Today’s NewsStand – October 5, 2018

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

Iowa News

Bringing value to Iowa’s Medicaid program
In the two years since Iowa implemented privatized Medicaid managed care, the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) has been researching and discussing how Medicaid can be improved and made more sustainable – no matter who controls the Legislature or occupies the governor’s office. That continuous work has led to an idea we call “the Third Way.” A fundamental flaw of Iowa’s current Medicaid managed care arrangement is its failure to provide value that ensures high-quality care for the Iowans who depend on Medicaid and high efficiency for the taxpayers who pay for it. (Des Moines Register)

Iowans say national survey on violence against ER docs is no surprise
An American College of Emergency Physicians survey revealing that nearly 50 percent of emergency physicians have been physically assaulted on the job comes as no surprise to Dr. Matthew Aucutt of Cedar Rapids. “We’ve been concerned about that for many years.” Scott McIntyre, vice president for communications at the Iowa Hospital Association, said workplace safety is a high priority for hospitals. “I would say that there’s a growing desire to address the problem,” he said. (Iowa Watch)

Rural hospital benefits from UIHC telemedicine
Following a 16-month pilot program, providers from the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics (UIHC) and Van Buren County Hospital have found that using telemedicine improves patient care for residents in rural Iowa. Providers from both institutions use electronic communication and medical record databases via iPads, allowing providers at UIHC to remotely treat rural patients. Telemedicine allows patients outside Iowa City to have access to providers while decreasing the number of transfers to other hospitals. (University of Iowa Daily Iowan)

New financial leadership at UnityPoint-Des Moines
Mike Dewerff has transitioned from one UnityPoint hospital in Iowa to another, beginning his new role as CFO of UnityPoint – Des Moines. The change transfers Dewerff from rural Fort Dodge and its population of roughly 25,000 to Iowa’s urban center, home to more than 215,000 people. Dewerff joined UnityPoint in 2010 as CFO of UnityPoint – Fort Dodge, before being promoted to president and CEO in 2015. Prior to joining UnityPoint, he served as CFO of Buena Vista Regional Medical Center in Storm Lake, Iowa, with additional experience at Banner Health in North Dakota. (HealthLeaders Media)

National News

Trump Administration to step up oversight of hospital watchdogs
The Trump administration on Thursday announced increased oversight of organizations that accredit and inspect most U.S. hospitals, following a report last year in The Wall Street Journal focusing on problem-plagued facilities that kept their accreditation status. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which grants accrediting authority, said it will change the way it measures the performance of accrediting organizations in a pilot project and will provide the public with new information. (Wall Street Journal)

If you live in a large city, flu season may stretch longer than elsewhere, study says
The length of the flu season may vary depending on where you live, with large cities enduring longer periods of transmission and smaller cities experiencing shorter, but more explosive, spread, a new study suggests. The study doesn’t assert that one’s risk of contracting influenza varies depending on the size of any given community. Rather, it argues that in less populous places, flu needs the right atmospheric conditions to spread effectively. In large cities, those conditions don’t matter quite as much. (STAT)

In the battle to control drug costs, old patent laws get new life
In the drug pricing battle, progressive lawmakers and patients’ rights activists rarely find themselves in step with the health industry’s big players. But in a twist, these usually at-odds actors are championing similar tactics to tame prescription drug prices. The strategies involve repurposing two obscure and rarely deployed workarounds in patent law that, in different ways, empower the federal government to take back patents and license them to other companies. (Kaiser Health News)

Health care hacking on the rise, study finds
Health care hacking is on the rise, according to a new Massachusetts General Hospital study. The researchers looked at all the reported breaches of health care information from 2010 to last year. While the number of breaches rose just slightly almost every year, the shift to big repositories of electronic health records has meant a network server attack could get at many more records at once. Overall, the study finds, more than 176 million medical records were breached, the majority through health plans, but many through health care providers as well. (WBUR)