Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.
Eastern Iowa mental health region to consider budget cuts
As the Muscatine County Board of Supervisors meeting was winding down Monday, chair Nathan Mather said he was planning to attend a regional health meeting that would deal with cutting the budget and services. Mather, also the vice chair of the Eastern Iowa Mental Health and Disability Services Region, told the supervisors the meeting would cut $1.5 million from the region’s budget. The region coordinates mental health care and disability services throughout Muscatine, Scott, Jackson, Clinton and Cedar counties. (Quad City Times)
University of Iowa scientists explore DNA link to suicidal behaviors
“Suicide is truly a public health crisis,” says University of Iowa associate professor Virginia Willour. Inside her lab, she and other scientists are taking a hard look at why some people don’t just think about taking their own lives, but actually do it. They’re hoping to find the answer inside their DNA. The researchers at the university have been tackling this topic for several years; thanks to a $1.5 million grant, they’re now able to look at 30,000 people diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The team hopes to be able to create detection and prevention methods in the future. (CBS2Iowa)
MercyOne renews Level II Trauma Center certification
MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center has renewed its certification as a Level II Trauma Center. It’s the only hospital within a 100-mile radius of Sioux City to achieve the distinction and one of only four in Iowa. To achieve certification, the hospital met standard-of-care criteria outlined by the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma’s current Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient manual. (Sioux City Journal)
After rural hospital’s closure, county seeks other options
About two years ago, a rural, mountainous Virginia county lost its only hospital, and local officials have now all but given up trying to bring it back. Community leaders in Patrick County said in recent interviews that reopening the hospital has proven financially unworkable, in large part because of the deteriorating building’s $5 million price tag. Patrick County isn’t alone in its struggle. Local officials said they have moved on to looking for other ways to improve health care services in the rural, aging county where state figures show the population is expected to continue declining. (Associated Press)
‘Value’ of care was a big goal. How did it work out?
For most of its history, Medicare paid for health care in ways that encouraged more services — whether they improved health or not. Critics called it an emphasis on volume, not value. The Affordable Care Act was intended to change that, and Medicare started a number of programs to do so, including several new ones this year. Nearly a decade after passage of the ACA, is value-based payment working? The goal was for 90 percent of Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors to be tied to measures of quality by 2018. According to the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, Medicare’s 90 percent value-based goal has been achieved. (New York Times)
Lobbying war stalls Congress’ attempt to end surprise medical bills
President Donald Trump has said the practice of surprise billing “must end.” Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress back legislation that would do just that, shielding patients from everything but the deductible and co-payments their insurance requires. And before its summer recess, Congress seemed poised to pass legislation addressing surprise medical billing. However, as a result of a massive lobbying effort against the legislation, Congress may not deal with the problem at all — and if it does, it may not adopt what advocates consider the best approach. (Connecticut Mirror)