Today’s NewsStand – March 28, 2019

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

Iowa News

Republicans should explain how they will pay for Medicaid work requirement
Iowa does not need approval from state lawmakers to pursue imposing work requirements on Medicaid recipients. So the GOP-controlled Senate passed Senate File 538. The misdirected bill directs the Iowa Department of Human Services to seek federal permission to require “able-bodied” Iowans to work, engage in community activities or be enrolled in school to utilize Medicaid. The bill is opposed by lobbyists representing hospitals, doctors, United Way, churches, public unions, the mental health community and numerous other organizations. (Des Moines Register)

Legislators talk mental health care spending
Senator Ken Rozenboom and Representatives Holly Brink and Dustin Hite returned to Oskaloosa for the final Eggs and Issues of the season. Each legislator gave a rundown of recent activities in the Iowa Senate and House of Representatives. Much of the discussion revolved around mental health funding. Brink said the SAVE bill was passed off the House floor and the representatives also passed a children’s mental health initiative. Brink said she didn’t know every breakdown but there is $3 million to help with teachers’ funding to help identify troubled children. (Oskaloosa Herald)

Agreement on better mental health care for Iowa’s schools signals larger shift
Mental health is an issue which has long been subject to societal attitudes, and American society is at a turning point in its views of mental illnesses and those who live with them. Society needs to be educated on what personal mental health care looks like whether they feel fine or are in a poor mental health state. Screening could also give children an opportunity to simply let off steam and express feelings they may not feel comfortable talking about with their parents. (Campus Chronicle News)

Supervisors to hire firm to help name, market new Behavioral Health Center
Since the beginning, what to call Johnson County’s new jail alternative facility has been in flux. The project aims to filling in treatment gaps for patients experiencing substance abuse or mental health crises. The project’s steering committee involves stakeholders from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the Abbe Community Mental Health, the Iowa Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health and Disability Services and representatives from county government, among others. This week, the group is picking a name befitting the landmark facility. (Iowa City Press-Citizen)

National News

Federal judge again blocks Medicaid work requirements
For a second time in nine months, the same federal judge has struck down the Trump administration’s plan to force some Medicaid recipients to work to maintain benefits. The ruling Wednesday by US District Judge James Boasberg blocks Kentucky from implementing the work requirements and Arkansas from continuing is program. More than 18,000 Arkansas enrollees have lost Medicaid coverage since the state began the mandate last summer. (Kaiser Health News)

Medicaid work requirement may lead to $3M average loss for Indiana hospitals, study says
Indiana residents on Medicaid may not be the only ones affected when the state implements work requirements for those receiving the benefit. Hospitals throughout the state could suffer financially, a new study says. The study estimated that Indiana hospitals would lose an average of $3 million per hospital, just under one-fifth of the $15.6 million in Medicaid revenue on average that each hospital receives. State officials and the president of the state hospital association, however, doubt the implementation of a work requirement will have such a severe impact. (Indiana Star)

Trump doubles down on Obamacare decision
President Trump on Wednesday defended his administration’s controversial decision to back a legal effort to strike down the entirety of former President Obama’s signature health care law. The move has rattled congressional Republicans, introducing an issue that Democrats feel they can use in the 2020 election to win back the Senate majority and even expand their House majority. But Trump on Wednesday showed no signs of backing down. (The Hill)

HHS moves forward with game-changing health care innovations
It would be easy to think the flurry of congressional investigations of the White House, the politics of the 2020 presidential campaign, and the paralyzing partisanship on Capitol Hill would combine to make it impossible for anything to get done in Washington. Think again. Flying somewhat under the radar, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has ramped up efforts to move towards a more innovative way to reimburse health care providers, which has caused a flurry of behind-the-scenes lobbying from all sides of the health care industry. (The Hill)