Today’s NewsStand – August 29, 2019

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

Iowa News

Iowa City mental health care providers still struggle to get Medicaid payments
Nearly two months, since the latest MCO joined Iowa’s privatized Medicaid system, some health providers in eastern Iowa are still struggling to get the funds in order to make ends meet. Roger Goedken is the Executive Director of Successful Living, which works with Iowans living with mental illness. One month ago, he called the issues a hardship, now he calls it a gut punch. From Amerigroup, one of two Medicaid operators in Iowa, Goedken estimates his group’s outstanding reimbursements are higher than $100,000, or more than two-thirds what Amerigroup should pay them. (CBS2Iowa)

Eastern Iowa mental health region prepares for launch of new children’s system
Regional officials are starting to plan for how they will roll out Iowa’s new children’s mental health system. Mechelle Dhondt, CEO of Mental Health/Disability Services of the East Central Region, told members of a Dubuque County committee this week about services that officials will seek to establish in the coming years and what services already are available. The East Central Region includes Delaware, Dubuque and Jones counties. Regional officials also will look to hire a children’s service coordinator and hopefully expand access to therapists in schools, among other efforts. (Dubuque Telegraph Herald)

Vaping-related illnesses in Iowa tied to THC, prompting questions about e-cigarette use among youth
Three of the four young Iowans who experienced respiratory illnesses after using e-cigarettes said they used vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, a chemical in marijuana, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. Health officials reported more than 190 cases of severe respiratory illness among American teenagers and young adults who had vaped, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their symptoms, reported over the summer, include cough, fatigue, dizziness, headache, vomiting and diarrhea, chest pain and difficulty breathing. (Des Moines Register)

National News

Governor’s ‘mental health czar’ seeks new blueprint for care in California
In a career full of twists, turns and high-powered assignments, Thomas Insel may now be embarking on one of his most daunting tasks yet — helping California find its way out of a worrisome mental health care crisis. This year, he assumed a new role to help Gov. Gavin Newsom revamp mental health care in the state. Newsom called Insel his “mental health czar,” though his position is unpaid and Insel says it grants him “no authority.” Even so, he is zigzagging across California this summer, visiting mental health facilities to try to understand what works and what doesn’t. (Kaiser Health News)

Advocates sue in attempt to speed up Nebraska Medicaid expansion
Medicaid advocates in Nebraska have filed a lawsuit to try to force state officials to offer coverage sooner than the official 2020 rollout date. According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday by Nebraska Appleseed, the state will miss out on approximately $149 million in federal funding by delaying implementation of Medicaid expansion until Oct. 1, 2020. The lawsuit asks the state supreme court to rule that expansion must begin no later than Nov. 17, 2019. According to the suit, this is the latest possible date to open enrollment that would allow federal funds to pay for 93 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion. (The Hill)

As costs mount, states scramble for new ways to pay for late-in-life care
It’s the late-in-life financial hit that can wipe out your savings and your children’s inheritance. Yet few in middle age want to think about, or prepare for, a time when they’ll need “long-term care” — help with walking, dressing, or going to the bathroom. The cost of such care is growing as the population ages, straining family finances and Medicaid budgets. Holding out little hope that a gridlocked Congress will come to the rescue, states are jumping into the breach. At least a dozen are crafting policies to help millions of disabled seniors afford personal care assistance. (Boston Globe)