Today’s NewsStand — Feb. 13, 2020

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

Iowa News       

Subcommittee advances bill to streamline payment request to Medicaid providers
An Iowa House commerce subcommittee has advanced a bill that would require both of the state’s Medicaid managed care organizations to use the same process for approving payments to providers. Currently, Amerigroup and Iowa Total Care, the state’s two MCOs, each have their own process for prior authorizations, when a doctor obtains advance approval for a procedure or drug. Abhay Nadipuram, a lobbist with the Iowa Hospital Association, said dealing with two different, complex systems has been burdensome to hospitals. (Iowa Public Radio)

Mom fights for more mental health funding in Iowa after losing her son to suicide
A Clive mom was at the Iowa State Capitol Wednesday pushing for change in the way Iowa handles mental illness. Mary Neubauer’s son Sergei struggled with mental illness, but the help he needed wasn’t available in Iowa. “He was outgoing and funny and all of those things, but what he didn’t share with people was that he was struggling,” Neubauer said. In September of 2017 Sergei died by suicide. He was 18. She wants mental health care to improve in Iowa, so other Iowans have access to treatment programs that weren’t available to her son. (We Are Iowa)

MercyOne Medical Center to hold ribbon-cutting for new radiology equipment
MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center is debuting a new Interventional Radiology (IR) Suite. There will be a reveal ceremony, along with a ribbon-cutting event on Friday, February 14, at 10 a.m. at the medical center. The new Siemens IR equipment was installed in January and the first procedures were performed in the new suite in February. The complex machines have the ability to move from head to toe around the patient in several dimensions, which allows the patient to be more comfortable. (Siouxland Proud)

National News

Timetable for a vaccine against the new coronavirus? Maybe this fall
Right now scientists are trying to accomplish something that was inconceivable a decade ago: create a vaccine against a previously unknown virus rapidly enough to help end an outbreak of that virus. In this case, they’re trying to stop the spread of the new coronavirus that has already infected tens of thousands of people and given rise to a respiratory condition now known as COVID-19. But new genetic technologies and new strategies make researchers optimistic that they can shorten that timetable to months, and possibly weeks — and have a tool by the fall that can slow the spread of infection. (NPR)

CMS to alter prior authorization process this year, Verma says
The CMS will be making changes sometime this year to prior authorization regulations, according to CMS Administrator Seema Verma during a speech at the American Medical Association’s National Advocacy Conference in Washington D.C. Verma offered few details on what the changes will be, only mentioning that automation of the process can improve efficiencies. The CMS didn’t immediately respond to a request for additional details. (Modern Healthcare)

Video chatting with a doctor could help rural Kansas, but adoption is slow
Even the largest hospitals in the rural counties of western Kansas struggle to hire cardiologists and other specialists. Instead, they often transfer patients to Wichita, Denver or Kansas City. Now those same hospitals increasingly bring in specialists with virtual hook-ups, beaming in doctors from South Dakota who direct treatment over ever-more-elaborate video calls to emergency rooms in Garden City or Goodland. Yet for all the solutions telemedicine might offer, its obstacles range from iffy internet connections to uncertainties about insurance coverage to simple technophobia. (Manhattan Mercury)