Today’s NewsStand – August 7, 2018

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

Iowa News

Governor drops Medicaid adviser who spoke up for disabled Iowans after services were cut
Governor Kim Reynolds has dropped an outspoken Medicaid adviser who repeatedly voiced concerns about how private management companies were treating Iowans with disabilities. David Hudson spent two years as co-chairman of Iowa’s Medical Assistance Advisory Council, whose duties include monitoring the state’s shift to private management of its $5 billion Medicaid program. A spokeswoman for Reynolds said the governor has not decided whom to appoint to the council. She declined comment on Hudson’s contention that he was pushed out for being outspoken. (Des Moines Register)

Fred Hubbell presses for more mental health money
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell said Monday he believes Iowa has the policy changes in place to improve and expand mental health services but lacks funding to meet the needs under a GOP-authored budget. Roundtable participants at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines shared collaborative efforts that have successfully helped Iowans battling mental health, addiction or other challenges and could be replicated statewide with adequate funding and proper reimbursements to providers now struggling within Iowa’s privately managed Medicaid system. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Cedar Rapids Hospital president shares perspective on putting the patient back together
Ted Townsend, president of UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s in Cedar Rapids, shares that for too long health care has divided the patient in two. If there was a medical problem you saw one set of providers. If you had a mental health issue you were quickly triaged out to an entirely different set of providers and rarely did the two connect. In fact they often didn’t even understand each other and where there is misunderstanding there are missed needs and opportunities. That’s why regional UnityPoint Health resources are working together with AbbeHealth. (UnityPoint Health)

National News

AHA pushes Stark Law reform with 4 recommendations
The American Hospital Association (AHA) has made a patient-centered plea for Stark Law reforms. In a 23-page letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, AHA General Counsel Melinda Reid Hatton offered a detailed proposal that would allow hospitals and physicians to provide coordinated, value-based care and not run afoul of the Stark Law. “We believe that value-based arrangements protected by the new exception will not carry the risk of overutilization addressed by the Stark Law,” Hatton wrote. (HealthLeaders Media)

CMS finalizes rule requiring hospitals to post prices online
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Thursday issued its final rule on the Inpatient Prospective Payment System, cementing the agency’s April proposal to increase transparency by pushing hospitals to post standard charges online in a machine-readable format. The American Hospital Association (AHA) had been pushing for reduced reporting periods, the elimination of reporting measures and eliminating the 25 percent threshold policy for LTCHs. The final rule, which includes all the above, was in turn welcomed by AHA. (Healthcare Dive)

Medicaid expansion making diabetes meds more accessible to poor, study shows
Low-income people with diabetes are better able to afford their medications and manage their disease in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a new study suggests. The Health Affairs study, released Monday, found a roughly 40 percent increase in the number of prescriptions filled for diabetes drugs in Medicaid programs of the 30 states (including Washington, D.C.) that expanded eligibility in 2014 and 2015, compared with prior years. By contrast, states that didn’t embrace the Medicaid expansion saw no notable increase. (Kaiser Health News)

As calls to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline surge, under-resourced centers struggle to keep up
On the day of Anthony Bourdain’s death by suicide, calls to Community Crisis Services, Inc., a crisis center that answers calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, went up 500 percent. Across the country, counselors scrambled to field the spike in calls. To accommodate the rising call volume, Dr. Draper, the director of the Lifeline, says local crisis centers need more resources – and that a lack of resources contributes to centers leaving the network or shutting down. (PBS News Hour)