The Feed

Meth Makes a Comeback; Addiction Meds Still Scarce

Even as the opioid epidemic continues, the toll of methamphetamine use is on the rise, too. The rate of overdose deaths involving the stimulant more than tripled from 2011 to 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. But unlike the opioid epidemic — for which medications exist to help combat addiction — medical providers have few such tools to help methamphetamine users survive and recover.

Learn More

Rising Drug Prices Strain Hospital Budgets

Rising costs of prescription drugs have strained hospital budgets and operations, forcing health systems to cut costs by reducing staff, according to a new study. Hospital drug spending increased by 18.5 percent between 2015 and 2017, a rate far exceeding medical inflation for the period. US community hospitals spent an average of $555.40 on prescription drugs for each admitted patient in 2017.

Learn More

Health Care Takes Center Stage in Governor’s Address

During this week’s Condition of the State address, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds committed to support – and provide funding to – several key health care issues, including mental health, Iowa’s health care workforce and rural development. Here is a closer look at what the governor shared regarding those areas.

Learn More

Iowa Hospitals Outline 2019 Legislative Priorities

Iowa hospitals and their 74,000 employees across the state are on the frontline of maintaining and improving the health of Iowans by providing quality care services and leadership to community health initiatives. The Iowa Hospital Association (IHA), which represents all of the state’s 118 community hospitald, supports policies that improve the experience of health care delivery, improve the health of the population and control health care costs.

Learn More

How Medicaid Work Rules Are Failing

Before Arkansas began implementing its new Medicaid work requirement policy, it was predicted to lead to large coverage losses, including among beneficiaries who are eligible but get tripped up by red tape, and would not meaningfully increase employment. As of December 1, nearly 17,000 Arkansas Medicaid beneficiaries have lost coverage. Here’s why.

Learn More

Ruling Puts Affordable Care Act Back into Play

Federal District Judge Reed O’Connor again thrust the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into uncertainty with his December 14 ruling that concluded that eliminating the tax penalty for not having insurance renders the entire law unconstitutional. Here are some key takeaways from the ruling.

Learn More

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.

Learn More

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,

Learn More

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.

Learn More