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Monday Afternoon News, December 30

Mercy Medical Center Honored By Welmark Blue Cross-Blue Shield

DES MOINES, Iowa – Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® has named Mercy Medical Center-Sioux City as one of the first hospitals in the nation to receive a Blue Distinction Center Plus (+) designation in the area of cardiac care, as part of the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care® program. Blue Distinction Centers are hospitals shown to deliver quality specialty care based on objective, transparent measures for patient safety and health outcomes that were developed with the input from the medical community. This year, the national program has added a new designation level, Blue Distinction Center Plus  (+), to recognize those hospitals that deliver both quality and cost-efficient specialty care.

In 2006, the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program was developed to help patients find quality providers for their specialty care needs while encouraging health care professionals to improve the care they deliver. To receive a Blue Distinction Center+ for Cardiac CareSM designation, a hospital must demonstrate success in meeting both general quality and safety criteria (such as preventing hospital‐acquired infections) and cardiac-specific quality measures (related to lower rates of complications and death following cardiac surgery; and non‐surgical procedures, such as cardiac stent placement) and, additionally, must show better cost efficiency relative to its peers. Quality is key: only those facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally established, objective quality measures will be considered for designation as a Blue Distinction Center+.


Iowa Population On The Increase

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Newly released figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show Iowa continues a trend of slow population increase. The state has an estimated population of 3,090,416 people as of July 1 last year.  That's an increase of 15,377 - about a half a percent increase in a year.
     The state's population is up about 1.4 percent from the 2010 census.
     Gary Krob, coordinator of the State Data Center Program which keeps track of Iowa's census figures, says Iowa has seen 26 straight years of population increase. The state ranks 30th in total population and is 32nd in the nation in the percentage of population increase from 2010 to 2013.
     Nebraska has grown faster showing a 2.3 percent increase from 2010 to 2013 and a 0.70 percent increase in a year.


Dispute May End Fire Service To Clear Lake Area

 VENTURA, Iowa (AP) - A disagreement over fees could leave some residents of Clear Lake Township without fire protection this summer.
     Ventura Protective Association Fire Chief John Quintus says firefighters will stop responding to calls in the western half of Clear Lake Township on July 1 unless an agreement can be reached.
     Quintus says the township has been paying for fire protection but since 2006 hasn't paid requested fees for vehicle and equipment replacement.
     A new contract proposed by the fire district would result in the township paying nearly four times its current fee of $11,556.
     Township Trustee Scott Pederson accused the fire district of using inaccurate information and "blackmail tactics" toward the township.
     Pederson says the township is required to provide fire protection.


Former Teacher Leaves Estate To Council Bluffs Library

  COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - A former schoolteacher has left her $2.5 million estate to the Council Bluffs Public Library Foundation.
     The Daily Nonpareil says Ann Cook died Dec. 16, 2012. She was 70.
     Cook was a Council Bluffs resident who taught school across the Missouri River in Omaha from 1964 to 1997. After retirement she volunteered more time to the Friends of the Library organization.
     Library Foundation President Steve Krohn says the money will help the organization's efforts to supplement book collections, fund various programs and buy new technology.
     Cook's attorney, Gary Faust, is a member of the foundation board, too. He says Cook "had a great deal of love for the library. She wanted to see it continue to prosper."
     Faust says Cook inherited much of her wealth and lived frugally.




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