Today’s NewsStand – November 15, 2018

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

Iowa News

How Iowa’s rural child-care crisis cost this town of 5,000 its only day care center
Stacy Williamson has relied for months on a patchwork of friends, Facebook solicitations and even her own boss to watch her 6-month-old son, Gabriel, while she works. It has always been difficult to find child care in Iowa Falls, population 5,048, the single mother said — and that was before the city’s only child care center closed November 2. Officials announced October 17 that Riverbend Child Care would close on November 9 after months of fiscal insolvency. But the budgetary crisis was so severe that officials shut the doors a week early. (Des Moines Register)

Mercy Health Network to expand rural telemedicine through federal grant
Mercy Foundation has been awarded nearly $93,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a project that will enable Mercy Health Network to expand telemedicine services at nine of its affiliate rural hospitals in southern Iowa. The project will be used by Mercy to provide access to specialty medical services through interactive two-way audio and video technology. The telemedicine services will primarily focus on diagnosing and treating patients in outpatient settings. (Des Moines Business Record)

New rehabilitation device for Dubuque patients at UnityPoint Health
Patients at UnityPoint Health in Dubuque now have another way to readjust to regular life, after recovering in the hospital. The Trans-Sit Car Transfer Simulator was donated to the hospital. Employees and patients were excited today as they got to cut the ribbon on the new car transfer simulator. Supervisor of Inpatient Care, Jennifer Demmer said it’s an important addition not only to the rehabilitation unit but to the hospital as a whole. (KWWL)

Now is the time to sign up for health insurance, courtesy of Obamacare
Iowans need health insurance. That may be one reason why voters last week ousted Congressmen David Young and Rod Blum. Both voted to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which has allowed thousands of Iowans to receive coverage through Medicaid and private insurers. Sending Young and Blum packing helped Democrats secure a majority in the U.S. House. This will help prevent a complete repeal of Obamacare. (Des Moines Register)

National News

CMS may allow hospitals to pay for housing through Medicaid
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Wednesday said Medicaid may soon allow hospitals and health systems to directly pay for housing, healthy food or other solutions for the “whole person.” In a speech supported by the Hatch Foundation for Civility and Solutions and Intermountain Healthcare in Washington, Azar said Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation officials are looking to move beyond existing efforts to partner with social services groups and try to manage social determinants of health as they see appropriate. (Modern Healthcare)

Obamacare enrollment down compared to last year
Fewer people are signing up for Obamacare plans this year compared to a similar period last year, according to data released Wednesday by the Trump administration. About 1.2 million people signed up for Obamacare plans in the first ten days of this year’s sign up period, which began November 1. In the first nine days of last year’s enrollment period, 1.5 million people signed up for plans — a different of more than 300,000. (The Hill)

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas partners with Texas A&M University Health Science Center
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas announced a $10 million commitment to the Texas A&M University Health Science Center on Tuesday morning that officials from both entities said will help to implement solutions to health care challenges and disparities facing rural communities in Texas. Byington said Tuesday that the partnership will lead, in time, to improved health care delivery, improve quality of health outcomes and work to lower costs for rural Texans. (Bryan-College Station Eagle)

More US kids get paralyzing illness, cause is still unknown
More children have been diagnosed with a mysterious paralyzing illness in recent weeks, and U.S. health officials said Tuesday that they still aren’t sure what’s causing it. This year’s count could surpass the tallies seen in similar outbreaks in 2014 and 2016, officials said. Fortunately, the disease remains rare: This year, there have been 90 cases spread among 27 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. (Associated Press)