Today’s NewsStand – September 23, 2019

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

Iowa News

UnityPoint Health invests in St. Louis firm
UnityPoint Health Ventures has made its third play, backing St. Louis-based Epharmix, a remote patient monitoring technology company, with a $1 million investment. Unveiled in May of this year, UnityPoint Health Ventures awards investments to early-stage companies in four key areas: digital health, medical devices, health care technology systems and health care services. The fund supports companies whose technology can be used across the UnityPoint Health system, which includes 22 hospitals and 18 affiliates in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. (Des Moines Business Record)

Shenandoah Medical Center physician earns business leadership certificate
Dr. Heather Babe, a family practice physician at Shenandoah Medical Center, was among 17 physicians from across the state honored for completing the Physician Business Leadership Certification Program. Graduates were recognized September 10th at the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) Conference Center in Des Moines. This first-of-its-kind program was designed by Iowa physician executives for Iowa physicians to meet needs mutually identified by the collaborating organizations of IHA, Iowa Medical Society, Iowa Academy of Family Physicians and Iowa Healthcare Collaborative (IHC). (KMALand)

‘GameDay’ sign fundraiser continues as total amount raised for children’s hospital hits $1M
Thanks to Carson King’s famous “Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished” sign asking people to send him beer money via Venmo during ESPN’s “College GameDay” coverage of the Cy-Hawk game in Ames, a total of over $1 million has been raised for University of Iowa’s Stead Children’s Hospital. The total money raised includes combined contributions from Busch Light and Venmo, who pledged to match the donations King receives, and donations from other companies, including $50,000 from Wisconsin-based Northwestern Mutual. (Des Moines Register)

National News

Tennessee unveils plan to change Medicaid funding to block grant program
Tennessee on Tuesday unveiled its plan to shake up its own Medicaid funding, seeking approval to move to a block grant system that would cap the federal funds it receives. Switching to this new funding mechanism would allow the state and federal government to better predict the budget for this program, known as TennCare, state officials said. Critics, though, are skeptical of such promises. If Tennessee’s proposal is approved by federal regulators, it would become the first state to use a block grant funding mechanism for Medicaid. (Healthcare Dive)

Despite pop health buzz, few providers screen for social needs
Despite the hype surrounding the importance of social determinants of health, just a quarter of hospitals and 16% of physician practices screen patients for social needs that affect health outcomes, according to a JAMA study published Wednesday. The JAMA study authors noted that while screening for social needs hasn’t historically been considered a part of the medical process, increased attention to value-based care and holistic, team-based treatments have pushed providers in that direction. (Healthcare Dive)

More deaths expected from vaping lung illnesses, CDC says
An eighth person has died from a vaping-related lung illness. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported Thursday afternoon that a man in his mid-40s died this week in St. Louis. Health officials said the man had normal lung function before he started vaping in the spring. Earlier Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted the death toll would rise. The grim prediction came as federal investigators launched a criminal investigation into the soaring number of illnesses nationwide, which has risen by 200 cases in recent days. (NBC News)