Today’s NewsStand – March 29, 2019


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

Iowa News

Iowa Affordable Care Act enrollment declines
Approximately 11.4 million people enrolled in a health plan through the federal Affordable Care Act exchanges to cover the cost of their health care in 2019 — a decline of about 300,000 people from 2018, according to federal officials. In Iowa, 49,210 individuals selected a plan through the ACA exchange for 2019, a decrease of about 4,000 consumers who signed up during the 2018 open enrollment period, according to a report released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services this week. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Linn County Sheriff’s Office joins campaign to better address mental health issues
The Linn County Sheriff’s Office has another tool in its toolbox when it comes to responding to calls involving people with mental health issues. According to a news release, the sheriff’s office recently pledged to join the One Mind Campaign, part of an initiative started by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, a 30,000-member professional association that provides training, technical assistance and recruitment services for law enforcement agencies. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Peer to peer counseling program eases access to mental health services
Mental health services leaders in eastern Iowa are taking steps to make mental health services more easily accessible to those who need it. Beginning Monday, April 1, those seeking mental health support, whether they are new to the mental health care system, just need someone to talk to or are seeking additional services, can simply drop in the peer to peer support center at Vera French Mental Health Center. It is part of a larger effort by the Eastern Iowa Mental Health And Disabilities Region to expand services and remove barriers to those needing it. (WQAD)

On 42-6 vote, Iowa Senate endorses birth control access at pharmacy counter
The Iowa Senate has passed a bill that would let adult women in Iowa skip the requirement of a prescription and be able to buy birth control at the pharmacy counter. Republican Governor Kim Reynolds expressed support for this concept last fall and Senator Liz Mathis, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, praised the senate’s bipartisan 42-6 vote. Chris Cournoyer of LeClaire, another Republican who was just elected to the senate last November, said the bill will give Iowa women access to affordable birth control. (Radio Iowa)

National News

The fate of rural health care and country doctors
There are various reasons why rural hospitals are struggling, a key one being lack of physicians willing to practice in rural areas. According to a survey from physician recruiting firm Merritt Hawkins, physicians on average generate over $2 million a year for the hospitals with which they are affiliated. In the case of rural physicians, the number can be much higher. Without physicians to admit patients, order tests and perform procedures, hospitals lack the revenue they need to stay open. (Ramona Sentinel)

North Dakota doesn’t have enough psychiatrists. Telemedicine is helping to fix that
Until recently, when the North Dakota human services agency had an opening for a mental health provider, months might go by before a single application came in. But that’s started to change as the state boosts telemedicine as an option for mental health care. The department has started allowing providers who serve patients through its health centers to live in some of the state’s bigger cities and deliver mental health care to rural areas through video calls. (STAT)

Spotlight on 2018 Baldrige Award Recipient Leaders: Memorial Hospital
Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center (MHHCC), based in Jasper, Indiana, encompasses an acute-care community hospital, 32 outpatient clinics and medical practices, and an ambulance service. MHHCC has consistently earned 5-star ratings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for overall quality of inpatient care. For example, the organization has sustained a bedside medication verification rate of more than 97 percent, exceeding the Leapfrog benchmarks from 2013 to 2018, the year it earned its Baldrige Award. (Nist)