Today’s NewsStand – July 31, 2019

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

Iowa News

Gov. Kim Reynolds defends handling of Foxhoven ouster, claims she’s been transparent
Gov. Kim Reynolds suggested Tuesday that anyone who wants to know why she ousted Iowa’s human services director should go back and read past newspaper articles about problems in his agency. Reynolds, a Republican, told reporters she believes she has been transparent about why she asked former Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven to resign on June 17. The governor has repeatedly said she decided to go “in a different direction” with the department, but she declined Tuesday to say which direction that would be. (Des Moines Register)

Ames schools acting on change to address student mental health
As of July 1, a new mental health bill went into effect in Iowa that established a children’s behavioral health system locally, a state-wide board, and requiring certain children’s behavioral health core services. The new law requires each school district to provide an hour of training to each faculty member to help students who may be in trouble. Ames High School however, took that even further last spring and administered a day-long Mental Health First Aid session. (Ames Tribune)

MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center ranked number one in Des Moines, second in Iowa
MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center has been recognized as a Best Hospital for 2019-20 by U.S. News & World Report. MercyOne Des Moines ranks number one in the Des Moines metro area and second in Iowa. The annual Best Hospitals rankings, now in their 30th year, are designed to assist patients and their doctors in making informed decisions about where to receive care for challenging health conditions or for common elective procedures. (US News and World Report)

National News

CMS eyes smaller 340B hospital pay cuts in case of court loss
The Trump administration hasn’t given up on its 340B hospital reimbursement cuts, but officials have also come up with a smaller, alternative pay cut in case the CMS loses its ongoing court battle over the original plan. In the CMS’ newly proposed outpatient payment rule released late Monday, the administration walked a careful line. The steep Medicare Part B cuts to 340B hospitals will continue for now. Crucially for the 340B hospitals in question, the CMS has asked for responses on whether the remedy should be retrospective or prospective through increases to future 340B claims. (Modern Healthcare)

When the issue isn’t the affordability of health care, but the availability
Rural America is in the midst of a deep and prolonged crisis that resulted in 106 hospital closures since 2010. Hospitals faring the worst are mainly in states that refused to expand Medicaid. The factors that tie these rural communities together speak to the fact that a refusal to accept Medicaid expansion only exacerbated existing problems, like high rates of poverty, older populations, increased health risks, and a lack of investment by state and local governments. Hospitals are struggling financially because all of those factors combined lead to higher levels of uncompensated care. (Washington Monthly)

Medicaid expansion backers push ballot measures to sidestep GOP
Medicaid expansion advocates are eyeing 2020 wins in red states by taking the issue straight to voters, a strategy that yielded success last year in other Republican-led states. Proponents are petitioning Florida, Missouri and Oklahoma to include ballot measures asking residents if they want to broaden out the federal health care program to cover more low-income adults, many of whom are uninsured. When the question was put to voters last year in three states where Republic governors had resisted ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, the answer was “yes.” (The Hill)