Today’s NewsStand — Nov. 6, 2019

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

Iowa News

Medical examiner death review teams raise awareness on preventable deaths
The name sounds grim, but the important work of the “death review team” in Johnson County does works to prevent needless mortality. It’s been almost 10 years since the multidisciplinary team led by the Johnson County Medical Examiner started to ask how they could work together to reduce preventable deaths in the county. With two groups focusing on deaths of adults aged 60 and older and children under the age of 18, the teams meet several times a year to review local cases, discuss and identify trends and try to come up with solutions. (Iowa City Press-Citizen)

The bigger view on children’s mental health in Iowa
As a child advocate by profession and the parent of a child who’s struggled mightily with depression, Anne Discher been quite moved by the degree to which Iowans are talking about mental health and want to see our state do better serving folks with mental illness. Advocates cautiously celebrated earlier this year when Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into a law a children’s mental health bill that laid out a policy framework for a children’s mental health system. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

New clinic offers centralized health care for UnityPoint Health-Trinity cancer patients
UnityPoint Health-Trinity is ready to show off its new Cancer Care Clinic, which provides state-of-the-art oncology and hematology in its Moline-based Cancer Center. The space includes a new Medical Oncology Infusion Center and provides a centralized location for cancer care. The goal of the clinic is to ensure patients, during a stressful time, find more peace and comfort. (Quad-City Times)

Iowa, a top retirement destination, underfunds elder care
Iowa consistently is ranked as a top-10 place to retire, based on low property costs, high quality of living and relatively easy access to health care. However, if you are among the growing number of Iowans who live in a care facility, there are some very worrying signs. The State Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman is seeking a public agency or nonprofit organization to take over the office’s ombudsman positions. In 2017, the office slashed its travel budget in the face of a significant budget cut. And with Medicaid managed care, some patients are being denied care and providers aren’t being paid on time. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

National News

A rough flu season is predicted — but it’s an opportunity for some
All signs point to a rough flu season for the United States. That means higher volumes for hospitals, but the ultimate results differ based on the sector and the specifics of how the virus manifests. Large, publicly traded health systems can see a slight boost to margins despite the additional staffing needed to combat flu, but smaller and nonprofit organizations are more strained and have less ability to capitalize on increased visits. Meanwhile for telehealth companies, it’s an opportunity to showcase their services and, they hope, nab new regular customers. (Healthcare Dive)

Missouri Hospital Association tracking programs aimed at reversing opioid epidemic
Multi-faceted approaches to the opioid epidemic appear to be saving lives in Missouri, according to preliminary data gathered by the Missouri Hospital Association. More than 700 agencies across the state, including some schools and libraries, have received overdose prevention education and naloxone distribution training. Naloxone is the opioid overdose reversal drug. Health care providers’ participation in Missouri Opioid State Targeted Response (STR) and Missouri State Opioid Response projects have greatly increased state residents’ access to treatment for opioid use disorders. (Jefferson City News Tribune)

Schools now letting students stay home sick for mental health days
In the face of rising rates of depression, anxiety and suicide among young people, some states and school systems have started allowing students to take mental sick days off from school. Last year, Utah changed its definition of valid excuses for absences to include mental health issues. This summer, Oregon enacted a law — driven by a group of high school student activists — that allows students to take days off for mental health. Students in other states, including Colorado, Florida and Washington, are attempting to get similar laws passed. (Washington Post)