Today’s NewsStand – December 11, 2018

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

Iowa News

DHS director wants 2% more funding, most of increase goes to private Medicaid providers
Iowa Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven gave a budget hearing Monday for the coming year that used few numbers but expressed optimism. In the documents that accompanied his presentation, Foxhoven requested $1,782,644,841, a two percent increase in general funds for the next fiscal year. Nearly $27 million of that $35 million increase would go to private companies that have taken over Medicaid delivery services. (WHO)

Projected physician assistant shortage may hit rural Iowa
A recent University of Iowa study projects a shortage of physician assistants (PAs) as 32 percent of the state’s PAs were age 50 or older in 2015 and may retire within the next 15 years. This has the potential to compound difficulties for health care institutions across the state which are already facing a shortage of primary care physicians going forward, especially in many rural areas which have become more reliant on PAs to meet the growing needs of an aging population. (Spencer Daily Reporter)

Iowans inspired legislation to hold drug manufacturers accountable
After Iowans raised their concerns about EpiPen, Senator Chuck Grassley looked into the issue and was stunned to learn that the price of the drug had increased more than 400 percent between 2006 and 2016. That was the catalyst for his years-long oversight effort to get to the bottom of EpiPen’s extreme price hike. As a result of the oversight and in light of the defects discovered in current law, he introduced the Right Rebate Act of 2018. (Des Moines Register)

National News

Hospital-acquired infections are declining
The risk of getting a hospital-acquired infection is decreasing. In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that in 2015, hospital-acquired infections had declined to 3.2 percent of patients, from 4 percent in 2011. The researchers propose some possible reasons for the decrease. Between 2011 and 2015, 603 American hospitals implemented new safety guidelines for catheter use, which may have contributed to the reduction in urinary tract infections. (New York Times)

Decision still pending on Ohio’s Medicaid work requirement
It’s been seven months since the state asked the federal government for permission to impose work requirements on those receiving Medicaid. Those in Ohio familiar with the process say the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is approving waivers based on the order they were received, meaning Ohio’s turn should be soon. So far, CMS has approved five of the 14 waivers that would, among other things, establish minimums on the number of hours needed to be worked to be eligible for Medicaid. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Oklahoma seeks Trump approval on Medicaid work requirements
The Trump administration is set to consider Oklahoma’s plan for work requirements in its Medicaid program, as the state formally submitted its request late last week. If the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approves the request, certain “able-bodied” Medicaid beneficiaries will be required to work, volunteer, or go to school for 80 hours a month beginning Feb. 1. If they fail to meet the requirements for three months, they will have their coverage removed until the requirements are met. (The Hill)

Increased breast cancer risk might last decades after childbirth, study says
Compared with women who have never had children, women who have given birth may have an increased breast cancer risk that continues for up to 23 years after their most recent birth, according to a new study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday. “What we saw was this pattern where risk was highest about five years after birth, and then it gradually declined as time went on,” said Hazel Nichols, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, who was first author of the study. (CNN)