Today’s NewsStand – December 19, 2018

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

Iowa News

Governor’s order calls for board to create plan for children’s mental health system
After weeks of meetings, the Children’s System State Board released its strategic plan November 15, a report to serve as a road map for the implementation of a children’s mental health system in Iowa. The comprehensive plan sent to Governor Kim Reynolds and state lawmakers identifies a target population and a timeline for a system that would include core services, stable funding and leadership. It’s up to state lawmakers to draft legislation to implement the statewide children’s mental health system, which the board recommends go into effect by July 1, 2020. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Children’s mental health: Young and struggling
Addressing the mental health of Iowans has been a priority of state officials and lawmakers in recent years, but it has not been the first conversation about the gaps in mental and behavioral health care for those aged 18 and younger. Many leaders throughout the state are confident Iowans will see movement on a system within the next year, in part due to recent policies on an adult system. However, it begs the question — why hasn’t there been a children’s mental health system before? And what is different this time around? (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Transplant recipient celebrates 25 years with donated liver
Brandon Dunham celebrated his 25th anniversary Thursday, but it wasn’t the usual kind. On December 13, 1993, Brandon became the first toddler to receive a liver transplant at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. His ground-breaking surgery made him the cover story of the February 1994 issue of UIHC’s Pacemaker magazine. Today, transplant recipients and donors gather, share stories and even compete. Brandon has won medals in swimming, bowling, volleyball and basketball at the World Transplant Games. (Clinton Herald)

National News

Texas ACA ruling complicates politics of Medicaid expansion
A Texas federal judge’s ruling Friday invalidating the Affordable Care Act could create political headaches for Medicaid expansion supporters in states that are moving to implement or maintain expansion. If it’s upheld on appeal, which is highly uncertain, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor’s decision declaring the entire ACA unconstitutional would eliminate federal authorization and funding for the expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults. (Modern Healthcare)

Effort to change Georgia’s CON laws gains more momentum
Following a similar move by a House panel, a Georgia Senate study committee has proposed some major changes in the state’s health care regulatory structure known as certificate of need (CON). Both the Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals voiced concern about the Senate plan. Ethan James of the GHA told the Senate panel Friday that CON “preserves access [to care] for all Georgians. CON, at its core, is about the uninsured.” (Georgia Health News)

For rural Americans, health care and hospitals can be far away
As a wave of hospital closures sweeps the country, rural Americans must drive much farther to the nearest hospital compared to their suburban and urban counterparts. That’s according to a new report from Pew Research Center, that calculated distance, travel time, and type of nearest hospital for more than 10,000 U.S. adults. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of rural residents surveyed said access to good doctors and hospitals is a major problem in their community, whereas only 18 percent of urban residents and 9 percent of suburban residents agreed. (Citylab)

Almost 17K Arkansans have lost Medicaid coverage due to work requirements
Nearly 17,000 people have lost Medicaid coverage in Arkansas because they did not comply with the state’s work requirements, according to new state data released Monday. Arkansas began phasing in work requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries in August. In the first three months the requirements have been in effect, more than 12,000 people were removed from Medicaid. (The Hill)