Today’s NewsStand – April 21, 2017

Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.

Iowa News

Iowa Legislature approves partial mental health fix
The Iowa House on Thursday approved a measure that would partly alleviate a longstanding problem with how mental health and disability services are funded in Scott County. However, county officials and some lawmakers say the bill didn’t go far enough. The Iowa House approved the measure on a 97-1 vote Thursday afternoon. The Senate passed it earlier this week so the bill now goes to Governor Terry Branstad. The legislation would equalize how the counties within each of the state’s 14 mental health regions raise money to pay for services. (Quad-City Times)

Ernst pushes for health care, regulatory reform during GCMH stop
The fate of the Affordable Care Act and Critical Access Hospitals dominated the discussion when US Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) visited the Grundy County Memorial Hospital (GCMH) to meet with executives, board members and local officials last Wednesday morning. “A lot of our constituents out in these rural areas, that’s how they’re serviced is through Critical Access Hospitals, so we need to maintain them as best we can,” she said. (Grundy Register)

Genesis HealthPlex coming to West Davenport
Identifying the growing demand for medical services on the west side of Davenport, Genesis Health System will break ground on a new HealthPlex later this year. Chief Marketing Officer Ken Croken said the $8 million to $10 million development, similar to its health complexes in Moline and Bettendorf, will break ground after July. Croken said Genesis’ latest project is a response to the trend in health care that consumers expect the “one-stop shopping” approach. (Quad-City Times)

OCH receives $400,000 grant for diagnostic tool
Patients at Osceola Community Hospital (OCH) will soon benefit from access to the latest computed tomography (CT) diagnostic technology made possible through a grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program. Helmsley has awarded OCH $400,000 for a new 64-slice CT scanner. “Our goal is to ensure that people who live in rural America have access to quality health care as close to home as possible,” said Walter Panzirer, a trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust. (Worthington Daily Globe)

Hand therapist helps man with reattached hand regain function
The field of hand therapy is growing as patients with everything from a broken finger to carpal tunnel syndrome look for ways to improve function and deal with pain. One hand therapist helped a young man get back to his normal life. Surgeons at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, reattached Kennedy Folkedahl’s hand after it was cut off during a construction accident. Three months later, Folkedahl went to the UnityPoint Hand Therapy Clinic. (WHO)

National News

For doctors, a clamp down on visas could have an uneven effect in the US
Limiting the number of foreign doctors who can get visas to practice in the US could have a significant impact on certain hospitals and states that rely on them, according to a new study. The research, published online in JAMA this week, found that more than 2,100 US employers were certified to fill nearly 10,500 physician jobs nationwide, in 2016. That represents 1.4 percent of the physician workforce overall. (Kaiser Health News)

Many veterans gained health care through the Affordable Care Act
Almost half a million veterans gained health care coverage during the first two years of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a report finds. In the years leading up to the implementation of ACA’s major coverage provisions, nearly 1 million of the nation’s approximately 22 million veterans didn’t have health insurance. Two years after ACA’s implementation, 429,000 veterans under the age of 65 gained coverage, which is a 40 percent drop in vets without insurance from 2013 to 2015. (Iowa Public Radio)

White House pushes uncertain bid to revive health care bill
Eager for a victory, the White House expressed confidence Thursday that a breakthrough on the mired Republican health care bill could be achieved in the House next week. The chamber’s GOP leaders, burned by a March debacle on the measure, were dubious and signs were scant that an emerging plan was gaining enough votes to succeed. During a news conference, Trump said progress was being made on a “great plan” for overhauling the nation’s health care system, though he provided no details. (Associated Press)

Conservatives’ goal to relax mandatory health benefits unlikely to tame premiums
As House Republicans try to find common cause on a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, they may be ready to let states make the ultimate decision about whether to keep a key consumer provision in the federal health law that conservatives say is raising insurance costs. At the heart of those changes reportedly is the law’s requirement for most insurance plans to offer 10 specific categories of “essential health benefits.” (Kaiser Health News)

Secret hospital inspections may become public
The public could soon get a look at confidential reports about errors, mishaps and mix-ups in the nation’s hospitals that put patients’ health and safety at risk, under a groundbreaking proposal from federal health officials. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services wants to require that private health care accreditors publicly detail problems they find during inspections of hospitals and other medical facilities, as well as the steps being taken to fix them. (Pro Publica)