Today’s NewsStand – July 6, 2018

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

Iowa News

Private Medicaid sabotages Iowans dental care
Medicaid is now paying Iowa dentists a mere $27 to clean patients’ teeth, according to the executive director of the Iowa Dental Association. The privatization theme of limiting care for low-income people has extended to dentistry. The tactic seems to be reimbursing dentists so little they will not treat Medicaid patients. Then insurers don’t need to pay the bills. Unfortunately, the shameful strategy seems to be working. (Des Moines Register)

Iowa’s doctor-licensing board places its director on leave, but it won’t say why
One of Iowa’s most prominent health care regulators has been placed on “administrative leave,” but officials won’t say why. Mark Bowden has been executive director of the Iowa Board of Medicine since 2008. The board licenses physicians, and it can fine or suspend them if they give poor care to patients or violate ethics rules. A state law that went into effect last year states that government officials must disclose reasons for firing or demoting an employee, but that law doesn’t apply to suspensions, said Randy Evans, executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. (Des Moines Register)

UI pharmacy researchers help rural doctors improve care with innovative virtual service
In an effort to bolster front-line medical care and improve health in small towns and rural areas across the state, a team of University of Iowa (UI) College of Pharmacy researchers has created a virtual, web-based service that allows doctors and nurses in distant locations to consult on a variety of medical issues with clinical pharmacy experts on the Iowa City campus. As part of the service—called Centralized Healthcare Solutions—university pharmacists and pharmacy students also regularly talk with patients via telephone or virtually through a web site. (University of Iowa/Iowa Now)

Fireworks incidents, injuries down from last year in Sioux City
Sioux City Fire Rescue and local hospitals reported fewer fireworks incidents and injuries over the Fourth of July holiday than in previous years. At Mercy Medical Center-Sioux City, spokeswoman Dianne Krier Thursday morning said the hospital had treated two minor injuries the past few days, compared with 10 minor and seven serious injuries last year. Both injuries came by private car. At UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s, senior communications officer Suzie Fischer said the hospital had five fireworks-related injuries so far this week, three of them on Wednesday.  (Sioux City Journal)

National News

Voters likely to get the chance to decide on expanding Medicaid to 90,000 Nebraskans
Voters stand a good chance of being able to decide in November about expanding Medicaid coverage to about 90,000 low-income Nebraskans. Insure the Good Life turned in more than 135,000 signatures on a Medicaid expansion petition Thursday, some 60 percent more than the number needed to qualify for the fall ballot. Buoyed by the numbers, organizers called Thursday the first day of their campaign to get the measure passed. The Insure the Good Life petition proposes a state law that would extend Medicaid coverage to about 90,000 low-income Nebraskans. (Omaha World-Herald)

Texas clinics busting traditional silos of mental and physical health care
Until recently, health care professionals treated the mind and body separately and cared for them under different systems. In 2012, Integral Care in Austin began offering a holistic approach, with access to physical health care and a program to manage chronic disease on top of psychiatric care. It developed partly out of the realization that untreated mental health conditions negatively affect patients’ physical health, thus costing the system more money. The seamless care makes a big difference because recovery depends on addressing all aspects of health, not just mental state. (Kaiser Health News)

2 competing health systems partner with community group to quash escalating street violence
The troubling face of urban violence is never more apparent than in a city’s trauma centers. Omaha is no stranger to street and gang violence that lands its residents in the hospital. To help combat this complex issue, the trauma centers at CHI Health and Omaha-based Nebraska Medicine have joined forces with YouTurn, a community organization focused on violence prevention. YouTurn aims to support families in the midst of crises and to defuse any potential violence or retaliation. YouTurn outreach workers come to the trauma center to intervene and help mitigate any retaliatory acts of violence. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

More nurse practitioners now pursue residency programs to hone skills
A growing cadre of nurse practitioners — typically, registered nurses who have completed a master’s degree in nursing — tack on up to a year of clinical and other training, often in primary care, through residency programs. Proponents say the programs help prepare new nurse practitioners to deal with the growing number of patients with complex health issues. As many communities, especially rural ones, struggle to attract medical providers, it’s increasingly likely that patients will see a nurse practitioner rather than a medical doctor when they need care. (Kaiser Health News)