Today’s NewsStand – January 16, 2019

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

Iowa News

Kim Reynolds: Let’s train more psychiatrists to counter rural mental health shortage
Iowa could soon be cranking out twice as many new psychiatrists as it did in 2017, if legislators follow Governor Kim Reynolds’ plan to pay for more psychiatric training at the University of Iowa. Psychiatrists are scarce in Iowa, especially in rural areas. Only about 220 of them practice here, giving the state one of the deepest shortages in the nation. “Our efforts aren’t over yet. But by working together, we will have the best adult mental health system in the country,” the Republican governor said in her Condition of the State speech. (Des Moines Register)

Democrats warn Iowa GOP Senate rule changes will shut out public
Iowa Senate leadership says nothing will change despite committees adopting rules changes that eliminate requirements for a 24-hour notice of subcommittee meetings and that those meetings be public. “The action today by Senate Republicans demonstrates that they don’t want to listen to Iowans anymore,” Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, said Tuesday. According to her, Republican leaders have signaled that most Senate committees will eliminate the requirement that subcommittee meetings be open to the public. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Grassley: Top priority is to reduce health care costs
In a recent column, Senator Chuck Grassley shares his concerns with health care, specifically the escalating prices of prescription drugs are a daily concern for every American in need of them. In fact, it’s one of the top concerns he hears from Iowans at his annual 99 county meetings as well as through phone calls and emails. Congress must have a fundamental commitment to transparency. He has worked across the aisle to apply this standard throughout his time in the U.S. Senate, particularly in the area of health care. (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier)

National News

Clinics struggle to resolve fears over Medicaid sign-ups and green cards
Last September, the Trump administration unveiled a controversial proposal — a policy that, if implemented, could jeopardize the legal status of many immigrants who sign up for some government-funded programs, including Medicaid. The Trump proposal is still working its way through the public comment and evaluation process, and could go into effect as early as this year, though some state attorneys general say they would challenge any such policy in the courts. (NPR)

Rising drug prices strain hospitals, force budget cuts, study says
Rising costs of prescription drugs have strained hospital budgets and operations, forcing health systems to cut costs by reducing staff, a new study found. Hospital drug spending increased by 18.5 percent between 2015 and 2017, a rate far exceeding medical inflation for the period, according to a report prepared for three health associations by the research group NORC at the University of Chicago. U.S. community hospitals spent an average of $555.40 on prescription drugs for each admitted patient in 2017. (Chicago Tribune)

Kentucky residents again seek to block new Medicaid rules
Sixteen Kentucky residents have again asked a federal judge to block new eligibility requirements for Medicaid, but the partial federal government shutdown could delay a decision until after the new rules take effect. Republican Governor Matt Bevin is trying to change Kentucky’s Medicaid rules so some people would have to pay premiums and either get a job, go to school or do volunteer work to keep their health coverage. President Donald Trump’s administration gave him permission last year to do it, but a federal judge blocked the rules in June before they could take effect. (Associated Press)

Tribes face food and medicine crisis as shutdown continues, lawmakers are told
As the partial government shutdown drags on, Native American tribes in urban and rural areas are facing food shortages and a health care crisis because federal funds that stock pantries and provide medicine for diabetes and opioid addiction have been cut off, witnesses told a House committee Tuesday. In addition to the shutdown’s impact on indigenous people, citizen observers at national parks are reporting poaching of wild game such as deer, garbage piled high and trees that have been illegally cut as most park workers remain on furlough. (Washington Post)