Today’s NewsStand – February 4, 2019

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

Iowa News

Catholic Health Initiatives finalizes merger with Dignity Health
Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health announced Friday that they have completed the process of combining the two health systems under the new name CommonSpirit Health. One thing won’t change, at least for the foreseeable future: The new system will keep the names of local facilities and services. Patients will continue to see CHI Health on their bills and paperwork from the health system, as well as on the sides of downtown Omaha’s CHI Health Center. (Omaha World Herald)

St. Luke’s raises awareness of heart health
February is American Heart Month, and Friday is National Wear Red Day. On Friday, Unitypoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital raised awareness for cardiovascular diseases, especially in women. Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott made a proclamation earlier Friday.  Cardiologist Dr. Shannon Hoos-Thompson said they have been working to promote the cause. “For fifteen years, we’ve been doing the Go Red for Women events. Just trying to take charge of it and really empower the community as much and powering the physicians and care providers,” Hoos-Thompson said. (Siouxland Proud)

Stewart Memorial partners with Lake City for ‘This Is Home’ project
Stewart Memorial Community Hospital has entered a partnership with the City of Lake City to bring community members, businesses, and financial sponsors together in support of residents in need of help. The program is called This Is Home. The goal of This Is Home is to have a one-day event to assist community members who may be in need of an extra helping hand from volunteers. (Fort Dodge Messenger)

National News

US judge throws out Maryland bid to protect Obamacare law
A U.S. judge on Friday threw out the state of Maryland’s bid to protect the health care law known as Obamacare in a ruling that also sidestepped a decision on whether President Donald Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general was lawful. Trump’s administration has taken several steps to undermine Obamacare after Congress failed in Republican efforts to repeal the law championed by Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama. (Reuters)

Transparent hospital pricing exposes wild fluctuation, even within miles
The federal government’s new rule requiring hospitals to post prices for their services is intended to allow patients to shop around and compare prices, a step toward price transparency that has generated praise and skepticism. Prices varied widely on some basic procedures, even for basic charges. The new rule mandates that the chargemasters be available on the hospital website in a machine-readable format, but not all hospitals make them easy to find, and understanding them is a bigger obstacle. (Kaiser Health News)

Utah’s limited Medicaid expansion bill could spark new waiver battles
If Utah’s Legislature passes a bill to replace the voter-approved Medicaid expansion with a more limited version that includes a work requirement and a per-capita cap on federal payments, experts say it will likely be challenged in the courts. The Utah waiver request may spark a fresh legal battle over state Medicaid modifications because it goes well beyond the work requirements and other changes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has approved so far in eight states. (Modern Healthcare)

Apple Watch, using Aetna client data, wants to help you be healthy
CVS Health Corp’s health insurer Aetna on Tuesday said it is working with Apple Inc on a new health app for Apple Watches that uses an individual’s medical history to set personalized health goals. Called “Attain,” the Apple Watch app will reward Aetna customers for meeting activity goals and fulfilling recommended tasks, such as getting vaccinations or refilling medications, with a subsidy toward the cost of an Apple Watch or gift cards for U.S. retailers. (New York Times)