Today’s NewsStand – June 20, 2019

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

Iowa News

Lakes Regional Healthcare creates $19.3 million economic impact
Lakes Regional Healthcare generates 472 jobs that add $19.3 million to Dickinson County’s economy, according to the latest study by the Iowa Hospital Association. In addition, Lakes Regional Healthcare employees by themselves spend $6.4 million on retail sales and contribute $385,000 in state sales tax revenue. (Dickinson County News)

‘A lot of factors’ went into asking for DHS director Foxhoven’s resignation
Gov. Kim Reynolds on Wednesday declined to say whether disciplinary action or complaints played a role in her decision to ask for the resignation of the former director of the state’s health care department. Reynolds said only that “a lot of factors” went into her decision and that it is part of her ongoing work to appoint state agency heads who share her vision for a collaborative, efficient and effective state government. Underfunding, other program challenges led to UnitedHealthcare’s exit from Iowa Medicaid, executives say. (Southwest Iowa News)

University of Iowa Children’s Hospital makes gains in national rankings
More than two years after opening a state-of-the-art, $392.7 million Stead Family Children’s Hospital, the University of Iowa is starting to see gains in national rankings. This week’s new U.S. News & World Report tally of best facilities for 10 pediatric specialties puts the UI Children’s Hospital among the nation’s top 50 in six areas. Of the six specialties for which the UI Children’s Hospital earned top 50 placement in the 2019-2020 report made public Tuesday, four improved over last year and three achieved their highest ranking since at least 2015 — including Iowa’s best placed neonatology unit. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

National News

More Arkansans uninsured, unemployed post-Medicaid work requirement
After Arkansas established a Medicaid work requirement last year, significantly fewer low-income adults subject to the mandate reported having health insurance than the year before, and fewer had a job or were engaged in other qualifying community engagement activities, a new study found. The study cast doubt on the effectiveness of the CMS-approved Arkansas demonstration to get more non-disabled Medicaid enrollees into health-enhancing jobs, training or volunteer activities. (Modern Healthcare)

Key senators release bipartisan package to lower health care costs
A pair of key senators on Wednesday unveiled a revised version of their bipartisan package aimed at lowering health care costs, ahead of a committee markup expected next week. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) released the package, which takes steps to protect patients from receiving massive “surprise” medical bills when they get care from an out-of-network doctor. It also cracks down on anti-competitive clauses in hospital contracts with insurers that can drive up costs, and encourages the introduction of cheaper generic drugs. (The Hill)

Grassley announces opposition to key Trump proposal to lower drug prices
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Wednesday announced his opposition to one of President Trump’s signature proposals aimed at lowering drug prices. Grassley told reporters that he opposes a plan that Trump announced in October to lower the prices Medicare pays for certain drugs by tying them to lower prices paid in other countries, an idea known as the International Pricing Index.There has been some speculation that the Trump administration will not ever finalize the proposal, which has not yet gone into effect, and is instead using it as an incentive for industry to come to the table with other ideas. (The Hill)