Today’s NewsStand – September 6, 2019

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

Iowa News

Woman waits for second miracle but insurance companies stand in the way
More than 30 years ago, Dawn Thurman received the gift of life. Now she needs another miracle, but both Medicare and Medicaid stand in her way. Dawn has been waiting five weeks for the surgery. She thought Medicare and her Medicaid insurance provider, Amerigroup, would each pay for a portion of the surgery, and she would pay for the rest. But neither has responded to their questions. And it’s been weeks since the Thurmans contacted Madison, who said they would reach out to Medicare to solve the problem. (Quad-City Times)

Clinton medical centers integrate, streamline services
MercyOne’s busy year began with a rebranding of of its former self, Mercy Medical Center Clinton, followed by an agreement to partner with Medical Associates to provide comprehensive county health services. The partnership was something both corporations had looked at “for quite awhile,” said Julie Dunn, executive director of MercyOne Clinton Foundation and marketing. The merging of the services was a result of a loss of doctors in the community, Berentes said. During the past three years about 17 physicians stopped practicing in the community. Some retired. Some left, she said. (Clinton Herald)

Buchanan County Health Center and UnityPoint partner to open family medicine clinic
Buchanan County Health Center in Independence has partnered with UnityPoint Health to open up BCHC Family Medicine– Oelwein in the building. HealthFirstclosed back in June, less than a year after being open. The Buchanan County Health Center already has a standing relationship with UnityPoint, so administrators saw an opportunity to bring a bigger clinic to the town and expand BCHC’s footprint into Fayette County. The partnership allows them to bring more specialists to town and offer services like X-ray and 3D mammography. (KWWL)

National News

American Hospital Association, economists debate merits of mergers
A hospital trade group and healthcare economists squared off on the impact of hospital mergers, a debate that will continue to resonate amid an increasingly consolidated industry. The American Hospital Association Wednesday released a study it had commissioned that supports mergers and acquisitions, making the case that they reduced costs at acquired hospitals and boosted care quality. Economists hosted a discussion following the report’s release, sharing their research on how consolidation typically raises prices, often doesn’t produce the expected savings and can diminish quality. (Modern Healthcare)

Los Angeles County’s “public option” has  delivered change, but not the revolution some advocates want
L.A. Care was launched in 1997 by the state to manage the health care of Los Angeles County participants in California’s Medicaid program. But since 2013, it has also sold insurance to the general public through the state insurance exchange established under the Affordable Care Act. In the process, L.A. Care has directly competed with private health insurers for customers, exactly as many Democrats want a “public option” to do nationwide. The experience of L.A. Care shows the possibility of the public option to leverage change, but also the tough choices that loom in implementing the idea. (The Atlantic)

Budget impasse delays Initial Nov. 1 rollout of Medicaid managed care in North Carolina
The standoff between North Carolina’s state government power brokers over the state budget and Medicaid expansion has claimed a victim: the planned roll-out this fall of Medicaid managed care. N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Sec. Mandy Cohen announced Tuesday morning she was pushing back the Nov. 1 start date of Medicaid managed care, given the uncertainty caused by the lack of a state budget more than 60 days into the fiscal year that started on July 1. (North Carolina Health News)