Iowa Hospitals Outline 2019 Legislative Priorities

Iowa hospitals and their 74,000 employees across the state are on the frontline of maintaining and improving the health of Iowans by providing quality care services and leadership to community health initiatives. The Iowa Hospital Association (IHA), which represents all of the state’s 118 community hospitals, supports policies that:

  • Improve the experience of health care delivery.
  • Improve the health of the population.
  • Control health care costs.

State Fiscal Environment and Medicaid Policy

Policymakers must recognize the financial pressures hospitals are experiencing and act to ensure their continued viability. Medicaid policy must be developed and implemented in a manner that encourages providers to remain in the program and accurately reimburses for services provided to beneficiaries. IHA supports policies that:

  • Oppose further reductions to Medicaid as well as work requirements.
  • Provide adequate reimbursement for emergency room services.
  • Provide cost-based reimbursement to Critical Access Hospitals.
  • Restore retroactive enrollment.
  • Support “days awaiting placement” reimbursement.

Behavioral Health

Iowa’s hospitals remain committed to finding solutions to improve the state’s mental health system including the following initiatives:

  • Modernize commitment laws to ensure an efficient commitment process.
  • Designate state-operated Mental Health Institutes as Psychiatric Intensive Care Hospitals.
  • Develop a system of services and supports for adults and ensure that system gaps are addressed.
  • Provide appropriate authorizations and reimbursements for substance use treatment services.

Hospital Operations

Iowa’s hospitals are irreplaceable to communities and regions. To ensure hospitals continue providing essential services, the General Assembly should:

  • Expand and support programs that assist in recruiting and retaining health care professionals in Iowa.
  • Maintain the Certificate of Need process to ensure Iowa’s health care system remains sustainable and efficient.
  • Remove construction bidding mandates for public hospital construction projects that are not financed with public funds.

EMS Services

Having access to medical treatment in a timely fashion can be the difference between life and death. In some cases, the community hospital has taken on the role of providing backup or serving as the sole provider of ambulance and emergency medical services (EMS). But limited payment for these services under federal and state law means hospitals supporting this community benefit often do so at a significant financial loss. IHA supports:

  • Legislation to designate EMS as an essential service under state law.
  • Efforts to eliminate unnecessary administrative burdens across EMS providers.
  • Efforts to provide consulting and assistance in developing regional or inter-governmental restructuring of existing EMS services.

More details regarding IHA’s 2019 legislative agenda are available here.