Today’s NewsStand – June 5, 2019

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

Iowa News

Mental health caseload takes a toll on hospital ERs
As community-based organizations and providers drop out of the already ragged patchwork of mental health and substance abuse treatment care, one room becomes the safety net for treatment and care: the emergency room. But as the elasticity of mental health care’s plan B of local hospitals appears to be stretched to its limits, providers across Iowa are wondering whether more help is on the way. “There’s definitely more (patients), and it’s more all the time,” said Sarah Naberhaus, director of Buena Vista Regional Medical Center’s emergency room and ambulance. “The severity seems to be increasing.” (Spencer Daily Reporter)

New programs, static funding strain Iowa’s mental health system
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds trumpeted the state’s newly-minted children’s mental health system, which calls for children’s services in Iowa’s mental health regions, regional crisis stabilization, mobile response teams, and 24-hour hotline access. While the state put $1.2 million toward home and community-based mental health services, no additional funding was given to the state’s mental health regions to coordinate the newly required children’s services. The regions are already tasked with overseeing the state’s adult mental health care system. (Dickinson County News)

A day with UnityPoint Health President and CEO Kevin Vermeer
Between driving growth, meeting clinical objectives and navigating complex payer dynamics, there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day for healthcare executives. Leaders succeed despite these challenges— and Kevin Vermeer, CEO of West Des Moines, Iowa-based UnityPoint Health is no exception. Vermeer first joined the health system in 2000 as CFO for Allen Memorial Hospital, a UnityPoint facility in Waterloo, Iowa. He then went on to serve as CFO for another UnityPoint hospital, before being named interim CEO of Unity HealthCare in Muscatine, Iowa. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

National News

House panel debates Medicaid DSH formula overhaul
A House health panel on Tuesday dove into a debate over whether Congress should use an upcoming deadline to overhaul the Medicaid disproportionate-share hospital funding formula. In a House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee hearing, lawmakers discussed a proposed full repeal of the so-called Medicaid DSH cuts, which were mandated by the Affordable Care Act, as well as other health funding measures. (Modern Healthcare)

Protecting sleep in the hospital, for both patients and doctors
Disrupted sleep can in fact drastically affect how well patients heal from the condition that brought them into the hospital in the first place. If sleep were regarded as a continuous infusion of a medication that helped a patient heal faster, provided them with emotional stability, and ensured they were in the best mind-set to understand the risks and benefits of that care, we would think twice about disrupting it. (New York Times)

States giving public option health plans a hard look
To offer a lower-cost option that’s reliably available to consumers, state leaders seek to build on the platform and payment system of existing state programs. They hope a public plan would increase competition, particularly in markets with only one carrier, and drive down premiums and cost-sharing for private plans. That likely would mean significantly lower payment rates to hospitals and other providers, which is why most provider groups strongly oppose the public plan model. (Modern Healthcare)