Today’s NewsStand – January 9, 2019

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

Iowa News

Iowa Hospital Association a resource for hospital, health care transparency
The Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) was featured on KNIA’s “In Depth” news feature. Scott McIntyre with IHA spoke about how IHA serves as a resource for all of Iowa’s hospitals, especially with the new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services new transparency rules which were effective January 1. Hospitals are now required to post their prices for various procedures to the public and hospitals have been handling it very well. (KNIA)

Sand says new Medicaid review to go beyond ‘price tag’ data
State Auditor Rob Sand is planning what he describes as a more thorough review of how private companies are running the state’s Medicaid program, but he is not predicting when that review may be completed. Republican State Auditor Mary Mosiman released her staff’s review of Medicaid in late November — concluding the state will save $126 million this year because of the shift to privately managed care of Medicaid patients. Sand suggests Medicaid patients and Iowa taxpayers need to know more than just the price of Medicaid coverage. (Radio Iowa)

One year after significant reforms, mental health care challenges remain
Iowa’s mental health care delivery system received a massive overhaul in 2018 that was well-received by mental health care advocates. The reforms created critical access centers for people experiencing an immediate mental health crisis and a statewide crisis hotline, removed a cap on the number of beds a health care facility can house and more. But more significant work remains ahead for state lawmakers. (Sioux City Journal)

Iowa City doctor literally climbs mountains to help those in need
Doctor Lori Beireis has been with Mercy Iowa City for more than thirteen years. She’s an internal medicine physician whose practice extends far beyond eastern Iowa, thousands of feet into the air. For the past few years, she’s been traveling the globe, trekking up mountains as a volunteer to help climbers as they pursue the highest parts of the globe. Beieries is often treating something she calls mountain sickness. It happens when a person is exposed to the reduced air pressure and lower oxygen of high elevations. On the peaks of the world’s tallest mountains, it can be deadly. (KCRG)

National News

Montana governor touts new line of support for Medicaid expansion — it benefits businesses
As the Montana Legislature starts its 90-day session, during which the debate over if and how to continue Medicaid expansion in the state is expected to take center stage, the governor is focusing on a new line of support for the program — its benefit to businesses. Gov. Steve Bullockhas touted plenty of facts and figures, from number of Montanans who gained health insurance and accessed critical medical procedures and preventative care, to reports showing the program has a positive effect on the state’s economy and preserved the financial stability of rural hospitals. (The Missoulian)

New Hampshire Hospital Association joins lawsuit against state over psychiatric care
The New Hampshire Hospital Association is jumping into a lawsuit against the state over the boarding crisis for psychiatric patients, arguing that state officials are failing to provide timely care to patients by keeping them in emergency rooms. In recent years, as New Hampshire faces bed shortages in its mental health outpatient facilities, patients seeking psychiatric care have been made to wait in emergency rooms for spots to open up. (New Hampshire Concord Monitor)

Washington governor, NY mayor push expanded health coverage
Washington’s governor and New York City’s mayor unveiled major initiatives to expand health insurance coverage Tuesday, the latest moves by key Democratic leaders to address Trump administration health policies they say are keeping people from getting the care they need. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a likely presidential candidate, proposed a publicly run health insurance option for state residents who are not covered by private employers and buying insurance off the marketplace created under former President Barack Obama’s health care law. (Associated Press)

GOP seeks health care reboot after 2018 losses
Republicans are looking for a new message and platform to replace their longtime call to repeal and replace Obamacare, after efforts failed in the last Congress and left them empty-handed in the 2018 midterm elections. Republican strategists concede that Democrats dominated the health care debate heading into Election Day, helping them pick up 40 seats in the House. While Trump is focused on raising the profile of illegal immigration during a standoff over the border wall, other Republicans are quietly looking for a better strategy on health care, which is usually a top polling issue. (The Hill)