Today’s NewsStand – May 11, 2018

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

Iowa News

In a hospital courtroom, magistrates decide which mental patients need to be held
Four mornings a week, Broadlawns Medical Center doubles as a courthouse. The Polk County hospital has a courtroom, where magistrates determine whether people with mental illnesses or addictions are such threats to themselves or others that they need to be held for treatment. Several hundred hearings are held in the room each year. Assistant Polk County Attorney Dan Flaherty says the commitment process can help families obtain treatment for loved ones, but it’s a draining experience. (Des Moines Register)

Local hospitals still looking for more medical workers
Trinity’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences is pitching its program for high school and college students. Tracy Poelvoorde, chancellor of the program, says the majority of her students have jobs in their fields when they get out of school, but she says both Genesis Health System and UnityPoint Health Trinity struggle to find enough nurses available for the demand. “We have a lot of nurses who are at the baby boomer age who are looking to retire,” Poelvoorde said Thursday. “We’re working really fast, so we can get graduates out and help to replace those retirements.” (WQAD)

Automated chest compression added in Pella Regional Health Center ER
The emergency department at Pella Regional Health Center is now using the LUCAS 3 Chest Compression System which enables continuous consistent chest compressions in cardiac resuscitations. The device works by providing continuous high-quality chest compressions which are critical to maintaining blood flow to save a sudden cardiac arrest patient’s brain, heart and vital organs. It also frees up staff to let them focus on other critical emergency patient care such as defibrillation, intubation and IV placement. (KNIA)

A look at why the flu proved to be so deadly this year
This year’s flu season was more severe than most — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more hospitalizations and more flu-associated deaths than in previous years. Here in Iowa, there were more than 1,700 influenza-associated hospitalizations, public health officials reported. What’s more, there were more than 8,500 non-influenza respiratory viruses in Iowa, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. Most people who catch the flu will recover in less than a week — but complications can occur, which can be life threatening. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

National News

When a rural hospital shuts down
When rural hospitals close, their communities often lose their biggest employers and closest access to health care, struggling to stay afloat in the aftermath. And that’s happening a lot as the health care industry keeps consolidating — 83 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, according to the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program. This is happening now in rural Missouri, where Community Health Systems is shuttering a 116-bed hospital. Many people are worried residents won’t get care at all or will suffer from having to drive long distances for hospital care. (Axios)

Missouri faces physician shortage, medical students leaving
Missouri lawmakers and health care groups are working to remedy the state’s physician shortage by keeping their medical students in-state. The Missouri Hospital Association and the Missouri Healthcare Workforce Coalition are collaborating with lawmakers to boost residency funding. Hospitals are limited in the amount of money for residency slots based on the number of Medicare-funded patients. Hospitals are given a particular number of residents to train, which is capped by the 1997 Balanced Budget Act. (Associated Press/US News & World Report)

Trump health chief defends short-term insurance plans
President Trump’s goal of expanding short-term health plans will not harm the insurance marketplace, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said Thursday. Azar repeatedly defended a proposed rule from the administration that would allow the sale of short-term health plans for up to an entire year. The plans skirt Obamacare rules about coverage requirements, so while they will be cheaper, they will not be required to cover pre-existing conditions. They also don’t have to cover the law’s essential health benefits, such as maternity care, mental health or prescription drugs. (The Hill)

Minnesota children’s mental health facilities forced to adapt or cut back to stay open
Nearly a dozen residential treatment centers for children who suffer from mental illness are scrambling to find new funding after receiving word this week that they’re no longer eligible for Medicaid dollars. Some of the centers are changing their model of care in order to stay open. Though expensive, the residential treatment may be the best option for children with serious mental illnesses, said Dr. Michelle Murray, interim CEO of Nexus. She expects without more residential treatment programs, teachers, emergency room staff and police officers will be left picking up the slack. (Minnesota Public Radio)

GOP senator calls for mandatory Medicaid work requirements
Republican Senator John Kennedy (Louisiana) on Thursday said Medicaid work requirements should be mandatory for states, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should take the lead to make it happen. Kennedy said he would like to see HHS work with Congress to put together a program that would institute a mandatory requirement that Medicaid beneficiaries work 20 hours a week. The Trump administration has been encouraging states to apply for waivers that would allow them to institute work requirements on Medicaid recipients. (The Hill)