Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.
Mental health region continues to look for funding solutions
Clinton County and Eastern Iowa mental health officials continue to look at funding issues within the county and the region. Eastern Iowa Mental Health CEO Lori Elam stressed the importance of all five counties in the Eastern Iowa Mental Health region, consisting of Cedar, Clinton, Jackson, Muscatine and Scott counties, levying at $30.78 per capita, which is the maximum levy rate for mental health in the Eastern Iowa Mental Health region, in fiscal year 2020. (Clinton Herald)
O’Brien County approves of EMS committee
O’Brien County is moving ahead with creating an advisory committee for emergency medical services (EMS). County emergency management agency coordinator Jared Johnson met with the board of supervisors on January 15 in Primghar for the second week in a row to talk about the creation of such a committee. Johnson wants all of the ambulance teams in the county to put together some notes before the committee’s first meeting that identify any needs that they have and bring that information to the gathering. (NWest Iowa)
Medicaid work requirement is about political posturing, not sound policy
The GOP idea to add a work requirement to Medicaid is a lame justification for pursuing bad policy. It would erect a barrier for Iowans seeking health insurance, not solve the state’s labor shortage. It will usher precious few toward a job. It will result in more paperwork and hoops for low-income people already struggling to navigate the maze of privatized Medicaid. (Des Moines Register)
Rural hospitals in greater jeopardy in non-Medicaid expansion states
Nearly a hundred rural hospitals in the US have closed since 2010, according to the Center for Health Services Research at UNC Chapel Hill. The closures and at-risk hospitals are heavily clustered in the 14 states that have not expanded. Those state decisions not to expand have deprived rural hospitals, which already operate with the slimmest of margins, of resources that could be the difference between survival and closure. (Stateline)
Can states fix the disaster of American health care?
For over a decade, we’ve been waiting for Washington to solve our health care woes, with endless political wrangling and mixed results. Around 70 percent of Americans have said that health care is “in a state of crisis” or has “major problems.” Now, with Washington in total dysfunction, state and local politicians are taking up the baton. Already states have proved to be a good crucible for experimentation. The California Hospital Association came out in full support of Newsom’s proposals to expand insurance. (Kaiser Health News)
Trump proposals could increase health costs for consumers
Consumers who use expensive brand-name prescription drugs when cheaper alternatives are available could face higher costs under a new policy being proposed by the Trump administration. The proposal, to be published this week in the Federal Register, would apply to health insurance plans sold under the Affordable Care Act. Under the proposal, insurers would not have to count the full amount of a consumer’s co-payment for a brand-name drug toward the annual limit on cost-sharing. (New York Times)
US drug overdose deaths eased in 10 states, CDC data show
America’s drug overdose epidemic eased in ten states, primarily in the West, with flat or declining levels between June 2015 and June 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At the same time, overdose deaths rose by about 500 or more in ten states, with Florida accounting for an increase of more than 2,000 deaths. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois and Ohio posted increases topping 1,000 fatalities. (Bloomberg)