Today’s NewsStand — Nov. 21, 2019

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

Iowa News

Shortage of obstetricians among reasons many Iowa maternity wards have closed
In the last almost two decades, 29 Iowa hospitals have closed their maternity wards, eight of them within the last year and several more at still at risk of closing. Medical professionals, advocates, and lawmakers say it’s likely a problem that will get worse before it gets better. The Iowa Hospital Association says the issue isn’t just a legislative fix but a community issue. “The whole community needs to work to keep these rural communities vibrant so people want to live there and raise their families there,” says Jennifer Nutt, senior director of Nursing and Clinical Services at IHA. (WHO)

Lucas County Health Center recognized as a “Community Star” for National Rural Health Day
On the third Thursday of November every year, the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), the member organization for each of the 50 State Offices of Rural Health (SORH), leads National Rural Health Day (NRHD), an annual day of recognition, shining a light on those who serve the vital health needs of the estimated 57 million people living in rural America. Lucas County Health Center was nominated and their story was selected to appear in the 2019 edition that will be available on the website beginning November 21. (Lucas Count Health Center)

UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown navigates changes, looks to better future
The changes at UnityPoint-Marshalltown have been felt by everyone in the community and concerns about the future of the hospital are known. The health care entity is navigating not only local changes but also national. UnityPoint-Marshalltown president Jennifer Friedly said the hospital is a participant in an accountable care organization, which pays for value of care. She said payments are received each month for keeping patients healthy. While the hospital navigates a changing health care atmosphere, UnityPoint — Marshalltown has also experienced a significant financial turnaround. (Marshalltown Times Republican)

National News

Democrats spar at debate over health care, how to beat Trump
Democratic presidential candidates clashed in a debate over the future of health care in America, racial inequality and their ability to build a winning coalition to take on President Donald Trump next year. But amid the turbulence, the White House hopefuls often found themselves fighting on well-trodden terrain, particularly over whether the party should embrace a sweeping “Medicare for All” program or make more modest changes to the current health care system. (Associated Press)

Mental health coverage continues to fall short, study shows
More Americans turn to out-of-network providers when seeking mental health care than when seeking medical care, and the trend continues to worsen, a new study shows, despite a law designed to prevent this problem for people seeking treatment for conditions such as depression and addiction. In an update of a landmark report about access to mental health treatment, researchers found that the disparity between medical coverage and mental and behavioral health coverage continued to grow in 2016 and 2017. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Crunch time for Congress on surprise medical bills
Lawmakers are facing crunch time in a bipartisan push to pass legislation protecting patients from getting hit with massive “surprise” medical bills. Staff in both chambers and both parties are having what Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) called “intense meetings” to try to come to an agreement in time to be included in a government funding package ahead of a Dec. 20 deadline. Doctors and hospitals are fiercely lobbying against the leading proposal in Congress, arguing it would cause damaging cuts to their payments. (The Hill)