Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Inspector General Releases Iowa City VA Report PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Thursday, 30 August 2012 07:37

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Senator Chuck Grassley gave the following statement after the Inspector General for the Department of Veterans Affairs released a report on a “Review of Quality of Care, Management, and Operations” of the Iowa City VA Health Care System.  Grassley requested the report after employees and patients contacted his office with serious allegations at the facility that were cause for concern about the direction of the facility and its impact on patient care. Nearly 1,000 employees responded to the Inspector General’s survey request.  The Inspector General also conducted two site visits during its review.  The Inspector General will be conducting follow-up inquiries in October to determine if improvement has been made.

The Inspector General’s report can be found here.  Grassley’s original letter requesting a review can be found here.

“I appreciate the whistleblowers’ willingness to come forward and alert me to these problems.  Veterans deserve the highest quality of care, and we needed to make sure the high quality that we’ve come to know from the Iowa City VA hospital was still being delivered.  The good news is that while the Iowa City VA facility has serious management problems to address, our veterans are receiving stellar care thanks to the hard work of the hospital’s ‘highly competent professional staff.’  The key for the management is to immediately take steps to address the problems laid out by the Inspector General before patient care is impacted.  There are several actions recommended in the report that the leaders of the hospital can take to help rectify the problems that were identified.  I strongly suggest the senior management take the conclusion and recommendations of the review to heart and make substantive changes.”

Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Thornton to Host Virtual Office Hours to Discuss How USDA is Making the School Day Healthier for America’s Students PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 15:07

WASHINGTON, August 28, 2012 – TOMORROW at 1 pm EDT, Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Janey Thornton will host a live Twitter chat focusing on the new nutrition standards for school meals to kick off USDA’s “The School Day Just Got Healthier” back to school campaign.

Ask the Deputy Under Secretary about USDA’s school meals programs and its work to make the school day healthier. She played a key role in bringing these changes to fruition and this is a great opportunity to touch base with a national leader in school meal services. The new standards, established under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, ensure students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week; substantially increase offerings of whole grain-rich foods and low-fat or fat-free milk; limit calories based on the age of children being served to ensure proper portion size; and focus on reducing the amounts of saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.

Submit your “The School Day Just Got Healthier” related questions in advance to the @USDA Twitter account using the hashtags #AskUSDA and #SchoolFoodsRule.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

1 p.m. EDT

WHAT: USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Thornton will answer questions about the new nutrition standards for school meals.

WHERE: Tune in online by following the @USDA Twitter account. Use hashtags #askUSDA and #SchoolFoodsRule to submit questions in advance and during the live Twitter chat.


USDA Virtual Office Hours, a monthly live question and answer series allows stakeholders to directly engage with USDA leadership and subject matter experts-through Twitter. Sessions will be focused on a specific mission, issue or program, as aligned with the Department’s strategic goals and based on stakeholder interests.



Genesis Wellness Program Earns National Recognition PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Craig Cooper   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 14:36

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- August 27, 2012 -- Genesis Health System has been recognized by Wellness Councils of America (WELLCOA) as a national leader in employee wellness.

Genesis has received a Gold Award, which recognizes organizations developing comprehensive programs producing results. Criteria for each designation is based on progressive development and implementation of an organization's wellness initiative within the context of seven critical benchmarks.

Genesis Health System is one of 25 Gold Award winners from across the country. Genesis was less than 3 points from earning a Platinum Award, which is the highest level of recognition.

"A healthy workforce is very important to us,'' said Doug Cropper, President and CEO, Genesis Health System. "Our employees take responsibility for the health choices they make. Our role as leaders is to provide them with wellness programs and opportunities that promote health.''

Genesis Health System offers its employees a variety of incentives and programs to maintain and improve their health.

One of the most successful initiatives has been the Healthy Lifestyles program. Employees receive an annual screening for the five risk factors of metabolic syndrome. Employees who have fewer than three risk factors qualify for lower health insurance rates. Because of the program, Genesis employees have enjoyed nearly stable health insurance costs while rates across the country have risen steeply over the same period.

The Genesis WellPower Program, managed by Jan Treftz-Allen, is a key component of employee health. The program introduces employees and spouses to health habits to improve their lives. The program focuses primarily on exercise, nutrition and stress management, which have the biggest impact on health risks.

Within the Genesis WellPower Program are challenges for participants. Exercise, improved food choices, stress coping skills and taking part in Genesis-sponsored events are documented as part of an incentive program to reinforce good habits. The WellPower website offers employees online education and a variety of other resources to manage their health.

Genesis employees receive discounts for YMCA memberships and other health clubs. The Genesis food service offers healthy entree selections every day and vending machines have healthier options.

Another successful wellness program at Genesis is an annual employee bike sale. Employees are able to purchase bikes, biking gear and exercise equipment on a discounted basis and can have their purchase deducted from their payroll checks.

"We're very proud of the total wellness program at Genesis and the participation by employees and their families in the program,'' Cropper said. "Our wellness initiatives have helped save millions of dollars in our organization's employee health care costs, but more importantly, our employees are benefitting through improved health and lower costs for health insurance premiums.''

Genesis Occupational Health is working with area employers to introduce successful Genesis initiatives to their employees.

Wellness Councils of America, based in Omaha, focuses on building Well Workplaces – organizations that are dedicated to the health of their employees. To date, more than 600 companies have received Well Workplace awards.

WELCOA's Seven Benchmarks of results-oriented workplace wellness programs are: Capturing CEO Support; Creating Cohesive Wellness Teams; Collecting Data to Drive Health Efforts; Carefully Crafting An Operating Plan; Choosing Appropriate Interventions; Creating A Supportive Environment; Carefully Evaluating Outcomes.


Celebrate Labor Day by giving the gift of life to patients in need PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ben Corey   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 14:33

As the summer season wraps up and Labor Day approaches, it’s important to remember that the need for blood and platelets does not take a holiday. Throughout the summer, especially during the holidays, lifesaving blood donations decline. This often occurs as donors pack their schedules full of fun summer activities, leaving little time to donate.

This Labor Day, the Red Cross is encouraging individuals to end their summer right by making a difference in their community. All presenting donors who give at Red Cross blood drives from August 30 through September 5 will be entered for a chance to win one of five prize packages worth $200 for items of their choosing.

All presenting blood and platelet donors August 30 to September 5 have the chance to win one of five $200 prize packages redeemable at

PEORIA, Ill. (August 27, 2012) – As the hot summer winds down and individuals and families look forward to the Labor Day holiday, the American Red Cross reminds eligible donors that patients can’t take a holiday from needing blood or platelets. To help ensure an adequate blood supply this Labor Day holiday, from August 30 to September 5, presenting blood and platelet donors can give a little and live a little by being entered to win one of five $200 prize packages redeemable for items such as books, music, electronics, restaurants, department stores and more!

“Summer holidays pose a serious challenge to the nation’s blood supply as donors have less time to give lifesaving blood,” said Shelly Heiden, CEO of the American Red Cross Heart of America Blood Services Region. “But patients don’t get to take a holiday from needing blood. Approximately every two seconds, a patient in the United States needs blood. So make blood donation a part of your Labor Day plans and help patients enjoy more summers with their friends and families.”

The Labor Day promotion is part of the Red Cross’ Live Life. Give Life. campaign. The summer-long giveaway (May 21 through September 5) raises awareness of the need for summer blood donations and offers all presenting donors the chance to win a prize certificate package worth $5,000 redeemable at One lucky donor can use the prize certificate to choose from hundreds of available prize options, including vacations, shopping sprees or meals out for a year. For more information, visit

Donors of all blood types are needed, but eligible donors with blood type O negative, O positive, A negative or B negative are especially encouraged to give. Anyone who gave blood at the start of the summer may be eligible to donate again as summer comes to a close.

How to Donate Blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

About the American Red Cross

The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give blood.™

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at


Maria Bribriesco Announces Final Health & Wellness Series Topic PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Sandra Travino   
Tuesday, 28 August 2012 14:13
Social Worker Rebecca Dwyer-Elias: Tips On Achieving & Maintaining A Positive Self Esteem

AUGUST 28, 2012 BETTENDORF, IA – Maria Bribriesco, candidate for Iowa House of Representatives (District 94) and Bettendorf resident, has announced the final session in a four-part Health & Wellness series “Tips on Achieving & Maintaining Positive Self-Esteem " with social worker Rebecca Dwyer-Elias, LCSW, LISW.  This presentation will be at the  Bettendorf Public Library August 28, 2012 at 6:30 PM.  Ms. Dwyer-Elias will deliver a short presentation followed by a Q&A.  This event is free to the public.

“Bullying in our society is a tremendous problem.  It's been in the news lately but it still doesn't get enough attention.” Maria said recently.  “One's self esteem is battered whenever one is subjected to bullying whether it be at school, at home, or at work.  This type of informational program is a step in the right direction to combating this social problem.” 

In private practice since 1999, Rebecca earned a Masters of Social Work from San Diego State University in San Diego, CA. She is skilled at establishing the core conditions of counseling with her clients, developing accurate diagnostic assessments, and applying appropriate treatment planning and theoretical interventions.

About Maria Bribriesco
Maria Bribriesco, a long-time resident of Bettendorf and graduate from the University of Iowa College of Law, is candidate from the Iowa House of Representatives, District 94. After 27 years working for the U.S. Army at the Rock Island Arsenal, Maria retired as a Supervisory Attorney-Adviser in July 2011.

Maria is married to local attorney William J. Bribriesco and is the proud mother of attorneys Anthony and Andrew Bribriesco and doctor Alejandro Bribriesco.

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