Today’s NewsStand – November 6, 2018

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

Iowa News

Iowa governor’s race all about voter turnout
In a final flurry of rallies around the state in their attempts to lock down what appears to be an extremely tight race, Governor Kim Reynolds and challenger Fred Hubbell spent part of the morning before Election Day firing up supporters in Cedar Rapids. The Iowa Poll, released Saturday by the Des Moines Register, showed Hubbell leading Reynolds by just 2 points, 46 to 44 percent, among likely voters. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Hillcrest operates while waiting on payments from managed care organizations
A mental health care provider in Dubuque says it’s not getting paid by the managed care organizations (MCOs) that manage Iowa’s Medicaid program. On April 3, Hillcrest opened a subacute unit to care for people with mental health needs who don’t necessarily need hospitalization. Despite the unit opening in April, Hillcrest has only received payments from one MCO,UnitedHealthcare, which came in September. Hillcrest CEO Julie Heiderscheit said the MCOs used “stall tactics” to prevent them from having to make payments. (KCRG)

New helipad passes test at hospital in Osage
A key component in the $12.5 million expansion and renovation of a northeast Iowa hospital was placing a heliport atop the new building. Mercy Air Med tested the new heliport last week at the Mitchell County Regional Health Center in Osage. Hospital CEO Shelly Russell says the new building presented a challenge to deliver patients to the hospital via helicopter. Russell says the helipad has state-of-the-art features. (Radio Iowa)

National News

The 2018 midterms will have a big impact on health care
The 2018 midterm election today will determine the direction of US politics for at least the next two years. Depending on which political party wins a majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate, it will set the tone for the health care debate for the remainder of the Trump administration’s first term. Residents of Idaho, Nebraska and Utah will vote on whether to broaden access to their state Medicaid programs to more low-income people, in line with actions taken by 34 other states and Washington, DC under the Affordable Care Act. (Business Insider)

Doctors believe a hospital bed shouldn’t be a barrier to voting
In 2016, Dr. Kelly Wong’s patients expressed frustration about being stuck in the hospital on Election Day, unable to cast their ballots. Wong decided she wanted to find a way to change that. After doing some research, Wong, an emergency medicine resident at the Brown Alpert Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island, along with other hospitals, launched patientvoting.com, a website where patients can go to find out the options available to them. (NBC News)

Hospitals slammed with $380M in CMS cuts, industry cries foul
With its final Outpatient Prospective Payment System rule for 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is eliminating the pay discrepancy Medicare beneficiaries face visiting a hospital-owned outpatient setting as opposed to a traditional doctor’s office. CMS said cutting reimbursement at hospital-owned outpatient settings for these visits will save Medicare $380 million in 2019 alone. The American Hospital Association promptly vowed to sue. (Healthcare Dive)

How to turbocharge flu protection (llamas required)
This year’s vaccine significantly reduces the odds of getting sick — and you should get one now if you haven’t already — but it’s far from perfect. On Thursday, an international team of researchers offered a glimpse at something better than the seasonal flu shot. With a sophisticated combination of immunotherapy and gene therapy, they created an artificial antibody that protected mice against dozens of flu strains. The antibodies that the researchers used to create their mega-antibody come from llamas, rather than people. (New York Times)