Today’s NewsStand – April 12, 2019

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

Iowa News

Iowa House votes to fund $150 million raise promised to Medicaid management firms
Lawmakers in the Iowa House voted Thursday to give an additional $150 million to the companies managing Iowa’s privatized Medicaid program, fulfilling contract terms negotiated last year. Last August, state officials agreed to give 7.5 percent more state money to the companies managing Iowa’s privatized Medicaid program. In total, the state would be spending about $205 million more on Medicaid in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, than it did in the previous fiscal year. (Des Moines Register)

Iowa House approves $1.94 billion for health, human services
The Iowa House approved nearly $2 billion from the state general fund that — when coupled with federal funds — will direct more than $5 billion to state health and human services. On a party-line vote, 54-44, majority Republicans approved $1.94 billion to fund the state’s Departments of Aging, Public Health, Human Services and Veterans Affairs and the Iowa Veterans Home. That’s an increase of $30 million from the current fiscal year. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Technology expands Burlington’s Mental Health Services
Mental health services are expanding in Burlington, thanks to Optimae LifeService’s use of technology to provide remote-video telepsychiatry. Optimae Behavioral Health telepsychiatry patients speak with McGee through videoconference, with face-to-face visits occurring every two months. A nurse meets with each patient in person, answers questions and provides needed support. After the remote-video visit, the nurse meets with the patient to ensure everything about the visit was understood and that all orders are carried out. (KWQC)

National News

MACPAC urges Congress to retool Medicaid DSH cuts
Federal Medicaid advisors in their extensive annual report urged Congress to rethink Medicaid disproportionate share hospital cuts to nudge the money toward hospitals that need it most. The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) recommended that this serve as a step for lawmakers to recalibrate the DSH allotments which now “have little meaningful relationship to measures meant to identify those hospitals most in need.” Starting October 1, states are slated to see $4 billion in cuts to their DSH allotments—reductions that will particularly hit states that get high amounts under current law. (Modern Healthcare)

North Carolina’s path to Medicaid managed care gets complicated
Shifting North Carolina’s massive Medicaid program to a managed care system was bound to get messy. And so, it has. The ambitious plan – to pay managed care companies $30 billion over five years to handle the health-care needs of 1.6 million low-income North Carolinians – is expected to go live in November for 27 counties  in the state’s Piedmont and Research Triangle regions. But four of the eight managed care groups that bid for the Medicaid managed care contracts have filed protests with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. (North Carolina Health News)

Florida lawmakers weigh Medicaid work requirements
Florida lawmakers are considering requiring an estimated 500,000 Medicaid beneficiaries to work or show they are trying to get jobs to keep their health-care benefits, despite recent court rulings that have struck down similar requirements. Members of a House health care panel this week approved the proposal (HB 955), which is now ready to go to the full House. (Health News Florida)