Today’s NewsStand – July 3, 2018

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

Iowa News

Woodbury County no longer pushing for new agreement for mental health region
Woodbury County supervisors are no longer pushing to get an amended sharing agreement with the two other counties in the Sioux Rivers Regional Mental Health and Disability Services as Woodbury begins its final year in the regional group. Boards of supervisors in Plymouth and Sioux counties declined to sign a new memorandum of understanding to supplement the current sharing agreement, which the Woodbury County board asserted was necessary for the budget year that began Sunday. (Sioux City Journal)

Centerville native takes mental health research to Ireland
Lauren Lain, a Centerville native, recently traveled about 3,800 miles away to Belfast, North Ireland to present her findings on America’s mental health care system. The presentation was on the mental health issues in a rural Midwestern town’s setting. She aimed to define what the problems are. She spoke to various stakeholders involved: patients, law enforcement, doctors, service coordinators, etc. Lain is pursuing a career in psychology and has become interested in mental health and occupational therapy. (Ottumwa Courier)

Spencer Hospital to open new dialysis center
For more than 20 years, people in need of life-sustaining dialysis treatments have been able to receive care at the Warner Dialysis Center of Spencer Hospital, located within the hospital. In July, patients will transfer to a newly renovated facility designed to meet the growing demand for services and to provide more convenient access to care. “Our patients and health care team are so excited to move into the new facility,” dialysis services director Danette Forbes said. “With the move, we’ll increase the number of treatment stations from eight to 14, with space to add more stations, if needed.” (Spencer Daily Reporter)

Drowning is second leading cause of death among youth, officials say
Five peopled have drowned in Iowa waters over the last week, and medical experts say many of the deaths likely could have been prevented. Mercy physician Doctor Steven Dawson says unless an adult is watching a child at all times, there is no such thing as water safety. He says drownings can happen in a matter of moments, and rescuers need to act fast once a victim is pulled from the water. Second to motor vehicle crashes, drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages one to 14 years old. (WHO)

National News

More Americans pay for ACA health plans, despite moves to undercut law
The number of Americans who bought and began to pay for Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plans grew slightly this year, despite repeated efforts by the Trump administration to undermine the insurance marketplaces created under the law, new federal figures show. As of February, a month after the start of 2018 coverage, 10.6 million people had paid premiums for ACA health insurance, about 3 percent more than the year before, according to enrollment analyses released Monday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (Washington Post)

Despite US Court’s ruling, Medicaid work requirements advance in other states
The fallout from Friday’s federal court ruling that struck down the Medicaid work requirement in Kentucky was swift. Within 36 hours, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, eliminated vision and dental benefits to nearly 500,000 Medicaid enrollees, saying the state could no longer afford it. Meanwhile, Arkansas, New Hampshire and Indiana are moving ahead with the implementation of their versions of a Medicaid work requirement. Advocates for low-income people are weighing whether to file lawsuits to stop the work requirement in other states that have won federal approval. (Kaiser Health News)

Vulnerable rural hospitals face tough decisions on questionable billing schemes
Rural hospitals serve as a lifeline for health care and jobs in small towns, but they face dwindling revenues. Yet despite their typically slim operating margins, Jorge Perez has been buying them. He and his business partners own or manage nearly 20 rural hospitals in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Florida and elsewhere. But an investigation by NPR and its reporting partners uncovered a pattern of controversial business practices by management companies with ties to Perez, which can lead to big profits for the management companies, but high risks for vulnerable hospitals. (NPR)

Emergency rooms run out of vital drugs, and patients are feeling it
Summer is “trauma season,” when emergency rooms see a rise in injuries, but a drug supply crisis has doctors scrambling to find alternatives to needed medications. Some emergency departments around the country, doctors and nurses have been struggling for months without crucial drugs like morphine. Hospitals small and large have been scrambling to come up with alternatives to these standbys, with doctors and nurses dismayed to find that some patients must suffer through pain, or risk unusual reactions to alternative drugs that aren’t the best option. (New York Times)