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University of Iowa News Release

March 21, 2006

Changes In Medicare, Medicaid Topic Of April 4 Program

As Medicare and Medicaid administrators look for ways to promote health care quality and enhance patient safety in their programs, two key ideas have worked their way into the health care industry: "measuring quality in health care" and changing insurance reimbursements to "pay-for-performance."

For hospitals and health care clinics these reimbursement programs are pivotal in planning for service delivery, personnel and budgets. But how is health care quality measured, and how might a pay-for-performance system impact reimbursement and services?

These questions and others will be discussed at a free public program titled, "Taking the Pulse of Medicare and Medicaid: Can Reimbursements for Quality Care Sustain Iowa Health Care Providers?" The program will be held Tuesday, April 4, in room 301 of the John and Mary Pappajohn Education Center, 1200 Grand Ave. in Des Moines.

A reception and registration will begin at 6 p.m. in the atrium, followed by the 6:30 p.m. discussion on the third floor. The program is co-sponsored by the University of Iowa College of Public Health and the UI Alumni Association in partnership with Des Moines Area Community College.

Individuals interested in attending the program are asked to register in advance by March 31. Registration is available online at or by calling toll free 800-469-2586.

Brian Kaskie, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UI Department of Health Management and Policy, will lead a panel discussion on what the future may hold regarding Medicare and Medicaid, including current research on health care quality, upcoming federal legislation, payment for safe practices, a possible state-wide infection reporting system and more.

"These are very timely topics and we hope to have a discussion that points us in the right direction," Kaskie said.

Panel participants include Sara Imhof, policy analyst with the Government Accountability Office in Washington, D.C.; Chad Shearer, legislative assistant for Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.); and Marcia Ward, Ph.D., associate professor in the UI Department of Health Management and Policy.

More information about the educational outreach programs can be found at

The statewide UI College of Public Health Educational Outreach Series is funded, in part, by a grant from Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.

MEDIA CONTACT: Debra Venzke, 319-335-9647,; PROGRAM CONTACT: Diana Baculis, 319-384-5485,