Today’s NewsStand – May 17, 2018

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

Iowa News

But what if mentally ill refuse help?
It’s understandable that society wishes to allow the mentally ill to live independently if at all possible, and not to be shunted away in an institution, as in times gone by. And it’s a good thing to provide public resources to treat the mentally ill. But according to C. Sheldon Smith, Des Moines Register Iowa View contributor, the Legislature’s recently passed mental health measures wouldn’t help people like his cousin Roger, who refused help for his mental health issues. Surely there is something that the state of Iowa can do to protect mentally ill people from themselves. (Des Moines Register)

Cellphone app saves precious time in medical emergencies
A new cellphone app being used in central Iowa could save precious minutes for heart attack and stroke victims. The Pulsara app saves time by streamlining an array of information into one database that can be checked by emergency medical service crews in the field and nurses in the emergency room. All Des Moines metro hospitals use the smartphone app. Pulsara lets emergency health care providers update patient information, send pictures and alert physicians at the hospital before they arrive. (KCCI)

Drug price attack rings hollow
The high price of pharmaceuticals is something politicians love to attack but do nothing about it. Last month, pharmacists told the Iowa House Government Oversight Committee that pharmaceutical-benefit managers (PBMs) charge state and local governments far more for prescriptions than they pay local pharmacies to fill them. Wapello County, which contracts with CVS Caremark, claimed the PBM paid local pharmacies as little as $2.69 for prescriptions for jail inmates, while billing the county $124. (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier)

National News

Cost panel would cripple Californians’ health care
At a time when California is leading the nation by expanding health care coverage, the state’s elected leaders must work to help, not hurt, the progress made over the last decade. That’s why legislators should reject Assembly Bill 3087, which would lead to drastic cuts in health care services, eliminate thousands of health care jobs and harm patient access to care throughout the state. The bill would cap payments to hospitals, doctors, dentists and other clinicians for services they provide to patients with private health insurance. (Mercury News)

Vermont becomes first state to permit drug imports from Canada
Vermont Republican Governor Phil Scott Wednesday signed legislation making his state the first to legalize importing prescription drugs from Canada, an idea President Donald Trump’s top health officials oppose that’s also drawn fierce opposition from the pharmaceutical industry. The US Department of Health and Human Services still has to certify Vermont’s program. Drug reimportation legislation has been introduced in a handful of other states, but most of the bills stalled this year. (Healthcare Dive)

Kids’ suicide-related hospital visits rise sharply
About five years ago, pediatricians at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville found that more and more of their inpatient beds at the children’s hospital were occupied by children and adolescents with mental health issues, especially those who had come in because of suicide attempts, or suicidal thoughts. The doctors wondered whether the problem was specific to their city, perhaps reflecting scarce local resources. But in a new study in the journal Pediatrics, they found that this same pattern held true around the country over the period from 2008 to 2015. (New York Times)

Artificial intelligence may not be curing cancer, but it is already changing medicine
As recently as a year ago, artificial intelligence was still an amorphous concept in medicine. Almost every major hospital was tinkering with it, but hype about algorithms replacing doctors — or curing cancer — was outrunning reality. Now many hospitals are moving swiftly to incorporate the technology into daily practice, promising to harness patient data to improve certain aspects of care and make medical services cheaper and more efficient. (STAT)