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Iowa Study: Telehealth Saves Money, Improves Recruitment

A new study from the University of Iowa (UI) finds rural hospitals that use telehealth to back up their emergency room (ER) health care providers not only save money but find it easier to recruit new physicians. The results suggest that expanded use of tele-emergency services could play a key role in helping small, rural Critical Access Hospitals maintain their emergency rooms.

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Suddenly, Progress on Children’s Health Coverage Reverses

For many years, the rate of uninsured children in the United States has been declining thanks to bipartisan efforts to extend coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But in 2017, approximately 276,000 more children became uninsured, leading to a total of 3.9 million uninsured children nationwide. The rate for children age 18 and younger went up from 4.7 percent in 2016 to 5 percent in 2017,

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Iowa Ranks Sixth for Health System Performance

The Commonwealth Fund released its 2018 Scorecard on State Health System Performance, an annual state-by-state report compares access to care, quality of care, health outcomes and health disparities across the US using data on more than 40 measures. Iowa has consistently ranked high in the report, but this year the state saw even more improvement. Iowa is ranked sixth in the nation for overall health system performance and sixth for access and affordability, up one and two spots respectively from 2017. The healthy lives category improved for Iowa as well, moving up four spots to number 12.

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More Rural States Vote to Expand Medicaid

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows states to expand Medicaid access to childless adults whose incomes are below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. In the last two years, multiple attempts in Congress to repeal the ACA would have also ended expanded Medicaid. Where it has been adopted, expanded Medicaid has bolstered finances at rural hospital. The majority of recent rural hospital closures – about 90 since 2010 – have occurred in non-expansion states.

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Iowa Hospitals’ Volunteer Programs Earn National Recognition

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has honored volunteer programs at Mercy Medical Center, Cedar Rapids and UnityPoint Health-Des Moines with its Hospital Awards for Volunteer Excellence (HAVE). The AHA HAVE Awards Program is in its 35th year and highlights the extraordinary efforts of hospital volunteers and volunteer programs as well as the value and positive influence their contributions have on hospital patients and staff and the communities they serve.

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Study: Without Medicaid expansion, poor skip care

Among the report’s findings: Nearly 20 percent of low-income people in states that did not expand Medicaid said they passed up needed medical care in the past 12 months because they couldn’t afford it. That compared to 9.4 percent in states that expanded the program. And about 8 percent of those in states that did not expand Medicaid reported they either skipped medication doses to save money or took less medication than prescribed. That compared to about 5 percent in states that expanded.

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Des Moines Hospital Earns Iowa Award for Jobs Program

Broadlawns Medical Center was recognized for its TEACH (Training and Educating Adults for a Career in Healthcare) program that targets individuals who have historically faced employment barriers. TEACH is a paid job-training program in which participants receive soft-skill training in professionalism and exposure to career opportunities that exist in health care. Since 2016, 55 people have gone through the program.

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2018 Iowa Hospital Heroes Announced at Conference

Twelve outstanding Iowa hospital employees were recently honored at the Iowa Hospital Association Annual Meeting as “Iowa Hospital Heroes.” The Iowa Hospital Heroes Awards program was created to recognize hospital employees who have performed a heroic act or tirelessly given their time, talent or expertise to better their hospital, patients or community. This was the 12th year that the awards have been given.

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Bringing Value to Iowa’s Medicaid Program

A fundamental flaw of Iowa’s current Medicaid managed care arrangement is its failure to provide value. After closely reviewing current research and examining effective Medicaid solutions from other states, Iowa’s hospitals believe there is a better way, a “Third Way” that puts Medicaid back under state control and evolves the program beyond the volume-based fee-for-service model – a way that creates and sustains value at a level that is simply impossible under the profit-driven private managed care organizations.

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