Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.
Iowa sued over prohibition on Medicaid for gender surgery
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa filed a lawsuit Friday challenging a new state law that prohibits the use of Medicaid funding for gender reassignment surgery. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill on May 3 that included language amending the state’s Civil Rights Act so that government officials are not required to pay for gender reassignment surgery. The lawsuit filed in state court asks a judge to declare the measure invalid because it’s unconstitutional and order the state to halt enforcement. (Associated Press/Washington Post)
Medicaid MCO reps to visit Fort Dodge
Representatives of the two remaining managed care organizations that will be running Iowa’s Medicaid system will be in Fort Dodge Tuesday to answer questions from local residents. United Healthcare, which currently manages care in the Medicaid program, will stop doing so on July 1. Its clients will be reassigned to Amerigroup or Iowa Total Care. Amerigroup has been managing care under the Medicaid program since former Gov. Terry Branstad privatized the system in April 2016. Iowa Total Care is new to the program. (Fort Dodge Messenger)
University of Iowa prototyping hub aims to win hearts and minds – by 3D printing them
Advancements in medical technology soon could help Iowa surgeons visualize exactly what is wrong with a patient’s organ — before they make their first incision. About 66 people, many with health care backgrounds, passed around synthetic hearts and vertebrae Thursday morning and afternoon at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, as they listened to presentations on the 3D printing technology that produced them, and its future applicability. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)
What’s doctor burnout costing America?
Doctor burnout is costing the US health care system a lot — roughly $4.6 billion a year, according to a study published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine. To put a price on burnout, the study authors culled data from recent research findings and reports — including direct or inferred findings on doctors cutting back on hours or quitting as a result of burnout. They ran a mathematical model to estimate the costs associated with burnout, focusing on the costs of replacing physicians and lost income from unfilled positions. (Iowa Public Radio)
Health law improved access to cancer treatment, studies show
New studies suggest the 2010 Affordable Care Act has modestly improved Americans’ timely access to cancer treatment, and may have smoothed some racial disparities in patient access. Researchers said the health law’s expansion of insurance coverage, including the enlargement of the government Medicaid insurance program for lower-income people in many states, boosted rates of diagnosis and treatment of patients with certain cancers at earlier stages. (Wall Street Journal)
Centene will retain WellCare’s two top execs after merger
Managed-care insurer Centene Corp. will retain two top executives of WellCare Managed Health Plans in leadership positions upon completion of its $17.3 billion acquisition of the company, Centene announced Friday. The American Hospital Association urged the U.S. Justice Department to “investigate thoroughly” the merger, arguing it will reduce competition in the Medicaid managed-care and Medicare Advantage markets. Combined, the two insurers would cover nearly 22 million people in Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and exchange plans. (Modern Healthcare)