Today’s NewsStand — June 1, 2017

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

Iowa News

Iowans, be wary of American Health Care Act
Kirk Norris, president and CEO of the Iowa Hospital Association, discussed concerns with the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the bill recently passed by the US House, in Des Moines Register story. Obscured by foggy notions of improved fiscal flexibility for states and broader insurance choices for individuals, he explains that AHCA will in fact hamstring state budgets and wipe out coverage in ways that endanger the health of thousands of Iowans and the financial viability of the 118 community hospitals they count on. (Des Moines Register)

Proposal would expand the Safe Haven law
Iowa’s Safe Haven law was enacted in 2002 and has been used 27 times by parents to release custody of their newborn child. Amy McCoy, spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Human Services, says there’s a chance the 15-year-old law could be altered. “There was some legislation that was proposed this year to expand some portions of the law. That did not get passed this year, but we might see it come back next year,” McCoy says. (Radio Iowa)

UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s holds memorial service for special “hero”
UnityPoint Health- St. Luke’s held a memorial service for a special “hero” on Friday. Danny Harris was an employee at St. Luke’s for 40 years. Harris passed away this past April and staff wanted to honor his hard work and dedication. They put on a memorial service where they displayed several of his paintings to honor Harris. He was also nominated by St. Luke’s for the Iowa Hospital Association Iowa Hospital Heroes Award in 2009. He is the first to receive the award as a housekeeper for a hospital in Iowa. (KTIV)

Nurse credits Skiff ER with saving her life
Susan Murphy, a nurse at Skiff Medical Center, returned from a trip with severe neck pain. She opted to go to the emergency department at Skiff Medical Center. Testing quickly showed that Susan was experiencing a serious heart attack in which a major heart artery is blocked. In Susan’s case, that blockage was nearly total. The Skiff team immediately transferred Susan to Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines, where a cath team was in place and ready to provide life-saving intervention. (Skiff Medical Center)

Iowa veteran pushes hyperbaric treatment for postwar symptoms
For years, Ernie Goebel felt the aftereffects of war — frequent migraines and balance issues due to repeated concussions and exposure to sarin gas. After receiving an experimental treatment called hyperbaric oxygen therapy, Goebel said his symptoms have nearly disappeared. Michael Clair of Cedar Rapids, co-owner of Bo Town Productions who founded the Hyperbaric Oxygen for Veterans Association, said he is encouraging clinics and hospitals in Iowa to offer the treatment in the hope of more veterans gaining access to it. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

National News

It’s time to recognize mental health as essential to physical health
Mental disorders are often associated with chronic physical illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. The treatment of mental illness has been held back by the sense that disorders lack legitimacy and instead reflect individual weakness. The Ohio State Harding Hospital is addressing mental health issues as effectively as it treats trauma or cardiac arrest. This shift is occurring nationally, with community-involved, comprehensive mental health integration into hospitals in cities and rural communities alike. (STAT)

Shortage of psychiatrists in Missouri leads patients to costly ER, hospitalization
Sixty-one percent of Missouri’s counties don’t have a single licensed psychiatrist—that’s according to data from the Missouri Board of Healing Arts. “In many of the mental health professions we have counties across Missouri that do not employ a single psychiatrist or psychologist or behavioral analyst,” said Dr. Mike Neitzel, deputy director of the Missouri Department of Mental Health. The shortage has wide-ranging ramifications on the criminal justice system and on hospitals. And the shortage is most acute in rural areas. (KCUR)

GOP plan could be costly for those with coverage gaps
Under the proposed Republican health care bill, people who go without insurance for even just a couple of months — whether because of a job loss, a divorce, a serious illness that leaves them unable to work, or some other reason — could face sharply higher premiums if they try to sign up again for coverage, especially if they have a pre-existing condition. Some might find themselves priced out of the market. (New York Times)

Senators’ dueling web shoutouts echo nation’s partisan divide on Obamacare
Politically, Sensators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) are moderates who rejected proposed cuts in Medicaid funds. And yet, they find themselves rallying constituents along diametrically opposed positions. The dialogue has become the Affordable Care Act versus a new GOP bill. A love-it-or-leave-it mentality pervades both sides. As angry voters at town halls express their concerns about the state of American health care, the senators are reaching out for patient stories to prove their respective viewpoints. (Kaiser Health News)

House defends delaying major Obamacare lawsuit
The House of Representatives in a court filing Tuesday defended a decision earlier in May to delay a pivotal lawsuit over a provision of the 2010 health care law and pushed back on a request from Democratic attorneys general to take over defending the law. The House and the Trump administration agreed last week to delay the case while they work to reach a settlement and while congressional Republicans continue to push for legislation to repeal and replace the entire 2010 law. (Roll Call)