Today’s NewsStand – June 6, 2019

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

Iowa News

MHI Cherokee: A portal between the past and future of mental health care
As mental health care undergoes another period of transition in its history in Iowa, so too do the established state institutions society grew accustomed to turning to for care. In Iowa, where the number of state inpatient psychiatric beds ranks Iowa last, state administration actions have drawn increased criticism, particularly after closures of half of the state’s mental health institutes in July 2015. Though the formidable, red MHI building in Cherokee houses and serves many less patients annually now than at any of its peaks over the last 117 years, administrators say the need is still great. (Spencer Daily Reporter)

Iowa doctors seeing more cases of rare, blinding eye disease among contact wearers
A nagging suspicion formed among eye doctors relaxing in a University of Iowa Hospitals break room sometime around 2017. Acanthomoeba keratitis is a rare bacterial eye infection, but it seemed to doctors that an unusually high number of contact-wearing Iowans were being treated for the disease at the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. A small team of doctors reviewed the last 16 years of cases to confirm this hunch: The hospital system is seeing more cases of Iowans diagnosed with this diseases, more than doctors would expect looking at the population changes in Iowa. (Iowa City-Press Citizen)

‘Public Safety Task Force’ under consideration by Iowa’s governor
Following the country’s latest gun-related massacre last Friday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said Tuesday that she will talk to Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens about forming a public safety task force to study gun laws. “I want to start to look for opportunities where we can have some kind of public safety task force in place,” Reynolds said. “There’s just evil out there and then there’s also a lot mental health issues,” she said of those involved in violence. (WHO)

National News

AHA calls on CMS to reduce clinical documentation burden
The American Hospital Association contends that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has not done enough to cut the documentation burdens that clinicians face. AHA sent a letter to CMS on Wednesday with a number of policy recommendations that the hospital group believes the agency should include in its proposed rule for the Calendar Year 2020 physician fee schedule. (Health Data Management)

Poll: 1 in 4 Americans say cost led to skipping medical care
More than 1 in 4 Americans say they or a family member went without needed health care in the past two years because they felt they could not afford it, according to a new poll. The survey from Monmouth University released Monday finds that 27 percent of adults say they or a member of their household have avoided necessary medical care in the past two years because of cost. That figure is down slightly from 2017, when 31 percent said they had skipped care. (The Hill)

Immigrants help to alleviate US health care staffing shortage
In 2017, immigrants accounted for 18.2 percent of health care workers, according to a study published in Health Affairs. As the U.S. faces a shortage of health care workers, immigrants have helped fill some of the gaps. Migrants, in particular, are covering key shortage positions such as rural physicians, wrote Leah Zallman, an assistant professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the study. A growing elderly population and strict licensing requirements required of many health care workers has contributed to the shortage. (Bloomberg)