Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.
Will Rob Sand, Iowa’s new auditor, be the taxpayers’ watchdog or a Democratic attack dog?
Rob Sand, Iowa’s incoming Democratic state auditor, is positioned to become his party’s strongest defense against Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Republican Party’s lock on state government. Just don’t expect Sand to frame it that way. Sand said that reality won’t impact his role as state auditor, a position often described as the “taxpayers’ watchdog” who investigates finances within state government. (Des Moines Register)
UI Hospitals CEO: The future involves growth, collaboration
Already the state’s largest hospital system, University of Iowa (UI) Health Care recently added to its sprawling footprint a 507,000-square-foot, 14-floor Stead Family Children’s Hospital. It also built a 61,067-square-foot North Dodge Clinic on the east side of Iowa City, is expanding its Iowa River Landing clinic in Coralville and has extended its reach across the region and state with quick-care clinics and hospital collaborations. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)
Idol winner Maddie Poppe visits University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital
Maddie Poppe, an Iowa native and a winner on the reality TV series “American Idol,” visited the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital on Monday. In a post on the hospital’s Facebook page, Poppe is seen interacting with patients and their families. She posed for selfies and other photos, played her guitar, and gave out copies of her album. (KCRG)
Without Obamacare penalty, think it’ll be nice to drop your plan? Better think twice
Millions of people are likely to dump their health insurance because of a provision in last year’s Republican tax bill that repeals the Obamacare tax penalty, starting in 2019, by zeroing out the fines. If you’re considering dropping your plan and risking the devastating financial consequences of an unexpected medical expense, check first to see if you can lower your premium. (Kaiser Health News)
Bipartisan senators introduce new drug pricing bill
A bill introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) will seek to crack down on the tactics used by drug companies like Mylan to overcharge taxpayers for Medicaid rebates. The bill would give the Department of Health and Human Services new authority to reclassify a drug and recoup rebates when a manufacturer deliberately misclassifies a drug in order to pay lower rebates. (The Hill)
In grandma’s stocking: An Apple Watch to monitor falls, track heart rhythms
For more than a decade, the latest Apple products have been the annual must-have holiday gift for the tech-savvy. That raises the question: Is the newest Apple Watch on your list — either to give or receive — this year? This Apple Watch includes new features designed to detect falls and heart problems and is a perfect present for older people. (Kaiser Health News)
Government investigation finds flaws in the FDA’s Orphan Drug Program
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has failed to ensure that drugs given prized rare-disease status meet the intent of a 35-year-old law, federal officials revealed in a report Friday. The Government Accountability Office, which spent more than a year investigating the FDA’s orphan drug program, said “challenges continue” in the program that was created to spur development of drugs for diseases afflicting fewer than 200,000 patients. (HealthLeaders Media)