normal and emotionally healthy response to a cancer diagnosis, but one that can spiral out of control.

• Catch your anxious thoughts. Stop anxious thoughts – thoughts about fear, unease and worry -- before they lead to anxiety. Start by writing your thoughts down on individual note cards and identifying the first one that’s leading to you feeling anxious.  Then the next one. When you’ve identified all of your anxious thoughts, go back to the first one and, on the card, write a new thought that will not make you feel anxious. It should be a thought that is confident and empowering. Continue down the list and do the same for each anxious thought.

• Erase ‘what if’ thinking. What if the cancer has spread? What if the treatment doesn’t work? One ‘what if’ leads to another and often spirals into anxiety. Be aware when you start asking ‘what if’ and instead ask yourself, “Is this thought helping me or hurting me?” and “Is this thought moving me forward or backward?”

• Ground yourself. Interrupt a chain of anxious thoughts by focusing on details around you. Look at the color of the walls in the room you’re in; take in the pictures on the walls, the books on the shelves and the titles on their spines; look at the person you’re talking to, the color of their eyes, the clothes she’s wearing. Being very focused on external details can derail anxious thoughts.

• Use distraction. Choose a favorite place and visit it. Absorb everything about it – the colors, smells, any people involved, the sounds, tastes, how it feels. Build it up very clearly in your mind, going over and over it, so it can become a distraction tool. When you’re waiting for a medical test or procedure, undergoing a procedure, or any other time you need to “be” somewhere else, call up your distraction and visit.

Other tools for your box include meditation CDs that use guided imagery; favorite music CDs; and a journal to record your thoughts and feelings.

“Being able to manage your anxiety enables you to move forward through cancer whether patient, caregiver or family member,” Barr says.  "Don't tell yourself you can't handle whatever you're going through. Yes, you can ... five minutes at a time.”

*The data does not include non-melanoma skin cancers, the most common diagnosis.

About Niki Barr, Ph.D. (@NikiBarrPhD)

Niki Barr, Ph.D. founded a pioneering psychotherapy practice dedicated to working with cancer patients in all stages of the disease, along with their family members, caregivers and friends. In her book, she describes an "emotional wellness toolbox" patients can put together with effective and simple strategies, ready to use at any time, for helping them move forward through cancer. Dr. Barr is a dynamic and popular speaker, sharing her insights with cancer patients and clinicians across the nation.

Discount prescription drug program, hospital executive bonuses PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Thursday, 20 June 2013 14:42
Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has been looking into how hospitals are using a discount prescription drug program, known as 340B.  Certain hospitals appear to be making sizeable profits from the program at the expense of Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance.  An in-depth report from Kaiser Health News this month explored financial bonuses given to the leaders of several non-profit hospital systems for reasons including expansion of hospital operations.  Grassley staff research found that each system except for one discussed in the articles has at least one 340B-eligible hospital.  One of the medical systems in the Kaiser Health News coverage, Carolinas HealthCare System, was among three North Carolina hospital systems Grassley looked at as part of his interest in the 340B program.  Grassley made the following comment on 340B eligibility and hospital executive bonuses.

“Hospitals eligible for the 340B program are supposed to have a high indigent patient population.  If some 340B-eligible hospitals have significant money available for executive bonuses, that raises questions about how they allocate their resources.  Are they doing everything possible to help uninsured patients receive health care, including affordable prescription drugs?  I intend to continue looking into how hospitals are using the 340B program and how their uses affect other programs in the health care system.”

The Kaiser Health News project on hospital executive bonuses is available here.  Grassley’s earlier correspondence with the federal agency in the charge of the 340B program, the Health Resources and Services Administration, is available here and here.  Grassley’s letter to HRSA citing the three N.C. hospitals is available here. Grassley’s letters from the three hospitals are available here, here, and here.  Proprietary drug pricing information is redacted in some instances. Grassley’s follow-up letter to the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte is available here.


Genesis Schedules Three CarFit Education Events PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Craig Cooper   
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 08:29

DAVENPORT, Iowa – June 18, 2013 – Genesis will offer three CarFit events this summer for older drivers.

CarFit is a national educational program that offers older adults the opportunity to evaluate how well their personal vehicles "fit" them.  Health professionals work with older drivers and review 12 key areas to ensure
they "fit" their vehicle properly for maximum safety.  A CarFit check takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.

The three Genesis CarFit events coming up are scheduled for:

Wednesday, July 10 – Event will be held from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at Genesis Medical Center, East Rusholme Street, Davenport.

Thursday, August 8 – Event will be held from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., at Genesis Medical Center, Illini Campus.

Saturday, September 14 – Event will be held from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., at Genesis Medical Center, East Rusholme Street, Davenport.

Older drivers are often the safest drivers because they're more likely to wear their seatbelts and less likely to speed or drink and drive, statistics show.  However, they are also more likely to be seriously injured in a crash because their bodies are more fragile.

"Older drivers can improve their safety by ensuring their cars are properly adjusted for them," said Gretchen Cluff, an Occupational Therapist at Genesis and a Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist.  "A proper fit in their car can greatly increase not only the driver's safety but also the safety of others.

"Once seniors arrive for their check, they will asked basic information and then we will evaluate how they fit in their car. For example, are they sitting too close to the airbag?  Are their mirrors adjusted appropriately to maximize their view?  Is their seat in the best position to reach the brake and gas pedals?

"We can only make recommendations and can't touch or change anything for liability reasons.  We can, however, provide the senior drivers with important information that could increase their driving safety."

Three examples underscore the importance of road safety to the CarFit program:

• Knowing how to properly adjust one's mirrors can greatly minimize blind spots for drivers when changing lanes.

• Good foot positioning on the gas and brake pedals is important. Drivers who reach with their toes to press on the pedals can cause fatigue in their legs and slow reaction time.

• Drivers run a risk of serious injury if they are sitting closer than 10 inches from the steering wheel.

Other CarFit events have shown that more than one-third of seniors had at least one critical safety issue.  One in 10 sat too close to the steering wheel, and 20 percent did not have a line of sight at least 3 inches over the steering wheel.

Genesis offers the only hospital-based driver's evaluation program in eastern Iowa with a Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist.

To reserve a time for an evaluation at either upcoming CarFit event, call (563) 421-1480.


Gov. Branstad to sign Iowa Health and Wellness Plan Thursday in Mason City PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 07:51

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad today announced he will sign Senate File 446, which contains the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan, on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 9 the Mason City Clinic in Mason City, Iowa.

The Iowa Health and Wellness plan will make Iowa a national leader for patient outcomes and quality of care for low-income individuals. The plan is designed to protect Iowa from federal budget cuts in the future, increases the number of Iowans on private insurance, and will provide $48 million in property tax savings in the first full year of implementation.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

9 a.m. Gov. Branstad signs Iowa Health and Wellness Plan into law

Mason City Clinic - Atrium, 250 South Crescent Drive, Mason City, IA

Note: The Mason City Clinic is on the Mercy Hospital campus with the main entrance facing east.

Senate File 446: An Act relating to appropriations for health and human services and including other related provisions and appropriations, providing penalties, and including effective, retroactive and applicability date provisions.


Blood Donation Opportunities PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ben Corey   
Monday, 17 June 2013 14:55

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