Today’s NewsStand – July 10, 2019

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

Iowa News

Iowa doctor admits making Medicare false claims statements
A Webster City doctor has pleaded guilty in federal court to making false statements in Medicare claims. Federal prosecutors for Iowa say 76-year-old Joseph Latella pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of making false statements relating to health care matters. Prosecutors say Latella falsely declared he had spent more time with patients than he actually had at two nursing homes to qualify for more expensive billing to Medicare and Medicaid. (US News & World Report/Associated Press)

Man returns to Fort Dodge to help others with mental illness
It takes an unusual mind to dream up a place like Freedom Pointe. The unusual mind running it all is Randy Hoover, who started Freedom Pointe with help from Ken Hays, former Webster County community services director, and Bob Lincoln, CEO of the 22-county mental health region called County Social Services. Hoover was working as a teacher when his own mental illness sent him running from everything he knew in Iowa. He moved back to Iowa to open the center which sees about 83 clients. (Associated Press/US News & World Report)

Boone County Hospital implements new mechanical procedure
Boone Community Hospital recently performed their first robot-assisted knee replacement surgery last month. Dr. Craig Mahoney, from the Iowa Orthopedic Center, performed the surgery after advocating for the hospital to purchase the robot last October. The Board approved the purchase of the system in December with the staff being trained since then. According to Mahoney, the Boone County Hospital is one only two hospitals in the Central Iowa area that he is aware of doing this type of surgery. (Boone Republican News)

National News

Appeals court shows signs it will invalidate ACA individual mandate
A panel of federal appellate judges on Tuesday hinted they will rule that the Affordable Care Act’s so-called individual mandate is unconstitutional, but seemed skeptical that the entire healthcare law should fall because of that provision. Although a coalition of Democratic state attorneys general defended Obamacare before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, two Republican-appointed judges on the three-judge panel ripped into their argument that the individual mandate is now a choice rather than a command since Congress zeroed-out its penalty for not buying insurance in 2017. (Modern Healthcare)
California takes on surprise bills, over hospital objections
Lawmakers in Congress and state legislatures across the country have proposed bills to fix problems like this, especially in emergency situations where patients often cannot choose what hospital treats them. While most people agree patients should not have to pay in these situations, there’s little agreement on who should. It’s a debate now playing out in the California Legislature that’s pitting insurance companies and hospitals against each other. The California Hospital Association strongly opposes that approach. (Miami Herald)

Plan to change how some rural hospitals are paid would boost Kentucky hospitals
A Trump administration plan to change the way Medicare pays hospitals, and perhaps keep some rural hospitals from closing, would give some rural Kentucky hospitals a financial boost. A proposed rule would raise reimbursement rates, starting in October, for rural hospitals paid under the “inpatient prospective payment system” by reducing payment to the nation’s better-off hospitals. The Kentucky Hospital Association is in full support of the proposal, it said in a May 30 letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (Richmond Register)