Health, Medicine & Nutrition
It might not be the flu - RSV levels on the rise PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Claire Orphan   
Tuesday, 29 January 2013 14:33

Flu season is wreaking havoc around the country, and yet another seasonal illness, respiratory syncytial virus or RSV, appears to be peaking in Illinois. In fact, according to CDC surveillance data, almost all states are reporting epidemic levels, including:

  • AZ – 25%
  • CA – 39%
  • FL – 12%
  • GA – 29%
  • IL – 23%
  • LA – 27%
  • NY – 15%
  • OH – 39%
  • TX – 29%

RSV is considered having reached epidemic levels once rates of positive cases are at or above 10% for two consecutive weeks.


It’s a virus that’s often mistaken for a common cold, but this highly prevalent, easily-spread illness can be devastating and it’s affecting young infants across the country.  It’s called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and if contracted, it can bring serious complications to young infants, particularly to preemies whose underdeveloped lungs and immature immune systems make it harder to fight off the infection. In fact, RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization—about 125,000 each year—and is responsible for approximately 10 times more infant deaths each year than the flu.

According to the CDC, “RSV season” typically runs from November through March. All children can contract RSV, and nearly 100% of babies do by age two. Unfortunately, there is no cure for RSV, so prevention is key to protecting against this virus, which is highly contagious, particularly among children. For instance, daycare and pre-schools are common areas where children can contract RSV, but there are steps daycare providers and parents can take to help protect children.

Frequent washing of hands, toys, play areas and bedding is important, as RSV can live for several hours on surfaces such as countertops, doorknobs and tissues. Other preventative measures include keeping children away from those who are sick and never letting anyone smoke around the baby. Although RSV can be mild in many children, it’s best to air on the side of caution for the sake of other children. Parents of children who have cold-like symptoms should keep them home from daycare, to avoid exposing other children (especially those who may be at high-risk) from potentially dangerous germs.

Nationally recognized RSV expert Dr. Ram Yogev, MD of Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is available to answer common RSV questions and talk about how it impacts children and their families:

·         What is RSV, and what are the risk factors for developing severe RSV disease?

·         What symptoms should parents look for and flag for their child’s pediatrician?

·         What can parents do to try to prevent their child from contracting RSV?

·         How can parents help keep their child from spreading germs and illnesses to other children?

Iowa Health Care Providers and Consumer Advocates Call Upon State Leaders to Expand Medicaid Coverage for Iowans PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Richard Swearinger   
Tuesday, 29 January 2013 14:23
DES MOINES — Today 48 of Iowa’s influential health providers, consumer and patient advocates, and faith groups
joined together to ask Iowa’s state leaders to expand Medicaid health coverage for hardworking Iowans who make
annually make up to 133 percent of federal poverty level, or $25,390 per year for a family of three.

The groups supporting expansion include the Iowa Hospital Association, the Iowa Medical Society, AARP, the American
Cancer Society CAN, the Iowa Catholic Conference, and the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church.

“The Iowa Hospital Association supports Medicaid expansion for the simple reason that insuring more Iowans
is good for everyone, whether you provide health care, have your own insurance, own a business or just want
Iowa to be a better and more prosperous place,” said Kirk Norris, IHA President and CEO. “IHA is proud
to join with nearly 50 other prominent and powerful Iowa groups in calling upon our state leaders to enact
Medicaid Expansion under the parameters of the ACA.”

Norris explained that while the organizations have not organized as a formal coalition, it is significant that this
broad range of diverse organizations have joined together with the common goal of expanding Medicaid in
Iowa. He said each group offers a unique perspective on the issue and will continue to implement their own
strategy for engaging on Medicaid Expansion. “It is our differences and unique perspectives that make our
shared message so powerful, and we hope our state leaders will set aside their differences and come together
on this issue that directly affects the health and quality of care of low-income Iowans and the Iowans who
provide that care. ”

“Iowans expect our leaders to come together on solutions for improving health care in Iowa, and expanding
Medicaid is a necessary piece of that puzzle,” said AARP State President, Tony Vola.

Vola noted that approximately 17,204 Iowans who are uninsured and would be eligible for Medicaid
Expansion are between the ages of 50-64.

“Expanding Medicaid will reduce costly emergency visits, and catch and treat at an earlier stage our growing
epidemic of chronic disease in Iowa, which becomes a bigger problem as we age. It will help Iowans who’ve
lost their jobs or are struggling in jobs without health benefits get access to quality and preventive care so that
they can be healthier and more productive,” added Vola.

“Increased health care coverage is the gateway to reducing the cancer burden in Iowa,” said John McCalley,
Midwest Advocacy Leader for American Cancer Society CAN. “The American Cancer Society Cancer Action
Network strongly encourages policy makers to accept the federal money to cover more people and save
taxpayer dollars by fully expanding Medicaid. Our poll last month showed that 57% of Iowa voters support
accepting federal funds already allocated to provide health care coverage by expanding Medicaid, while only
27% thought Iowa should turn it down."

“At their core, health care choices are not just political, technical, or economic, but also moral,” said Tom
Chapman, Executive Director of the Iowa Catholic Conference. “Good health is a benefit that needs to be
defended and guaranteed for all people, not just for those who can afford it.”

“The Iowa Catholic Conference supports making health care more readily available and affordable to all
Iowans. The expansion of Medicaid is a welcome step in that direction. We look forward to working with
legislators as they make important choices on how to strengthen and improve health care in the state,” added

The following Iowa groups call upon our Iowa state leaders to expand Medicaid to Iowa residents with incomes up to
133 percent of the federal poverty level as set forth in the Affordable Care Act, in order to provide and compensate for
an efficient and cost effective health care delivery system for low income Iowans who are in need of, but currently lack
adequate and accessible health care coverage.

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
AFSCME Iowa Council 61
American Heart Association
AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy)
Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa
CHAIN (Community HVI/Hepatitis Advocates of Iowa Network)
Community Health Charities Iowa
Communications Workers of America Iowa State Council
Easter Seals Iowa
Epilepsy Foundation of Iowa
Every Child Counts (Child and Family Policy Center Initiative)
HCI Care Services (formerly Hospice of Central Iowa)
Hospice & Palliative Care Association of Iowa
Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans
Iowa Alliance in Home Care
Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging
Iowa Care Givers Association
Iowa Catholic Conference
Iowa Citizen Action Network (ICAN)
Iowa Community Action Association
Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council
Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
Iowa Hospital Association
Iowa Human Needs Advocates
Iowa Medical Society
Iowa Mental Health Planning Council
Iowa Nurses Association
Iowa Occupational Therapy Association
Iowa Olmstead Consumer Task Force
Iowa Public Health Association
Iowa Primary Care Association
Iowa Psychological Association
Iowa Statewide Independent Living Council
League of Women Voters of Iowa
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Iowa Chapter
Mercy Health Network
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Greater Des Moines
National Association of Social Workers, Iowa Chapter
National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Upper Midwest Chapter
Polk County
Progressive Action for the Common Good
Progress Iowa
Results (The Power to End Poverty)
South Central Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa

Anthony Carroll
John McCalley
Marcia Nichols
Stacy Frelund
Teresa Bomhoff
Geoff Lauer
Eileen Fisher
Tami Haught
Jim Swanstrom
Midge Slater
Sherri Nielsen
Vic Verni
Danielle Oswald-Thole
Katie McIntyre
Rebecca Anthony
Midge Slater
Greg Boattenhamer
Naomi Sea Young Wittstruck
Mike Issacson
John Hale
Tom Chapman
Sue Dinsdale
Lana Ross
Rik Shannon
Charlie Wishman
Greg Boattenhamer
Kelli Soyer
Lucinda Stephenson
Teresa Bomhoff
Pam Deichmann
Peggy Parker
Geoff Lauer
Jeneane Moody
Tori Squires
Greg Febbraro
Dawn Francis
Bonnie Pitz
Wendy Sontag
Sara Eide
Teresa Bomhoff
Kelli Soyer
Dan Johnson
Tom Hockensmith
Karen Metcalf
Matt Sinovic
Jos Linn
Mark Cooper
Mary O’Brien

Phone number

About AARP

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control
in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or
make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+
Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for
AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+
Hispanic community; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and
empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all
50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

About the Iowa Hospital Association

The Iowa Hospital Association is a voluntary membership organization representing hospital and health system interests to business,
government and consumer audiences. All 118 community hospitals in Iowa, with more than 70,000 employees and a $6.2 billion
impact on the state's economy, are IHA members.

Communities Reducing Readmissions PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Deb Innis   
Monday, 28 January 2013 16:36

West Des Moines, Iowa - When Medicare patients make an unplanned return to the hospital it delays their recovery, exposes them to infection, costs taxpayers money and consumes health care resources. The approach Iowa communities are taking to improve the transition between hospital and post-hospital care has been validated by research in the January 23, 2013 edition of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The article describes projects in communities in 14 states that produced an average 6% decrease in hospitalizations and re-hospitalizations over two years. This CMS QIO project formed the foundation for Telligen's current care transitions work.

"Our data show that nearly one in five patients who leave the hospital today will be re-admitted within the next month, and that more than three-quarters of these re-admissions are potentially preventable," said Dr. Patrick Conway, CMS Chief Medical Officer and Center for Clinical Standards & Quality Director. "This situation can be changed by approaching health care quality from a community-wide perspective, and focusing on how everyone who touches a patient's life-whether part of the traditional 'health care team' or not-can better work together in the best interests of their shared patient population to prevent hospitalizations."

Telligen is working with communities focused on reducing avoidable hospital readmissions. Following the model described in the JAMA study, this work brings together consumers, hospitals, nursing homes, physician clinics, home health care, pharmacists and social service agencies.

"In our complex health care system people rely on many providers and services, so shared, local effort is important," said Kate LaFollette, Telligen Sr. QI Facilitator. "Communities are breaking down organizational boundaries to do what is best for the patient."

Telligen helps communities discover the reasons behind the readmissions rates. Medical research and best practices are identified and tailored to meet the community's needs. Telligen works with community partners to analyze data to gauge progress and impact.

Telligen's efforts are part of a national project to transform health care in more than 400 communities across the country. Called "Integrating Care for Populations and Communities," the project is part of the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization Program.

More details about this national effort are online at

About the QIO Program: The QIO Program is a major force and trustworthy partner for the continual improvement of health and healthcare for all Americans. The program achieves national health quality goals through a network of 53 QIOs located in every state, territory and the District of Columbia. QIOs bring together patients, providers, practitioners and other stakeholders to improve patient care, improve population and community health and lower the costs of care through improvement.

About Telligen: For over 40 years, Telligen has been dedicated to the delivery of innovative health management solutions that improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of healthcare for consumers and providers. Telligen serves commercial clients and government programs at the federal, state and local level, improving healthcare for millions of people nationwide. For more information, visit us at


Warped by Your Family? Join the Club PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 14:04
Psychiatrist Offers Tips to Overcome Common Issues

At the heart of almost all of his patients’ problems, says psychiatrist Gary Malone, are issues that stem from the family that raised them creating problems in the family they’ve started.

“Almost all of us deal with this to some degree or another. Very few families are idyllic,” says Malone, a distinguished fellow in the American Psychiatric Association, and coauthor with his sister Susan Mary Malone of “What’s Wrong with My Family?”  (

“Forget ‘Leave it to Beaver.’ Normal families are more like ‘The Twilight Zone.’ ”

Despite that, most of us manage to lead happy, productive lives.

“Once we recognize the childhood baggage we’ve carried into adulthood, we can take steps to compensate, make corrections, and change how we raise our own children,” Malone says.

These are some of the qualities of a healthy family, and what you can do if that quality was missing or in short supply as you were growing up:

• Shows love: Family is usually the one place and time in life that a person experiences unconditional love. If you did not receive that as a child, you likely have difficulty loving and valuing yourself. There is no substitute for loving yourself; this issue is the No. 1 cause of unhappiness in adult relationships. The first step in healing is recognizing the damage and being willing to believe your feelings of unworthiness are not based in reality but are the product of a deficit likely handed down through generations in your family. Listen to what you tell yourself – if it’s things like, “I’m an idiot” and “I am really messed up,” change that self talk. Words are powerful!

• Respects autonomy: Individuals in the family are encouraged to develop their own personal identity and separate from the family while maintaining a role within it. The family supports and even cheers on individuals in their personal quests. Children who are not allowed the freedom to express and explore their identities may become adults who develop co-dependent relationships – wherein they put the needs of others before their own and/or are dependent on the control of others. Ways to begin addressing autonomy issues as an adult include learning how to comfortably spend time alone, pursuing interests (whether or not they are valued by friends and family) by taking classes or joining clubs, and boosting self-esteem through positive self talk.

• Creates structure & boundaries: Parents are the keepers of the rules; they provide structure for children, both to protect them and to foster learning and growth. People who grow up with little or no structure may fail to offer structure to their own children – or overreact and be too rigid. Provide structure and consistency by setting up routines that everyone in the family is expected to follow daily, with occasional exceptions. These might include making your bed in the morning; daily chores; a set dinnertime, with everyone at the table; and “together” time, such as a game night.

About Dr. Gary Malone, M.D. & Susan Mary Malone

Dr. Gary Malone is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern and a teaching analyst at the Dallas Psychoanalytic Institute. He is a distinguished fellow in the American Psychiatric Association with board certifications in general and addiction psychiatry. He has worked in hospitals and private practices for more than 30 years. Dr. Malone is director of Adult Chemical Dependency Services at Millwood Hospital in Arlington, Texas.

Award-winning writer and editor Susan Mary Malone is the author of the novel, “By the Book,” and three nonfiction books, including “Five Keys for Understanding Men: A Women’s Guide.” More than 40 of the book projects she has edited were purchased by traditional publishing houses. She is Dr. Malone’s siste

The 2013 Legislative session kicked off this week and we started with a bang. PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Cassandra Furlong   
Monday, 21 January 2013 09:50

Monday began with a press conference with Rep. Bruce Braley at the Capitol where he rolled out his End Radon in Schools Act. This bill would require testing for radon in our schools and provide funding for mitigation.

Wednesday, 60 lawmakers and 18 volunteers attended our annual Legislative Breakfast at the Capitol.  They had some great discussions around our priorities of prevention, early detection and access to care. I want to thank everyone who helped make it a huge success!

But the good news doesn’t stop there! One of our top priority bills, radon, was introduced in the Senate on Wednesday.  Next, it heads to the Senate State Government Committee. We need your help to make sure this important piece of legislation makes it to the Senate floor for debate, so be looking for a call to action soon.

If you are interested in attending any legislative forums or meetings in your area, please let us know.  We know that with your help, we can make huge strides in the fight against cancer in Iowa this session.

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