Today’s NewsStand – September 19, 2019

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

Iowa News

‘GameDay’ sign asked for beer money. It sparked children’s hospital fundraiser.
The crudely drawn sign was supposed to be a joke. Carson King took Sharpie to poster board Friday night and sketched out a simple plea: “Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished.” The 24-year-old added his Venmo handle and crossed his fingers that someone watching ESPN’s “College GameDay” the next morning would see the sign and send him a “couple dollars” for his favorite beer. His wish was granted. King says he had been sent about $35,000 by Wednesday morning and his once-humorous endeavor has transformed into a fundraiser for a local children’s hospital, backed by major brands, including Busch. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

UI physicians expanding access to medication for opioid addiction
When Iowans addicted to opioids have tried to quit using — either by stopping entirely or seeking daily treatment at a clinic — if that initial effort doesn’t work, they quickly run out of options. They have even fewer options if they’re on Medicaid, are uninsured or live in rural areas. To confront these challenges, about two years ago the University of Iowa Opioid Addiction Clinic started prescribing buprenorphine, the first approved medication to be dispensed by physicians to treat opioid dependency. For many people addicted to opioids, having access to buprenorphine is a life or death situation. (Iowa City Press-Citizen)

Lucas County Health Center Continues to Improve Index Rankings
Lucas County Health Center has received their latest Hospital Strength Index Performance Report from The Chartis Group. The Hospital Strength Index is the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural hospital performance and is the foundation for many of rural healthcare’s most prominent awards, including the National Rural Health Association’s Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals. “This ranking reflects all our staff’s efforts in improving the quality of care for our community,” said Brian Sims, CEO. “I could not be prouder of our providers, leaders, and staff.” (Lucas County Health Center)

National News

Court win may not solve hospitals’ site-neutral pay problem
While hospitals groups have welcomed a federal judge’s ruling against the CMS’ expansion of site-neutral payments for basic doctor’s visits, some analysts see it as a short-term solution that can’t survive as a long-term strategy. U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer’s ruling Tuesday sealed the divide between the Trump administration and hospitals in the push to lower costs. But policymakers and regulators will continue to push for deep payment reforms despite the recent loss. At the very least, economists who have pushed for site-neutral payment reforms for a long time say the shift won’t go away any time soon since both liberals and conservatives support the change. (Modern Healthcare)

Hospital market concentration on the rise, along with prices
Nearly three-quarters of metro areas had highly concentrated hospital markets in 2016 and 13% were very highly-concentrated, according to a new report from the Health Care Cost Institute. Researchers found metro areas where hospitals markets became more concentrated also had larger increases in inpatient prices and vice-versa. The correlation held true when looking at only areas with merger activity. The American Hospital Association said the HCCI report doesn’t consider consolidation among insurance companies. (Healthcare Dive)

Nebraska nursing shortage expected to rise 34% by 2025. This is what hospitals are doing to keep up
Trying to keep up with the demand for nurses in Nebraska, as in the rest of the nation, involves hitting a moving target. To better track current demand and forecast future demand, the Nebraska Center for Nursing developed a new workforce supply and demand model. It factors in variables that affect demand — such as residents’ age, disease prevalence, available hospital beds — and projects it for nine economic regions of the state. To address that problem, hospitals may reach out to nursing school partners or rely on on-the-job training. (Kearney Hub)