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Small-Hospital Surgeon Carries Big Load, Bigger Smile

As the only general surgeon in an Iowa Critical Access Hospital, Dr. Chad McCance shoulders a tremendous responsibility and he never fails to deliver. Even if he has to hike through a blizzard to get to the hospital (and he has!), he is always ready to serve his patients. Dr. McCance works with area surgeons from three different hospitals to ensure each community has surgery coverage at all times. In 2016, he was on call a total of 272 days.

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ACA Progress Remains Under Attack

The ACA has fulfilled its promise to extend health care coverage to millions of Americans, who in turn are no longer existing on the edges of the health care system. But health care advocates must remain aware of seemingly small changes that in fact are already undermining the ACA’s progress and increasing the number of Americans who are uninsured.

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Iowa’s Budget Needs to Prioritize Health Care

Iowa hospitals and other providers are urging legislators – and asking Iowans to join – to resist any further cuts to budget items that support Iowa hospitals or the Medicaid program and to restore retroactive Medicaid enrollment for all providers. Iowa’s budget should not be balanced on the backs of its most vulnerable citizens and those who provide them health care.

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Iowa Mental Health Advocates Applaud Signing of Bills

Iowa Mental health advocates turned out in force for the March 28 signing of two important bills recently passed unanimously by the Iowa Legislature. Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the bills in the Rotunda of the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines. “We are excited about the significant progress these bills represent in improving our mental health system,” said Peggy Huppert, executive director of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Iowa. “They’ve both been a long time coming. To see them pass unanimously and be signed on the same day is thrilling.”

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How Medicaid Reduces Poverty: Summarizing the Research

In 2016, about 13 percent of the US population lived in poverty. Children continue to live disproportionately in poverty: children represent 23 percent of the population, but 33 percent of the population living in poverty. Research shows that Medicaid helps pull families out of poverty by providing access to affordable health coverage and lowering out-of-pocket costs. Here are some examples of that research.

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No Car, No Care? Medicaid Transportation Threatened

Called non-emergency medical transportation, or NEMT, the benefit is as old as Medicaid itself. From its inception, in 1966, Medicaid has been required to transport people to and from such medical services as mental health counseling sessions, substance abuse treatment, dialysis, physical therapy and adult day care. But now at least three states, including Iowa, have received federal waivers — and extensions —allowing them to cut Medicaid transportation services.

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Health Care Sector Worth $17 Billion to Iowa Economy

In all, Iowa’s health care sector, which includes hospitals, offices of physicians, dentists and other health practitioners, nursing home and residential care, other medical and health services and pharmacies, contributes $17 billion to the state economy while directly and indirectly providing 330,308 jobs, or about 20 percent of the state’s total non-farm employment. Iowa hospitals on their own employ more than 74,000 people and inject $7.1 billion into the state economy.

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Medicaid Work Requirements Meant to Fight Poverty? Public Doesn’t Buy It

Most Americans don’t buy the argument that the primary aim of allowing states to add work requirements to Medicaid is to pull more people out of poverty. Instead, more people believe the motivation is a different goal: to cut Medicaid spending by creating bureaucracy and barriers that then reduce enrollment in the health insurance program for low-income Americans.

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Mental Health Advocates Hold Event at Iowa Capitol

Leaders from three major Iowa health care organizations held a press conference in the Iowa Capitol rotunda today to call attention to the urgency of and progress on mental health legislation in the Iowa Legislature. Representatives from the Iowa Hospital Association, Iowa Medical Society and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Iowa joined forces to draw attention to an online petition that has garnered nearly 5,000 signatures. They also referenced a recent Iowa Poll that showed that nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Iowans believe that our mental health system is in crisis (35 percent) or a big problem (38 percent). Only nine percent said it is “working just fine.”

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