Today’s NewsStand – October 9, 2019

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

Iowa News

Statewide hospital meeting unveils IHA Rural Reform proposal
The Iowa Hospital Association announced a proposal for the reform of rural health care at its Statewide District Meeting Sept. 17. The meeting was attended by more than 100 hospital leaders at the IHA Conference Center in Des Moines. The IHA Rural Reform Proposal was developed by IHA and member hospitals and health systems to ensure the continued viability of rural hospitals in Iowa. Marty Guthmiller, CEO of Orange City Area Health System and IHA Board Chair, explained the proposal to meeting attendees. (Newton Daily News)

Mason City Police Department awarded large mental health grant
The Mason City Police Department was just awarded a $480,000 grant by the Bureau of Justice Assistance through the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program. The grant will be used to fund crisis intervention training, mental health training for officers, as well as a unique virtual reality training system that will put officers in a situation with a person who shows signs of a mental illness. Mason City Police have already put many mental health initiatives to work even before getting the grant. (KIMT)

As Iowa’s maternal death rates rise, UIHC receives $10-million grant to address crisis
Maternal death rates for Iowa mothers have doubled in a three year period from 2015 to 2018 and now the University of Iowa is working on a five-year project to address this crisis. Stephen Hunter, MD, Ph.D., UI professor of obstetrics and gynecology and vice-chair for obstetrics and co-director of the Iowa Statewide Perinatal Care Program, is leading the charge to better understand the factors behind these rising death rates. Dr. Hunter kicked off a discussion regarding plans to identify, identify, analyze and address major issues affecting Maternal health during a recent OB summit put on by the Iowa Department of Public Health, according to a press release. (KWWL)

National News

Health care leads the way as US hits lowest unemployment mark in decades
The healthcare industry gained 38,800 jobs in September, up from the amount added in August but largely on par with the average increase over the past 12 months, according to figures the U.S. Bureau of Labor released Friday. Ambulatory services saw the most gain with 28,700 jobs. Hospitals accounted for 8,100 positions while nursing and residential care facilities brought in 2,000. The numbers show healthcare employment “remains remarkably strong” as it continue to grow month to month. (Healthcare Dive)

Waste accounts for one quarter of health care spending
A new study found waste accounts for roughly one-quarter of all U.S. health care spending, an estimate that’s in the same ballpark as its predecessors. The cost of waste in the U.S. healthcare system ranges from $760 billion to $935 billion annually, according to a JAMA review of 54 peer-reviewed studies, government reports and other information, released Monday. The study found one-quarter of that could be cut using interventions found to reduce waste. Two previous studies on the subject from 2012 estimated waste at roughly 30% and 34% of total health care spending. (Modern Healthcare)

Trump’s new order for Medicare packs potential rise in patients’ costs
Vowing to protect Medicare with “every ounce of strength,” President Donald Trump last week spoke to a cheering crowd in Florida. But his executive order released shortly afterward includes provisions that could significantly alter key pillars of the program by making it easier for beneficiaries and doctors to opt out. The bottom line: The proposed changes might make it a bit simpler to find a doctor who takes new Medicare patients, but it could lead to higher costs for seniors and potentially expose some to surprise medical bills, a problem from which Medicare has traditionally protected consumers. (Kaiser Health News)