Today’s NewsStand – September 11, 2017

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

Iowa News

Rural mental health center draws plenty of praise, but it’s faltering for lack of money
An innovative program that provides mental health help is on the cusp of closure, partly because state officials haven’t arranged a way for it to bill Medicaid. Numerous southern Iowans who’ve used the Oak Place center are stepping forward to explain why they want it to stay open. The center has drawn wide praise as an economical way for a rural area to address critical shortages of inpatient psychiatric facilities and other services. But it has struggled to draw enough money from the state. (Des Moines Register)

Iowa falling short on mental health
After former Governor Terry Branstad unilaterally closed two of Iowa’s four mental institutions, Iowa ranked last in psychiatric beds per capita. The Advocacy Treatment Center reported Iowa had been reduced to 64 beds for adults from 149. Iowa needs to recognize making mental health therapy readily available is good public policy — and much more cost-efficient than warehousing people who can’t cope in jails and prisons. (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier)

Iowa nonprofit to construct $6M behavioral health campus|
An organization that offers mental health services for children announced plans last week for a new $6 million behavioral health campus in western Iowa. The organization said the new site in Sioux City will be completed in three phases over the next four years. It offers treatment for children and adults with emotional, behavioral or psychiatric issues that are caused by physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, mental health issues or severe family dysfunction. (Associated Press/Bradenton Herald)

How 4 Iowa nurses escaped Florida from the Atlantic Ocean’s most powerful storm
When Emily Glynn, Diane Mahoney, Brenda McCulley and Shelli Sherer flew out of Des Moines International Airport on Sunday, the four nurses from Iowa Methodist Medical Center were ready for a fun-filled vacation in Florida. Because of Hurricane Irma, however, those thoughts of relaxation turned to panic. They ended up taking and Uber to Orlando and driving another nine hours to Atlanta to make their connecting flight. Now the Iowans are free and home safe. (Des Moines Register)

National News

Senate panel looks to quickly strike deal on Obamacare fix
The Senate Health Committee is aiming to reach a deal in the coming week on a bipartisan bill aimed at stabilizing Obamacare’s shaky insurance markets. However, timing is a challenge if Congress wants to have an impact on premiums and insurer participation in 2018. And Democrats want the bill to include multiple years of funding for key insurer payments, known as cost-sharing reduction subsidies, while Republicans only want one year. (The Hill)

Irma forces at least 35 hospitals to evacuate patients
At least 35 hospitals in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina have either closed entirely or ordered partial evacuations in advance of Hurricane Irma. Despite Irma’s unprecedented strength, the Florida Hospital Association said that the vast majority of its more than 200 member hospitals, including the state’s largest hospitals, remained open as of Saturday afternoon. In total, the association says health care facilities have evacuated nearly 1,900 patients. (STAT)

In mega-shelter for Harvey evacuees, telemedicine plans to help doctors keep up
Getting thousands of Houston-area families to shelters has been a massive humanitarian effort. But the aid doesn’t end there: Many of the displaced have chronic medical conditions like asthma or injuries from recent days that need medical attention. Providers of telemedicine are hoping technology can help step into the breach. At Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, which has taken residents displaced by flooding in Houston, emergency-room doctors at Children’s Health are seeing young patients remotely. (STAT)

Senate committee wants to bump up 2018 NIH spending by $2B
Although the Trump Administration has shown some hostility toward funding health care and related scientific initiatives, there was bipartisan support in the Senate subcommittee that oversees funding for the US Department of Health and Human Services to bump up spending in fiscal 2018. The bill includes an additional $2 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to $36.1 billion, a six percent funding increase compared to fiscal 2017. (Fierce Healthcare)

Sanders to unveil ‘Medicare for all’ bill on Wednesday
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will unveil his “Medicare for all” bill on Wednesday, his office announced Friday. The announcement comes as single-payer health care is gaining as a force within the Democratic Party, and Sanders’s formal announcement will move the issue further into the spotlight. Sanders made single payer a driving force of his campaign for president last year, and is now keeping up the push. (The Hill)