Today’s NewsStand – May 15, 2018

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

Iowa News

Eastern Iowa hospital fights nursing shortage with opportunity
Unity Point St. Luke’s Hospital is experiencing the nursing shortage first hand. That is why St. Luke’s is offering opportunities, certifications and skill building to attract and keep nurses. “We’re looking at ways to retain them as well, not only to recruit them in and to onboard as a very nice to way to jump right into their practice, but how do we retain them for a longer period of time,” Vice President Chief Nurse Executive Carmen Kleinsmith said. (KCRG)

How 2 Des Moines police officers saved my life in a time of mental health crisis
Daniel Finney from Des Moines shares his mental health story in a Des Moines Register column. He says that if it weren’t for the timely intervention of a handful of people, including two Des Moines police officers, he doesn’t know where he would be today. After calling the mental health crisis line at a local hospital, two Des Moines police officers came to Finney’s apartment and helped him get the right care. One called for Mobile Crisis, the team of mental health professionals that work with police on cases like his. (Des Moines Register)

UI business providing therapy for children with autism wins prestigious startup competition
ABAL Therapeutics, a business started by three University of Iowa (UI) students that designs software providing therapy for children with autism, recently won the grand prize at Texas Christian University’s Values and Ventures business startup competition. The ABAL software replicates therapy normally provided by therapists that help children with autism learn to look, listen, imitate, read, converse and understand another person’s perspective. ABAL’s software automates the exercises so that children can access the therapy from an app downloaded to a tablet. (University of Iowa Tippie College of Business)

National News

Maryland’s plan to control health costs gets federal approval
The federal government has approved a plan Maryland has been testing for the past four years to control health costs by shifting more care out of hospitals and better coordinating care with doctors, nursing homes and community groups. The new pact offers doctors and nursing homes bonuses and incentives to help coordinate preventive care for patients. “The fact is you have to include the doctors and the nursing homes and the people in the community because that is where care needs to be,” said Jim Reiter, a spokesman for the Maryland Hospital Association. (Baltimore Sun)

Trump Administration cools on Mississippi Medicaid work requirements
For months, Mississippi’s application for a program that would require certain Medicaid recipients to work has been considered a lock by supporters and opponents of the program. But last week the Trump Administration walked back support for the waivers in states like Mississippi that have opted out of Medicaid expansion. Currently, only four states, Kentucky, Arkansas, Indiana and New Hampshire, have had their waiver requests approved. All are states that expanded Medicaid. Approval of Mississippi’s application, which is one of three from non-expansion states, is pending. (Mississippi Today)

Despite rural hospital crisis, Wyoming system plows ahead
Across America, rural communities have fallen into economic decline, negatively impacting the financial stability of the hospitals and health systems servicing them. In Wyoming, the rural hospital crisis is top of mind. The state is serviced by 25 rural providers according to the Chartis Center for Rural Health, a health care analytics firm, with 11 rural hospitals operating on negative margins. Amidst these challenges, Evanston Regional Hospital is implementing a series of policies to grow operations, reduce bad debt on the front-end, and embrace telemedicine. (HealthLeaders Media)

Amazon is building a ‘health & wellness’ team within Alexa as it aims to upend health care
Amazon has built a team within Alexa to dive more deeply into the health care space. The team’s main job is to make Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant more useful in the health care field. The group is targeting areas like diabetes management, care for mothers and infants and aging, said the people, who asked not to be named because the work is confidential. While Amazon isn’t talking publicly about the health and wellness group, its existence is the clearest indication of the company’s plan to bring Alexa voice technology to the rapidly growing field of digital health. (CNBC)