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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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Rural Areas Benefit from Medicaid Expansion

“Expanding Medicaid has had a very positive impact on small towns and rural communities,” said Georgetown University researcher Joan Alker. “Improved coverage rates typically translate to a more stable health care system and help rural areas and small towns maintain availability of health care providers in areas where shortages are all too common. Access to rural health providers is especially important to women of child-bearing age and those with chronic conditions.”

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Iowa Hospitals Provide Community Benefit

A statewide survey by the Iowa Hospital Association shows Iowa hospitals provided community benefits in 2017 valued at nearly $881 million, including more than $224 million in charity care. Community benefits are activities designed to improve health status and provide greater access to health care. Along with uncompensated care (which is made up of both charity care and bad debt), community benefits include such services and programs as health screenings, support groups, counseling, immunizations, nutritional services and transportation programs.

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Healthy LifeStars challenges childhood obesity in Iowa

Nationally, one in three children is overweight or obese and obesity rates for Iowa children have increased in recent years. Iowa is now ranked 30th among the 51 states and territories for childhood obesity and Iowa has the 13th highest adult obesity rate in the nation. Healthy LifeStars was founded in 2003 to address childhood obesity and has reached more than 35,000 kids in Arizona and Colorado. In 2018, it launched programs in Iowa and Ohio and has the goal of growing nationwide.

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Cost of Insulin Leads to Deadly Self-Rationing

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a terrible way to die. It’s what happens when you don’t have enough insulin. Your blood sugar gets so high that your blood becomes highly acidic, your cells dehydrate, and your body stops functioning. Nicole Smith-Holt lost her son to diabetic ketoacidosis, three days before his payday, because he couldn’t afford his insulin.

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Premium Tax Credits: Hero of the Individual Market

It has become clear that the ACA’s premium tax credits have acted as a central stabilizing force for the individual market. Of the 10.6 million people currently enrolled in marketplace plans, 87 percent are receiving this help to pay their premiums. Congress has clear options for expanding the generosity and availability of tax credits. Larger credits made available to more people would have the double benefit of making insurance more affordable and the individual market more affordable.

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Study Confirms 340B Affects Small Share of US Drug Market

A new report by independent researchers refutes claims by the pharmaceutical industry that the 340B drug pricing program is so large it forces manufacturers to raise their prices. Publication of the new report comes as Congress and the Trump administration are debating policies to reduce the scope of the 340B program, which, for the past 25 years, has helped provide low-cost medications and better health outcomes for millions of Americans and the non-profit hospitals and clinics.

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The Value of Health Care Reform is More Than You May Think

Most Iowans probably know that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ended health insurance discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions. Parents are generally aware that adult children can stay on their health plan until age 26. These were great advances, but many of the long-range benefits of the ACA haven’t received much attention. Nonetheless, new structures have taken hold behind the scenes and they’re working to improve care quality, increase innovation and even boost the economy.

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