Today’s NewsStand – January 7, 2019

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

Iowa News

Iowa Republicans consider work requirements for some Medicaid recipients
Some Iowans who receive publicly funded health care or other services would be subject to work requirements under legislation that Iowa Republicans say they may propose during the upcoming legislative session. Medicaid is the most likely program to be targeted. Iowa Republican leaders say the work requirements would apply to “able-bodied” adults and would help employers who say they have difficulty finding workers in a state with historically low unemployment. (Quad-City Times)

Lack of EMS funding could result in life-or-death situations
Rural counties across Iowa are struggling to fund emergency medical services, which could mean life-or-death scenarios for many residents who are at the mercy of state lawmakers. In Guthrie County, there’s a two-person crew on the clock at any given time at Panora EMS that’s tasked with covering the rural areas. Even though they’re stretched thin, emergency response personnel said they’re expected to provide an essential service without being treated like one. (KCCI)

Former medical clinic will house mental health services in Webster City
The first two tenants in a building expected to house health care and mental health services in Webster City have been revealed. The Hamilton County Board of Supervisors announced that HeadStart and Hamilton County Public Health will be moving into portions of the former Webster City Medical Clinic building. The county is in the process is working with the mental health region, Central Iowa Recovery, of which Hamilton County is a part, to negotiate funding needed for remodeling and developing the services that could be provided there. (Fort Dodge Messenger)

Construction wrapping up on new hospital in Rock Rapids
Construction is wrapping up on the new $28 million hospital and clinic building in Rock Rapids. The current local hospital owned by the Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital (MPCH) board of trustees is leased to Sanford Health and operates as Sanford Rock Rapids. Avera will assume the lease in 2019. The George Clinic will be operated by Avera when the new lease becomes effective. MPCH owns the clinic in George and it is part of the new Avera lease. (KIWA)

National News

State policy experimentation likely to create uncertainty for providers in 2019
The coming year will be one of state health policy experimentation that could lead to even wider healthcare disparities across the country. State initiatives could drive larger differences in insurance coverage rates, access to care and consumer protections. With Congress likely deadlocked for the next two years between the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate, states will be where any major health policy action takes place. Providers, health plans and consumers could face sharply different fates in different states. (Modern Healthcare)

After bitter closure, rural Texas hospital defies the norm and reopens
Five months ago, the 6,500 residents of Crockett, Texas, witnessed a bit of a resurrection — at least in rural hospital terms.A little more than a year after the local hospital shut its doors, the 25-bed facility reopened its emergency department, inpatient beds and some related services, albeit on a smaller scale. The late-July reopening of the newly named Crockett Medical Center makes it a bit of a unicorn in a state that has led nationally in rural hospital closures. (Kaiser Health News)

Dem-led House moves to join health care law case
The new Democratic-controlled House has moved toward defending former President Barack Obama’s health care law against a federal court ruling that the statute is unconstitutional, part of the party’s effort to use the issue to embarrass Republicans. The House has filed papers seeking to intervene in the case, Democrats announced Friday, which by itself is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the litigation. The House action’s greatest impact is likely to be political. (Associated Press)

Health care job growth outpaced nearly every other sector in 2018
The health care sector created one in seven new jobs in the United States in 2018, according to new preliminary data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For 2018, health care created a total of 346,000 jobs—nearly 29,000 new jobs each month—up from 284,000 jobs created in 2017. The 2018 figures include 219,000 new jobs in ambulatory services and 107,000 new hospital jobs. (HealthLeaders Media)