Today’s NewsStand – August 9, 2018

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

Iowa News

Some progress being made in suicide prevention
Several efforts are underway on the local, state and federal levels to bolster suicide prevention. Notably, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed an executive order creating an Iowa Children’s Mental Health Board. The board will look at what resources are in place and develop a plan to implement a better approach to help children with mental-health issues. She also signed a bill requiring Iowa school employees who work with students to have least one hour of suicide-prevention training annually, starting in July 2019. (Rock Island Dispatch-Argus)

Supervisors eye smaller-scale mental health services provider
Cerro Gordo County is taking strides to move away from County Social Services (CSS), a 22-county-wide mental health and disability services program, to Central Iowa Crisis Services (CICS), a similar organization that serves neighboring counties such as Franklin and Greene. Cerro Gordo County Supervisor Chris Watts said that it’s time for the county to pursue a service that can offer more immediate and personal help to people in need in the county. (Clear Lake Mirror Reporter)

Sheldon clinic uses genetics to treat patients
In October, a 22-year-old patient suffering from depression and anxiety issues reached out to her family physician, Dr. Sara Zoelle of Sanford Sheldon Clinic, who prescribed a medication to help her deal with her mental health challenges. What helped the patient find the right combination of medications — she also has three prescriptions to treat her migraines in addition to her anxiety and depression meds — was undergoing pharmacogenetic testing at the clinic in April. Zoelle said pharmacogenetic takes out some of the time-consuming guesswork when it comes to prescribing medicine. (Northwest

This is ‘Responsible Gaming Week’ in Iowa
Most people who visit Iowa’s 19 state-licensed casinos don’t suffer from gambling addiction, but for the few who do, those environments can be very detrimental. This is Responsible Gaming Education Week in Iowa. Wes Ehrecke, president and CEO of the Iowa Gaming Association, says it’s a time to focus on educating casino employees and patrons. “It’s not just gambling. It could be substance abuse. It could be mental health, various issues people might be experiencing and they have it all under one umbrella. is a very helpful resource for people.” (Radio Iowa)

National News

States question costs of middlemen that manage Medicaid drug benefits
Several states are questioning the cost of using pharmacy middlemen to manage their prescription drug programs in a movement that could shake up the complex system that manages how pharmaceuticals are priced and paid for. The debate is playing out this week in an Ohio courtroom, as the state fights to release a report detailing what it paid two middlemen to manage its Medicaid program’s prescription drug plans. And in Iowa, State Representative John Forbes launched his own investigation into a county government health plan a few months ago after hearing complaints from pharmacists. (NPR)

Patient groups rattled by new Medicare power to negotiate lower drug prices
A new federal policy intended to drive down drug prices could have a negative effect on patients, particularly those with chronic conditions, according to health advocates. The policy announced Tuesday by the Department of Health and Human Services will give some private insurers the option to require patients try cheaper drugs before turning to more expensive ones, regardless of what their doctor prescribes. (The Hill)

Rural areas need affordable air ambulances
People in urban areas are near plenty of hospitals, specialists and specialty care facilities where they can quickly get the treatment they need. Unfortunately, 115 million Americans living in rural areas aren’t as fortunate. In their cases, the nearest medical facility is more than an hour away by a ground ambulance. That’s where air medical comes in — filling the gap in rural communities across the country so that patients can quickly get to the nearest and best medical facility. However, air medical bases are at risk of closing. (San Jose Mercury News)

As opioid crisis rages, some trade ‘tough love’ for empathy
Bea Duncan’s son Jeff had been caught using drugs in a New Hampshire sober home and was being kicked out. The parents delivered an ultimatum: Jeff had to go back to rehab, or leave home. While he returned to rehab, the Duncans decided their approach wasn’t working. They sought help, eventually connecting with a program that stresses empathy: CRAFT or Community Reinforcement and Family Training. The Duncans said the training helped them shift from chaos to calm. (Kaiser Health News)