Today’s NewsStand – May 3, 2017

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

Iowa News

Eastern Iowa families struggle to find care during a mental health crisis
Marc Graham struggled with psychosis episodes through his adult life. His mom, Pat Malatek didn’t know where to take him, because there was a shortage of psychiatric beds, so she turned to St. Luke’s. Marc’s family says the doctors helped in this situation, but they worry other families may not have the same outcome. “The lawmakers, or people in Des Moines, they’re supposed to be looking out for us. They need to be listening to us, what we are going through,” Malatek said. (KCRG)

Sheriff shares thoughts on mental health
Health, including mental health, was a major topic at the Marshall County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, and one law enforcement leader said the state’s corrections system houses many with mental illnesses. “Next week is Corrections Week, and it gave me pause to think again about mental health and that the de facto mental health facilities across the country have become the jails,” Marshall County Sheriff Steve Hoffman said. (Marshalltown Times-Republican)

People in social services respond to Iowa’s mental health system
Since the state closed two of Iowa’s four mental health facilities in 2015, hospitals say they’re inundated with patients suffering from mental health issues. That includes the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The Abbe Center for Community Mental Health in Cedar Rapids is also seeing an impact. Kathy Johnson, a licensed mental health social worker and executive director of the Abbe Center, says the system works best when you ‘braid together’ funding from local, state and federal funds. (KCRG)

Medica, the last insurer selling individual health policies in most of Iowa, likely to exit
Tens of thousands of Iowans could be left with no health insurance options next year, after the last carrier for most of the state announced Wednesday that it likely would stop selling individual health policies here. Medica released a statement suggesting it was close to following two larger carriers, Aetna and Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield, in deciding not to sell such policies in Iowa for 2018, due to instability in the market. (Des Moines Register)

GRMC hospital trustees receive education certification from IHA
A group of 61 Iowa hospital trustees have become the latest graduates of the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) Board Certification Program, including Grinnell Regional Medical Center (GRMC) Board of Directors members, Dan Agnew and Laura Ferguson. GRMC board members maintaining certification are Bill Menner and Ed Hatcher. “Having four IHA board certified members on GRMC’s governing boards demonstrates a mindset of excellence and higher level of commitment to the communities we serve,” says Todd Linden, GRMC president and CEO. (Grinnell Regional Medical Center)

National News

New Hampshire Senate committee endorses $20m plan for new mental health beds
A wide-ranging proposal to increase the number of mental health beds throughout New Hampshire was unanimously endorsed by the Senate Health and Human Services committee on this week. The proposal will provide much-needed relief to the state psychiatric hospital, which has struggled to keep pace with the number of patients suffering from mental illness. Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association, applauded the progress on the measure so far. (New Hampshire Union Leader)

Missouri balancing the budget on backs of those living with mental illnesses
The Missouri House Budget Committee recently voted to pass HB 986 to try to reduce pharmacy costs in Medicaid by restricting access to antipsychotic medications. The bill contains a provision that would be harmful for individuals living with serious mental illness. When people with serious mental illness don’t get the antipsychotic medication that they need, they often end up in a never-ending cycle of utilizing jails/prisons, hospitals and emergency rooms, which actually costs more than pharmacy benefits. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Colorado school districts receive grants for mental health services
Five Colorado school districts will receive $1.5 million in grant funds from Kaiser Permanente to improve behavioral health in their schools. The grants, part of Kaiser’s “Thriving Schools” program, will go toward improving “social and emotional wellness and mental health” in the districts. The grants were announced Monday, the same day that Governor John Hickenlooper declared the month of May to be Mental Health Month. (Denver Post)

Increased insurance coverage didn’t reduce access to care
More people getting health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) didn’t lead to challenges in accessing care for those who were already insured, a new Health Affairs study shows. The findings could assuage concerns about how access to doctors was affected under ACA. They suggest that having more insured people in a geographical area does not make it more difficult for others in the same area to access preventative care and specialists. (Morning Consult)

Clock is ticking on GOP bill: 5 ways health care tug-of-war may play out
The House may pass its bill to repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act. But Republicans’ pathway to fulfilling their seven-year effort to undo the federal health law is getting narrower by the day. House leaders stressed that they are still working to muster a majority to pass the bill, which was originally scheduled for a full floor vote in March. Here are some possible ways the effort could play out. (Kaiser Health News)