Today’s NewsStand – June 26, 2019

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

Iowa News

Surveys aid in addressing social determinants in rural health
A survey process that began this spring is assisting area health care providers with information to address social determinants in rural health.  The survey is currently being provided to patients at Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics (GMHC), three Cornerstone Family Practice clinics, Emergency Department, Patient Care Unit and Family Resource Center. GMHC staff and area agencies are now able to work together more closely to provide the care the community needs. (Clayton County Register)

Young adults with disabilities gain job skills through Project SEARCH
By her second day on the job, Samantha Dripps was already ahead of the game. But technically, this week wasn’t Dripps’ first time working in linen services at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s hospital. She spent a three-month internship there earlier this year as part of a program at St. Luke’s aimed at helping individuals like Dripps with a certain goal: find a job and keep it. Dripps, 25, is one of the participants who completed a program this year called Project SEARCH, a locally adopted national program that offers young adults with disabilities the opportunity to find and maintain employment. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Joan Becker’s mental health mission after her son killed Ed Thomas
10 years ago, Coach Ed Thomas of Parkersburg was gunned down in a makeshift weight room, just one year after he helped the community recover from a devastating tornado. Thomas’ son Aaron, who is now the principal at Aplington Parkersburg High School, admits the events of ten years ago will forever follow his family, but not define them. For Joan Becker, the mother of the man who murdered Coach Thomas, she has picked up the cause of combating mental health and how society views the illness, and treats those battling it. (KCRG)

National News

340B program helps rural hospitals stay afloat
Rural hospitals are facing a crisis, as many close or struggle to stay on top of rising expenses. But a new study shows that savings from the 340B drug pricing program are helping rural hospitals pay for other programs. The main finding from the report is that 95% of the surveyed hospitals are using savings from the program to fund other uncompensated care, while 90% are using the program to provide services like clinical and pharmacy services and other auxiliary services such as transportation, translation, and social services. (Managed Healthcare Executive)

Hospitals, insurers resist Trump’s executive order
Trump’s executive order calls for HHS to issue a rule requiring hospitals to make public information based on negotiated rates. Exactly what level of detail this will entail will be hammered out in the rule-making process, senior administration officials said on a call with reporters. The American Hospital Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans said opening the books on these secretive prices could reduce competition and actually increase prices, because providers will demand the highest payments any rival receives. (Politico)

Transforming care delivery to improve rural health
Name the most intractable problems of health care delivery in urban hospitals, and they are likely worse for rural hospitals. Rural providers contend with a sparsely concentrated population that tends to be older, sicker, and poorer than urban residents. These providers often work in geographic isolation within a crumbling or nonexistent healthcare infrastructure, with fewer clinical support options and chronic staffing shortages. Rural hospitals are asked to contend with even more factors that occur outside hospital walls, such as the poor health outcomes associated with poverty, unemployment, poor nutrition, and lack of care access. (HealthLeaders Media)