Today’s NewsStand — Nov. 7, 2019

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

Iowa News

University of Iowa Health Care joins UnityPoint health plan

Starting Jan. 1, University of Iowa Health Care – which includes the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and the Stead Family Children’s Hospital – will be included in the HealthPartners UnityPoint Health provider network for Medicare Advantage plans. The health plan, which entered the market four years ago, is a joint venture between the Minnesota-based health insurance company HealthPartners and UnityPoint Health, the Iowa-based care system. The health plan’s network also includes UnityPoint Health’s hospitals and clinics but is not managed by UnityPoint Health system. By joining the provider network, Medicare patients under the HealthPartners UnityPoint Health plan would have access to 1,700 clinicians in more than 200 specialties at University of Iowa Health Care. (The Gazette)

MercyOne to join firm to oversee area urgent care operations

MercyOne and Premier Health, a national urgent care provider, announced the signing of a nonbinding letter of intent to form a joint venture for urgent care services. The organizations will explore a strategic partnership. In the proposal, specific existing MercyOne urgent care clinics, including in Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Oelwein, will remain branded MercyOne Urgent Care, with Premier Health managing day-to-day operations. (Cedar Valley Business Monthly)

Mercy Cedar Rapids releases 2019 annual report

Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids has released its 2019 annual report, demonstrating its commitment to homegrown healthcare, care for our community provided by our community. Mercy has been rooted in eastern Iowa for nearly 120 years. Growing with community needs, today Mercy is one of few remaining independent healthcare systems. This means decisions about how to best serve our neighbors are made locally, for eastern Iowans by eastern Iowans. Once again, Mercy has been recognized with many quality awards and other achievements that demonstrate a strong strategic plan, the commitment of compassionate providers, and the delivery of new technology and exemplary healthcare. (MercyCare.org)

National News

Trump Breaks From Pelosi Medicare Drug Talks, Throws Support Behind Senate Bill
The White House has concluded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to allow Medicare to negotiate drug costs is “unworkable.” Instead, President Donald Trump will support bipartisan Senate legislation from Sens. Charles Grassley, (R-Iowa), and Ron Wyden, (D-Ore.). That legislation would, for the first time, limit what seniors must pay out-of-pocket for medicine. It also would require drug companies to pay rebates to Medicare if they hike prices beyond the inflation rate. Those ideas are also part of Pelosi’s more ambitious legislation. But the Grassley-Wyden bill does not give Medicare negotiating power. (Fortune)

CMS may not have power to make hospitals disclose negotiated prices
The CMS might not have the legal authority it needs to force hospitals to reveal the prices they negotiate with insurers, a shortcoming that could eventually sink the Trump administration’s price transparency push. The administration delayed its price transparency proposal for hospitals after significant backlash and questions over whether the CMS can implement the policy legally. Although the CMS wanted to include the measure as part of its update to the Outpatient Prospective Payment System, the proposal didn’t make it into last week’s final rule. In comments to the agency ahead of the final rule, hospitals claimed the disclosures would violate their First Amendment rights to free speech. (Modern Healthcare)

Residents suffer as Mississippi and 13 other states debate Medicaid expansion

Mississippi is one of 14 states that chose not to expand Medicaid, forgoing about $1 billion from the federal government each year since 2012 when the Affordable Care Act offered states the opportunity to expand care. The states that choose to go along with the program, first rolled out under the ACA, will eventually have to provide a 10 percent match of the funds by 2020. That would cost Mississippi about $100 million a year, and Republican lawmakers insisted it would be detrimental to the state economy. In Mississippi, a state that has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country — currently ranked at 45 out of 50 — about 100,000 people fall in a coverage gap, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In total, 2.5 million poor adults fall into that same gap in the 14 states that did not expand Medicaid. (NBCNews.com)