Today’s NewsStand — Feb. 28, 2020

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

Iowa News       

Political lines drawn in Iowa over capping medical malpractice suits
Tuesday, the Iowa Senate passed a bill that would impose a so-called “hard cap” on emotional damages in lawsuits filed against medical malpractice. If signed into law, it would limit awards in court for “pain and suffering” to $750,000. “Most states surrounding Iowa do have a hard cap on non-economic damages and having a hard cap on non-economic damages means that hospitals can recruit and retain physicians that are desperately needed within this state.” Said Kim Murphy with the Iowa Hospital Association. (CBS2Iowa)

Lawmakers plan hearings on study at Iowa institution
Iowa lawmakers plan to hold hearings to investigate problems that have surfaced at a state-run institution for people with intellectual disabilities. State Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa confirmed Wednesday that the House Government Oversight Committee she leads will hold a hearing about issues at Glenwood Resource Center, including deaths, overall care and sexual experiments done on patients. Hanusa is working with the Iowa Department of Human Services to arrange a date for a hearing. (Marshalltown Times-Republican)

UIHC preparing for potential coronavirus outbreak in eastern Iowa
Staff at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics are preparing for any potential outbreak of an infectious disease or illness, and their emergency manager said they are ready. It comes amid a warning from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday that Americans should be prepared for the potential for “significant disruptions” when the coronavirus, or COVID-19, spreads in the U.S. (KCRG)

National News

Verma teases ramping up oversight of accrediting bodies
CMS plans to step up oversight of organizations that inspect and accredit hospitals and other medical facilities nationwide, Administrator Seema Verma said Tuesday, criticizing these groups for “not living up to that high bar” expected of them. Verma said it’s “deeply concerning” that facilities were deemed compliant by accrediting organizations when they in fact had serious deficiencies sometimes resulting in death. She also raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest between accrediting organizations and the hospitals. (Healthcare Dive)

Democrats sharpen health care attacks as primaries heat up
The ideal began to get real on Tuesday, as seven of the top contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination sparred over the price tag on health care reform and even revealed similarities on issues like marijuana legalization. With Democrats in 15 states and American Samoa set to cast their primary votes in the next week, the candidates eagerly seized their chances on the debate stage in Charleston, South Carolina, to jab Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the current front-runner, during the party’s 10th debate. (Kaiser Health News)

First person in US tests positive for coronavirus with no know link to foreign travel
Community spread would represent a significant turn for the worse in the battle against the virus. To date, the United States has 60 known cases of the infection, with 59 among people who traveled to Asia or were close contacts of people who went there. The vast majority, 42, picked up the virus while quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan. (Washington Post)