Today’s NewsStand – December 21, 2018

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

Iowa News

President Trump signs Farm Bill, Iowa leaders react to new law
President Trump signed a multi-billion farm bill into law on Thursday, commemorating the moment on Twitter. With the bill becoming law, Iowa’s leaders are reacting to how the legislation will affect the state. “The 2018 Farm Bill was a must-do and a big-win for Iowa. The 2018 Farm Bill will strengthen conservation programs, provide critical mental health support to the agriculture community, support our nation’s dairy farmers and maintain a robust crop insurance program,” said Senator Joni Ernst. (KWWL)

Legislators hear concerns from area child advocates
An audience of nearly 30 child care workers, advocates and concerned citizens gathered at the Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Milford to address state legislators prompting discussion about coverage and payment reimbursement through Medicaid under the Managed Care Organization system, the availability of child care and support for parents and the mental health resources in the state. (Spencer Daily Reporter)

Spencer Hospital partners with local fire department to offer ambulance service
Members of Spencer Hospital and the Spencer Fire Department stand behind the department’s ambulance, which SFD will now house and operate due to a recent agreement where the department will serve as a backup to Spencer Hospital’s second ambulance team. “We’re really excited to collaborate with the Fire Department,” said Laura Manwarren, Spencer Hospital emergency department director. (Spencer Daily Reporter)

National News

As predicted, Arkansas’ Medicaid waiver is taking coverage away from eligible people
Six months into Arkansas’ Medicaid waiver, we now have direct evidence on the effects of taking away Medicaid coverage for not meeting work requirements. Unfortunately, it corroborates the most pessimistic projections. Since June, Arkansas has required some enrollees to document that they work or engage in other work activities for at least 80 hours per month, unless they report that they qualify for limited exemptions. As of December 1, nearly 17,000 Arkansas Medicaid beneficiaries have lost coverage due to the new requirements. (Center on Budget Priorities)

Coverage denied: California Medicaid patients as layers of private companies profit
California’s Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal, has determined that the Long Beach company, which was paid to coordinate care for about 400,000 patients, improperly denied or delayed care for at least 1,400 of them, state officials confirmed. The state Department of Managed Health Care is investigating further. Government oversight, not rigorous to begin with, fades as taxpayer money filters down through layers of companies eager to seize on Medicaid’s substantial growth under the Affordable Care Act. (California Healthline)

Rural health care in Texas needs moonshot to reverse downward trajectory
In many rural communities across Texas, the health care delivery systems are on life-support or nonexistent — leaving too many Texans vulnerable with limited or no access to care. In a state as resourceful as Texas, this is unacceptable. Currently, 170 of the 254 counties in Texas are rural with nearly 20 percent of the state’s population — or more than 3 million people – still residing in what can be considered “rural” areas. (Houston Chronicle)

Unemployment, income affect life expectancy
Researchers have long said that health disparities are heavily influenced by where you live. New data from the National Center for Health Statistics show just how much your neighborhood can impact the length of your life. The Associated Press found that certain demographic qualities — high rates of unemployment, low household income, a concentration of black or Native American residents and low rates of high school education — affected life expectancy in most neighborhoods. (Associated Press)