Today’s NewsStand – August 6, 2019

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

Iowa News

Marshalltown hospital to close its birthing unit, citing declining patient numbers
Marshalltown will soon join the growing list of Iowa towns without birthing centers. The Marshalltown hospital announced Monday that it would close its obstetrics unit and women’s health clinic in September. The hospital said the facility can’t afford to keep the unit open because too few women are choosing to have their babies there. Since 2000, 33 of Iowa’s 118 community hospitals have closed their birthing units, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. Most of those closures have happened at smaller facilities than the 49-bed Marshalltown hospital. (Des Moines Register)

Iowa mental health advocates: Blaming mental illness for mass shootings creates stigma
After two mass shootings in 24 hours, mental health advocates are concerned with how some are placing the blame on mental illness. Peggy Huppert, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Iowa, said this narrative creates a stigma around mental health. Huppert said the stigma created around these incidents may be pushing people away from getting the help they need. Legislators have brought up “red flag” laws and other legislation as possible solutions, but mental health advocates say that’s not enough. (WHO)

More depression, drug use reported by University of Iowa students
University of Iowa students are engaging in far less high-risk and binge drinking than they did a decade ago, but mental health concerns are on the rise, according to new data from the National College Health Assessment survey. Nearly 18 percent of the 568 UI undergraduates who completed the 2019 health survey reported being diagnosed or treated for depression in the last year. That’s double the 9 percent reported five years ago, where it had held steady since 2009. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

National News

How hospitals are working toward zero maternal deaths
The causes for the escalating rates of maternal mortality are multifaceted and include a lack of consistent access to comprehensive care and persistent racial disparities in health and healthcare. That’s why hospitals and health systems are redoubling our efforts to make sure women have safe pregnancies and positive health outcomes across the continuum of care. The American Hospital Association has called on hospitals to evaluate and act on their data, examine disparities, engage mothers and families and partner with clinicians and stakeholders in our community to ensure women are getting the care they need before, during and after pregnancy. (Fierce Healthcare)

CMS wants to force hospitals to reveal negotiated rates. Can it do that?
The Trump administration believes it has the authority to compel hospitals to reveal secret pricing information tucked into their contracts with insurance plans, but the case isn’t entirely clear-cut. A legal challenge to the proposed rule requiring the disclosure from hospitals and insurance companies is likely, and experts are split on the odds payers and providers could beat back the effort in court. Hospitals and insurers are loathe to share payer-specific negotiated prices, arguing it would harm patients in the form of higher prices or limited access to care. (Healthcare Dive)

California hospital earthquake regulations could cost billions, forcing closures, officials say
California hospitals are asking lawmakers to scale back some earthquake standards. Most hospitals have met a 2020 deadline for standards designed to keep hospital buildings from collapsing during an earthquake. A 2030 deadline also requires hospital buildings to stay open after an earthquake. A study paid for by the California Hospital Association says to comply with that 2030 request it could cost as much as $143 billion. Hospital officials say that might force some hospitals to close. (ABC7)