Today’s NewsStand – February 18, 2019

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

Iowa News

State officials say Iowa Medicaid is improving – but providers are still concerned
It was almost three years ago that Iowa handed over its Medicaid program to private, out-of-state insurance companies. The governor has said she’s tired of hearing from health care providers who still aren’t receiving payment on time. But while things have been getting easier for some health care providers and the Medicaid enrollees they serve, challenges from the program’s start back in 2016 were enough to create lasting damage on their long-term success, one health care organization says. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

CHI Health’s new website matches patients with doctors who fit their needs
You’re looking for a new doctor, but you have no idea where to start. And you want a good fit, someone who gets you. A new website launched by CHI Health — on Valentine’s Day, no less — takes a page from popular dating apps, using an algorithm to help potential patients find a doctor who suits their needs and matches their profile. Matches are drawn from more than 130 CHI Health-employed physicians and advanced practice providers in primary care and women’s health. (KWBE)

Fixed-wing plane added to aircraft apparatus at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
The emergency department at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City is now using a fixed-wing aircraft to transport patients who need to be treated for serious injuries. It’s Hawkeye black and gold, complete with a tiger hawk on the tail wing. The plane can travel up to 700 miles, compared to a 125-mile radius for helicopters, according to a press release. It can also fly in weather that could ground helicopters. Officials said the plane also has room for patients’ families if they need to travel. (KCCI)

National News

CON battle heats up in Georgia General Assembly
The newly formed House committee on health care access heard from a stream of opponents and supporters of the overhaul of the current certificate of need apparatus. Hospital opponents of the bill told committee members that it would hurt health care, especially in rural areas. “We’ve been hit over the head on this,’’ Ethan James, a Georgia Hospital Association vice president, said of the legislation. It would do “tremendous damage to our rural health care system,” he said. (Albany Herald)

Hospital in rural Tennessee closes
For 62 years, Copper Basin Medical Center, an independently owned hospital with about 25 beds, served old mining communities of Polk County, which is home to 17,000 people in Tennessee’s southeastern corner. But mounting debt pushed Copper Basin to close its doors for the final time 16 months ago, becoming one of the growing number of casualties in an ongoing struggle to maintain rural hospitals throughout the state and the nation as a whole. (Tennessean)

Hackers are stealing millions of medical records – and selling them on the dark web
As health care providers store patients’ medical records digitally, some have left their files vulnerable to being exposed – and even sold on the black market, or the internet’s dark web. Hackers have stolen millions of records. A 2017 survey of health care providers found just 16 percent reported having a fully functional cybersecurity program. According to Protenus, a firm that helps health care companies protect data, there were 222 hacking incidents last year – up nearly 25 percent from 2017. In all, more than 11 million patient records were affected. (CBS)

Court allows House Democrats to join Obamacare’s defense
A federal appeals court is allowing House Democrats to defend Obamacare in a lawsuit threatening the future of the health care law. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals today granted the House’s petition to intervene in the case challenging Obamacare’s constitutionality. The court will review a federal judge’s December ruling that the entire health care law is invalid after Congress eliminated the penalty for not having health insurance. (Politico)