Today’s NewsStand – August 19, 2019

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

Iowa News

UnityPoint and Sanford deal reflects national trend
Nearly five months remain until the end of the year when one of Iowa’s largest hospital systems plans to merge with another system based inSouth Dakota, marking the latest move in an ongoing trend shifting the health care industry across the country. UnityPoint Health announced in June that officials had signed a letter of intent to explore a merger with Sanford Health of South Dakota. If combined into one, the systems would become one of the 15 largest nonprofit health operations in the country. State and national experts say this deal highlights the latest trend of the industry moving from small, locally controlled markets to regional and even national system powerhouses. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Mental health training puts Louisa-Muscatine teachers on path to help students
Louisa-Muscatine teachers focused for two days last week on developing mental health awareness skills and building relationships. The district worked with Please Pass the Love, a Des Moines-based school mental health nonprofit, on a training to get students “the help they need.” The district decided last year to do mental health initiatives, and staff went through training about the effects of negative versus positive environments on the brain. (Muscatine Journal)

MercyOne North Iowa’s new president: We need nurses, clinicians to keep up with growth
Rod Schlader has been in and around health care almost as long as he has been in Iowa. Schlader, who started on Aug. 11 as the new, permanent president and CEO of MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center, after a year of serving as the interim head, had a mom who was a nurse and was intrigued by the field even then.  “I’m really passionate about growth. In healthcare if you don’t grow, you usually go downhill. In order to grow, we have to be able to deliver personalized, compassionate, quality care. Also, in order to grow, we have to recruit physicians.” (Mason City Globe Gazette)

National News

After a rural hospital closes, delays in emergency care cost patients dearly
When Mercy Hospital Fort Scott closed at the end of 2018, hospital president Reta Baker had been “absolutely terrified” about the possibility of not having emergency care for a community where she had raised her children and grandchildren and served as chair of the local Chamber of Commerce. Now, just a week after the ER’s closure, her fears were being tested. Delays in emergency care present some of the thorniest dilemmas for nurses, physicians and emergency workers. Minutes can make the difference between life and death. (Kaiser Health News)

Rural hospitals say ‘Medicare for all’ would ‘close our doors’
Adopting a single-payer government health care program that covers all Americans would force more rural hospitals to close, according to hospital administrators from Texas to Maine. But predictions of further demise under a single-payer system may be overblown, according to research from the Congressional Budget Office. Universal health care would likely boost revenue at rural hospitals “because they take care of so many Medicaid and Medicare and uninsured patients today,” CBO’s Jessica Banthin told lawmakers at a congressional hearing in May. (WBUR)

Among hurdles for those with opioid addictions: Getting the drug to treat it
Buprenorphine is a drug that curbs cravings and treats the symptoms of withdrawal from opioid addiction. One of the common brand name drugs that contains it, Suboxone, blends buprenorphine with naloxone. Combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, it is one of the three FDA-approved medicines considered the gold standard for opioid-addiction treatment. To date, much of the research on barriers to buprenorphine access has focused on the fact that too few medical providers are certified to write the prescriptions. (Kaiser Health News)