Today’s NewsStand – February 8, 2019

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

Iowa News

Bill aims to ease vaccine requirements in Iowa
A new bill submitted at the Iowa Statehouse could prevent hospitals from imposing restrictions and other penalties against workers who refuse to get vaccinations like the flu shot. HF246 was submitted by Republican Representative Jeff Shipley of Jefferson. The bill would prevent “a hospital or health care facility” from discriminating or terminating any health care provider, staff member, employee, contractor, subcontractor or applicant who refuses to receive an immunization or provide an immunization to a patient. (CBS2Iowa)

Mental health courts being developed in Story County
Specialty courts have gained support in recent years due to their goal of relieving pressure on local jails and the court system. Iowa Public Radio’s River to River segment discusses a mental health court being developed in Story County to address the increasing number of defendants with serious mental health conditions who are caught up in the criminal justice system. The Story County mental health court has already taken on two clients as part of a pilot program. Organizers of the court are in the process of building protocols and standards for the program. (Iowa Public Radio)

Iowa non-profit to build bereavement suite at MercyOne Dubuque
MercyOne Dubuque will be one of the only two hospitals in the country with bereavement suites. “No Foot Too Small”, a nonprofit founded by Robin and Ryan Boudreau, is planning and fundraising to build a birth and bereavement suite to cater to families grieving a stillbirth or death of an infant. The founding of No Foot Too Small was originally inspired by the loss of the Boudreau family’s son Beau. (KWWL)

Leading indicators point to weaker Iowa employment growth
The Iowa Leading Indicators Index decreased 0.2 percent to 107.7 in December 2018 from a revised 107.9 in November. December’s decline was the third consecutive monthly decline in the index. The December report is preliminary and will be updated, however, because data on residential building permits was not available due to the partial federal government shutdown. With a 0.08 percent increase in December, Iowa’s non-farm employment index has experienced 14 consecutive months of positive growth. (Des Moines Business Record)

National News

Montana hospitals agree to help fund Medicaid expansion
Montana hospitals have agreed to pay a fee to help fund Medicaid expansion as the state’s share of the cost of the health care coverage increases, an official with the Montana Hospital Association said Thursday. Gov. Steve Bullock and state lawmakers made it clear they expected industries that benefited from Medicaid expansion to help pay to continue it. State officials have estimated that hospitals statewide saw their $400 million in uncompensated care drop by half as a result of Medicaid expansion, which covered 95,000 low-income adults on December 1. (The State)

Congress must finally address the outrageous cost of insulin. Lives are at stake.
Prescription insulin means the difference between years of life and a very quick death for more than a million Americans, including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and musician Bret Michaels. Both were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as children. So the outrageous and escalating price of the drug feels criminal. Congress must finally intervene to get the cost under control.  Type 1 diabetics spent $5,705 per person on insulin in 2016, according to a new report from the nonprofit Health Care Cost Institute. (Des Moines Register)

Medicare for all could take center stage in the 2020 election. Here’s what it means
Americans say they want better health care. How that will happen is still up in the air. Enter Medicare for All, a term that increasingly is being used by health care advocates, politicians and aspiring presidential candidates. The concept is the latest iteration of a complex discussion about medicine that goes back decades. The current goal: To come up with something better than the Affordable Care Act when it comes to giving more individuals access to care and reducing what they pay, while putting fewer burdens on medical industry. (CNBC)

Google parent company looking to partner on opioid rehab campus in Ohio
Google parent company Alphabet is partnering with a local health care provider in Ohio to back a treatment facility for those affected by the opioid epidemic. Verily, an experimental health care spin-off from Alphabet, said in a blog post on Wednesday that it will help launch OneFifteen in Dayton, Ohio. The facility will take a tech-focused approach to treating individuals with substance-abuse disorders. The opioid treatment facility marks the latest foray into health services for Google’s parent company. (The Hill)