Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.
Iowa auditor alleges 2 Medicaid insurers violated contracts
Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand says two insurance companies that provide Medicaid services to two disabled Iowans in wheelchairs are violating their contracts with the state. Sand said Wednesday he’s notified the Iowa Department of Human Services that Amerigroup and UnitedHealthcare are not abiding by contract requirements that ensure services are not disrupted for clients. Sand says he was notified that home services are ending for two unnamed people in rural Iowa receiving in-home care who fear they may be placed in nursing homes. (Associated Press/KWWL)
Briar Cliff University announces a new master’s program to address mental health needs
Briar Cliff University has unveiled a new master’s degree program for nursing students. The school’s Department of Nursing will now offer a master’s degree for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners. That degree will include courses on how prescription drugs affect the brain and how patients of different ages respond to treatment. The new courses will begin this fall, with the goal of providing qualified advanced practice nurses and mental health care providers to Siouxland. (KMEG)
What’s behind the MercyOne name?
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare underwent a name change to become MercyOne, and it’s bringing patients and staff together as one. The big question, what comes with the name MercyOne? Wheaton Franciscan joined Mercy Health Network in 2016. In a move for change, MercyOne President and CEO, Bob Ritz promises one thing will remain constant for patients and staff, the meaning of the word care. The 2019 Iowa Hospital Association Economic Impact report says MercyOne made nearly a $250 million economic impact to the Cedar Valley. (KWWL)
Appellate court raises new threat to Obamacare
A federal appeals court this afternoon questioned whether Democratic states and the House of Representatives have the right to appeal a court ruling that declared all of Obamacare unconstitutional. In a surprise move that legal experts said added an unexpected threat to Obamacare, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asked who — if anyone — has standing to appeal the December lower court ruling after the Trump administration recently sided with red states who brought the lawsuit. (Politico)
Pressure builds to secure health care data
Momentum is growing on Capitol Hill to provide more protections for personal medical information as lawmakers work on drafting the first national data privacy law. Recent health data breaches have put a spotlight on the issue, which is likely to grow in importance as medical professionals shift more of their work online and increasingly turn to data and analytics to treat patients. Key congressional committees have been working to put together data privacy legislation since the start of the new Congress, with health data privacy likely to be in the spotlight. (The Hill)
Health care, immigration top issues at Democrats’ 1st debate
Ten Democrats railed against a national economy and a Republican administration they argued exist only for the rich as presidential candidates debated onstage for the first time in the young 2020 season, embracing inequality as a defining theme in their fight to deny President Donald Trump a second term in office. Health care and immigration, more than any other issues, led the first of two debates on Wednesday, with another to follow Thursday night. (Associated Press)