Today’s NewsStand – November 1, 2019

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

Iowa News

Struggling with Medicare choices? Iowa program provides free, unbiased advice
Whether you are preparing to sign up for Medicare or deciding what to do about your coverage in 2020, navigating the maze of options can be challenging. One resource available to help you — at no cost — is the state’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program, or SHIIP. The confidential service offers counselors who can help Iowans make informed decisions about Medicare and other health coverage. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Expert: Waiting days for mental health care in Iowa is new norm
A teenager had to wait 47 hours in a hospital waiting room before she was admitted for mental health care. Amanda Stone-Janssen’s foster parents were afraid Amanda was going to harm herself. They went to a hospital in Fort Dodge in hopes she would be admitted. The waiting room the family was placed in was designed specifically to protect someone from hurting themselves. In 2008, the hospital closed its mental health-inpatient care unit because it was understaffed. As a result, ER staff called around the state hoping one of the state’s 64 beds would open up. (KCCI)

UNI Dance Marathon raises more than $72,000 in one day
The University of Northern Iowa Dance Marathon recently held their Push Day, a day where dancers in the organization push to raise as much money as possible in 24 hours. Hundreds of UNI students were fundraising throughout the day for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Last year, UNI DM raised over $67,539.49 on their push day, and this year they exceeded that number with a fundraising total of $72,556.44, all of which will be donated to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier)

National News

Return to sender? Just one missed letter can be enough to end Medicaid benefits
Forty-two boxes of returned mail lined a wall of the El Paso County Department of Human Services office on a recent fall morning. There used to be three times as many. Every week, the U.S. Postal Service brings anywhere from four to 15 trays to that office in Colorado Springs. Each contains more than 250 letters that it could not deliver to county residents enrolled in Medicaid or other public assistance programs. The state estimates that about 15% of the 12 million letters from public assistance programs to 1.3 million members statewide are returned — some 1.8 million pieces of undelivered mail each year. (Iowa Public Radio)

Rural and safety net hospitals prepare for cut in federal support
Across the country, health systems face unwelcome choices about how to handle the coming funding cuts. They knew it was coming — the Affordable Care Act ordained a pullback in federal support for hospitals’ charitable care — and yet hospital leaders continue to hold out hope that Congress will protect the funding before the cuts go into effect in a few weeks. Even without these prospective cuts, both safety net and rural hospitals, most of which have slim or negative operating margins, have been facing perilous economic times. (Stateline)

New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania hospital associations join innovation partnership
Three hospital associations in New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania announced Thursday the creation of Q3 Health Innovation Partners (Q3HIP), a joint venture meant to improve health quality and patient safety. Q3HIP will engage hospitals and other health care providers in all three states in a collaborative framework that employs shared best practices, tools and models; insight from expert faculty; data reporting and benchmarking to measure progress or identify gaps; and an “all share, all learn” culture where organizations advance knowledge together toward better care and patient outcomes. (New Jersey Biz)