Today’s NewsStand — Nov. 27, 2019

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

Iowa News            

Sub-acute center closure will leave gaps in mental health services in nine counties
Hillcrest Family Services in Dubuque is closing its sub-acute center next month, leaving a void for mental health services in nine counties. The Sub-acute Services Program, located at 7865 Public Safety Way, provides an in-patient option to people with brain health illnesses. It offers support and an option for people who don’t need to be hospitalized. Mae Hingtgen, CEO of the Mental Health and Disability Services for the East Central Region of Iowa, said Hillcrest has the only sub-acute program in the region. (KCRG)

MercyOne Des Moines named among Top 50 cardiovascular hospitals
MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center has been named one of the nation’s 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals by IBM Watson Health. The study spotlights the top-performing cardiovascular hospitals in the U.S. based on a scorecard of publicly available clinical, operational and patient satisfaction metrics and data. Compared with non-winning cardiovascular hospitals, this year’s winners had significantly higher inpatient survival rates, fewer patients with complications and shorter average lengths of stay, according to the report. (Des Moines Business Record)

University of Iowa effort sifts through EHR data to aid precision medicine
At the University of Iowa, Benjamin Darbro, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics starts with the electronic health record. To reduce search time and improve the quality of results, University of Iowa Health deployed the natural language processing text-mining software of Linguamatics. The product curates data to enable a clinician to more easily select and organize data and any other desired available information. Early results are impressive. (HealthData Management)

National News

Suicides and overdoses among factors fueling drop in US life expectancy
It’s official: Americans are dying much sooner in life. Preliminary signals of declining health were neither a false alarm nor a statistical fluke. A reversal of American life expectancy, a downward trend that has now been sustained for three years in a row, is a grim new reality of life in the United States. New research establishes that after decades of living longer and longer lives, Americans are dying earlier, cut down increasingly in the prime of life by drug overdoses, suicides and diseases such as cirrhosis, liver cancer and obesity. (Los Angeles Times)

Survey: Consumer satisfaction with hospitals takes a dip while payer score climbs
The American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) released its annual report examining the financial and insurance sectors and found that hospitals earned a score of 72 on their indicator, which is based on a survey of more than 30,000 consumers and reflects their perceptions of the quality of products they use.  That’s a notable drop from hospitals’ 2018 score on the index, which was 76. The decline, according to the report, is driven by a substantial drop in consumers’ rankings for emergency department care, which decreased from a 73 score in 2018 to a 67 for 2019. (Fierce Healthcare)

Medical students get free tuition for promising to practice in rural Arizona
Some University of Arizona medical school students are getting free tuition in exchange for a promise to practice in underserved rural areas for at least two years after they graduate. The scholarship money is from state funds earmarked to alleviate a physician shortage that is particularly acute in rural Arizona, where more than one-quarter of primary-care physicians plan to retire in the next five years. Arizona currently ranks among the worst in the country — 44th of 50 states — in its number of active primary-care physicians per capita, UA officials say. (Arizona Central)