Today’s NewsStand — Feb. 5, 2020

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

Iowa News       

Van Buren County Hospital joins MercyOne as an affiliate
On January 28, the Van Buren County Hospital Board of Trustees announced the approval of a new management relationship with MercyOne, one of Iowa’s largest health care systems. “MercyOne is excited to extend our circle of care to Keosauqua and the surrounding communities,” said Bob Ritz, MercyOne chief executive officer. The affiliation does not involve any sale or exchange of assets, thus allowing the Van Buren County Hospital Board to maintain local governance. (MercyOne)

Shenandoah hospital CEO named one of 60 ‘rural hospital CEOs to know’
Becker’s Healthcare is pleased to recognize 60 rural hospital CEOs to know in 2020. Becker’s accepted nominations for this list and considered leaders making a positive impact on their organizations. Matt Sells, CEO of Shenandoah Medical Center, was named to the list. Sells was elected CEO of Shenandoah Medical Center by the hospital’s board of directors. In 2019, Sells was honored with the Iowa Hospital Association’s Young Executive Achievement Award, which recognizes up-and-coming health care executives under 40. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Johnson County mental health crisis center proceeds, but needs $1.5 million in fundraising
Johnson County will absorb an almost $1.5 million shortfall in fundraising for construction of a mental health access center that is expected to open in December. Supervisor Lisa Green-Douglass said the home stretch of funding needed to complete the $6.4 million center is a “significant amount,” but not impossible to raise. In the meantime, Johnson County is budgeting for the cost of the center, which makes up about 2 percent of the county’s general fund. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

National News

On drug pricing, the president’s numbers are still off
During the 2020 State of the Union address, President Donald Trump zeroed in on prescription drug prices, arguing that his administration is “taking on the big pharmaceutical companies.” Among the evidence for that claim: a talking point the administration has been using since last April. We’ve examined this claim twice before, rating it mostly false. But prescription drug prices are a major voter concern. Experts told us the data remains essentially unchanged. Drug prices are still not going down. (Kaiser Health News)

A little-noticed Medicaid proposal could have huge consequences
Major health industry groups, governors and state Medicaid directors have all raised significant concerns with a Trump administration proposal that would change the rules and oversight of some forms of state Medicaid financing. Provider groups say the new rules would threaten the money doctors and hospitals rely on to serve Medicaid patients. The American Hospital Association wrote in a comment letter to CMS that MFAR could reduce Medicaid spending by 5.8%–7.6%. (Axios)

WHO says Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is not yet a pandemic
The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is not a pandemic, World Health Organization officials said Tuesday, adding that they’re hopeful transmission of the virus can be contained. The agency acknowledges that it is challenging to contain the virus because of global mass movement. A pandemic is define as the worldwide spread of a new disease, but it’s not quite as simple as that. The finer details are debated as many factors, including population immunity and disease severity, need to be taken into account. (CNN)