Today’s NewsStand – June 12, 2019

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

Iowa News

Pella hospital adds more than $35 million to local economy
Pella Regional Health Center generates 787 hospital jobs that add more than $35 million to Marion County’s local economy, according to the latest study by the Iowa Hospital Association. In addition, Pella Regional’s employees contribute more than $7.1 million in retail sales and more than $428,000 in sales tax. The study examined the jobs, income, retail sales and sales tax produced by hospitals and the rest of the state’s health care sector. (KNIA)

Schools benefit from $2.1 million for children’s mental health
Teachers in Des Moines metro schools will start the summer off with additional $2.1 million appropriated toward addressing children’s mental health in schools, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced on Monday. The state funding will provide professional development services for staff, including Youth Mental Health First Aid training. The funding also provides Iowa Area Education Agencies access to online resources for mental health support. (Des Moines Business Record)

UnityPoint launches $100M venture fund to invest in digital health
UnityPoint Health is stepping up to invest in digital health and healthcare services solutions with a new $100 million venture fund, UnityPoint Health Ventures Innovation Fund. The fund will look to invest in early-stage companies with a focus in digital health, medical devices, therapeutic spaces and health care services. The move mirrors some other major healthcare companies, including health insurance giant Cigna, which launched a venture capital fund, Cigna Ventures, last year to invest in startups and growth-stage companies in areas that included digital health. (Healthcare Exec)

National News

Physician, hospital groups gear up for fight on surprise medical bills
Debate over Congress’ proposals to ban surprise medical bills has intensified, as physicians, hospitals and insurers war over legislation. Hospital and specialty physician groups intensely oppose any measure that sets hard limits on their rates or their contract practices—arguing that such a policy gives insurers too much leverage. American Hospital Association Executive Vice President Tom Nickels likewise opposes a “fixed payment amount” for out-of-network care. (Modern Healthcare)

More than a dozen hospitals in rural Michigan at ‘high risk’ of closing
Health care analysts now warn that more than a dozen rural hospitals scattered across Michigan risk the same fate, as fiscal pressures, staff recruitment troubles and dwindling patient numbers push them to the brink. According to Chicago-based national health care consulting firm Navigant, 18 rural hospitals in Michigan are at high risk of closing – about one-in-four rural hospitals in the state, and ninth highest such percentage in the nation. (Bridge Michigan Health Watch)

Medical groups go to bat for Oklahoma Medicaid expansion
Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma would bring health care coverage to 153,000 to 196,000 uninsured Oklahomans, according to a court filing last week. “Medicaid expansion can be expected to offer Oklahoma better health and mental health outcomes, increased access to services and medicine and financial stability for both families and health care providers,” according to the joint filing from the Oklahoma Hospital Association, the Oklahoma State Medical Association, the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association, the Oklahoma Nurses Association and Tulsa’s Saint Francis Health System. (Tulsa World)