Today’s NewsStand — Sept. 2, 2020

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

Iowa news

Designing to support the treatment and well-being of behavioral health patients

From 2007 to 2017, the CDC reported a 40% increase in suicide rates, making it the 10th-leading cause of death. In Iowa alone, suicide is the ninth-leading cause of death. Although these numbers are startling, there are numerous medical facilities working to address the country’s growing behavioral health needs. One such facility is MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center in Mason City, Iowa. RDG’s work on this project, which was designed in collaboration with BWBR, the Design Architect and Behavioral Health Planner, helped establish three critical considerations where design can support the treatment and well-being of patients: admittance procedures, patient rooms and patients’ sense of control. (Healthcare Construction and Operations News)

Iowa has one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the world

Iowa’s coronavirus cases are spreading so quickly, the state now has one of the world’s worst outbreaks, by some metrics. As of Sunday, Iowa had more new COVID-19 cases per capita than any other state in the US, according to The New York Times, which says new cases are spreading fastest in the university towns of Ames and Iowa City. (KIWA)

University of Iowa establishes clinic for former COVID-19 patients

To treat and study the still little-understood impact of the novel coronavirus, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has established a clinic to treat patients following an infection of COVID-19. The Respiratory Illness Clinic is a designated space to diagnose and care for patients experiencing COVID-19 complications, an initiative that its lead physician says will help local health care providers discover trends in the virus’ impact and aid in future research. (The Gazette)

National news

Why telehealth coverage mandates can’t reverse course

The broad mandates that expanded telehealth coverage for Medicare and Medicaid recipients because of the COVID-19 pandemic are proving their worth. Many patients who typically didn’t have ready or, sometimes, any access to this type of coverage are now being reached. And many private health plans have adjusted their models to encompass virtual care during the public health crisis. But as health policy lawyer Kristi Kung recently pointed out in HealthTech, these changes were intended to be temporary — meaning the opportunity to address long-term barriers to care access is now. (HealthTech Magazine)

FCC, HHS, USDA announce rural telehealth partnership, new task force

The three federal agencies most closely associated with telehealth governance are joining forces to expand connected health opportunities in rural America. The Federal Communications Commission, Health and Human Services Department, and Department of Agriculture have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on the Rural Telehealth Initiative, and will launch an interagency Rural Telehealth Task Force to push the project forward. (mHealthIntelligence.com)

Hospitals want redo in site-neutral payment case

The American Hospital Association and dozens of hospitals filed a petition Aug. 31, asking a federal appeals court to rehear a case challenging HHS’ site-neutral payment policy that cuts Medicare payments for hospital outpatient visits. Under the 2019 Medicare Outpatient Prospective Payment System final rule, CMS made payments for clinic visits site-neutral by reducing the payment rate for evaluation and management services provided at off-campus provider-based departments by 60%. (Becker’s Hospital Review)