Today’s NewsStand — Feb. 7, 2020

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

Iowa News       

Gov. Reynolds releases bill raising sales tax to help fund mental health
Gov. Kim Reynolds has released the text of a bill that would implement her far-ranging attempt to revamp Iowa’s tax code and provide a steady funding source for mental health services and water quality projects. The bill would involve a 1-cent increase in the state’s sales tax to pay for income tax cuts, fund water quality and outdoor recreation programs and provide a state funding stream for mental health services while limiting how much counties levy in property taxes to pay for mental health. (Des Moines Register)

Telepsychiatry now offered at MercyOne Primghar
A new mental health treatment option is available for residents of southern O’Brien County. MercyOne Primghar Medical Center started a telepsychiatry program in early December in which those seeking mental health care may schedule a video appointment with board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Beverley Allen to discuss their options. The Primghar hospital was one of three that received a grant totaling $277,660 from the Health Resource Service Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to implement the telepsychiatry program. (Northwest Iowa News)

UIHC expert explains what coronavirus treatment looks like
One of the largest hospital systems in the state, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC), are specially equipped and designated to treat highly infectious viruses, like Ebola, that can have devastating consequences around the globe. UIHC epidemiologist Dr. Jorge Salinas says these two patients, if they do in fact have coronavirus, might not need to be admitted to a hospital. This was the case with the patient with a confirmed mild case of coronavirus in Wisconsin this week. (Iowa City Press-Citizen)

National News

House votes to condemn Trump Medicaid block grant policy
The House on Tuesday passed a resolution officially condemning the Trump administration’s new Medicaid block grant plan. The non-binding resolution won’t have much practical effect. It passed on a mostly party line vote of 224-189 and will almost certainly see no time in the GOP-controlled Senate. Democrats argue the administration doesn’t have the authority to approve such drastic changes, and Medicaid advocates say the changes would hurt low-income people and invite states to cut costs and reduce coverage. (The Hill)

States weigh expansion of their Medicaid programs
State officials are seeking to change health care coverage for the nation’s poorest individuals, with Democrats trying to expand Medicaid to cover more people while Republicans aim to save costs over time. Democratic governors in at least three states with Republican-controlled legislatures are ramping up efforts to pass legislation to expand the program. At the same time, states like Michigan have begun implementing aspects of their requirements that people receiving Medicaid work, which could lead to fewer people being covered if that is upheld in the courts. (Roll Call)

How super sniffer dogs are helping detect disease around the world
As the owner of a yellow lab named Gus, author Maria Goodavage has had many occasions to bathe her pooch when he rolls around in smelly muck at the park. Nevertheless, her appreciation for his keen sense of smell has inspired her write best-selling books about dogs with special assignments in the military and the U.S. Secret Service. Her latest book highlights a vast array of special medical tasks that dogs can perform — from the laboratory to the bedside, and everywhere else a dog can tag along and sniff. (NPR)