Today’s NewsStand – July 8, 2019

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

Iowa News

Grassley addresses health care during visit to Stewart Memorial Community Hospital
Senator Chuck Grassley toured Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) in Lake City and met with constituents Wednesday as part of a 12-county, three-day tour of the state. Grassley says he is currently working on bills that will increase transparency in the health care industry and open the market up to generic drugs. The future of rural, critical-access hospitals has grown increasingly uncertain in recent years. Grassley says steps are being taken to ensure places like SMCH, St. Anthony Regional Hospital and Manning Regional Healthcare Center remain viable. (KCIM)

Children’s mental health law takes effect; months of planning ahead
A new Iowa law creating the framework for a statewide children’s mental health system went into effect July 1. The system will still be in the planning stages for several months, so most families won’t have access to new services yet. First, a new state board is being put together to oversee the children’s system, and the mental health regions have to reconfigure their boards. The regions also have to figure out what children’s mental health services are already available, and then develop a plan by April 1 for developing additional services required by the new law. (Iowa Public Radio)

Woodbury County residents now getting mental health services from new regional agency
With financial and logistical details hammered out, Siouxland officials say a smooth path from one agency region to another assures that continuing quality mental health services will be available to Woodbury County residents. With the start of a new fiscal year on July 1, Woodbury County has officially departed the Sioux Rivers Regional Mental Health and Disability Services agency, and now functions as a member of the Rolling Hills Community Services Region. (Sioux City Journal)

National News

Obamacare repeal lawsuit faces major court test
Obamacare will be back in court on Tuesday in a closely watched case hanging over the health care system. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans will hear arguments in a lawsuit backed by the Trump administration seeking to overturn the entire 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA). Legal experts on both sides of the aisle say the challengers’ legal arguments are weak and the lawsuit is unlikely to ultimately succeed, but nothing is assured. Democrats are using the lawsuit to argue Republicans are a threat to the 20 million people who rely on Obamacare for health insurance. (The Hill)

With rural health care stretched thin, more patients turn to telehealth
A growing number of Americans are turning to telehealth appointments with medical providers in the wake of widespread hospital closings in remote communities, and a shortage of local primary care doctors, specialists and other providers. A recent NPR poll of rural Americans found that nearly a quarter have used some kind of telehealth service within the past few years; 14% say they received a diagnosis or treatment from a doctor or other health care professional using email, text messaging, live text chat, a mobile app, or a live video like FaceTime or Skype. And 15% say they have received a diagnosis or treatment from a doctor or other health professional over the phone. (NPR)

Trump says administration preparing an executive order on drug prices
President Donald Trump said Friday he’s preparing an executive order declaring a “favored nations clause” for drug prices, where the U.S. will pay no more than the country with the lowest prescription drug prices. The Trump administration is trying to shed more light on the health-care industry’s opaque pricing practices by requiring Big Pharma to include drug prices in TV ads starting this month. The president also issued an executive order last month requiring hospitals and insurers to disclose negotiated rates for services, as well as provide patients with out-of-pocket costs before their procedures. (CNBC)