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Federal Appeals Court Takes Up Case That Could Upend U.S. Health System

The fate of the Affordable Care Act is again on the line, as a federal appeals court in New Orleans takes up a case in which a lower court judge has already ruled the massive health law unconstitutional. Not only would such a decision immediately affect the estimated 20 million people who get their health coverage through programs created under the law, ending the ACA would also create chaos in other parts of the health care system that were directly or indirectly changed under the law’s multitude of provisions.

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Have Cancer, Must Travel: Patients Left In Lurch After Hospital Closes

Continuity of care is crucial for cancer patients in the midst of treatment, which often requires frequent repeated outpatient visits. So when Mercy Hospital Fort Scott, a rural hospital in Kansas, was slated to close its doors at the end of 2018, hospital officials had arranged for its cancer clinic to remain open. Then “I got the email on Jan. 15,” said Reta Baker, the hospital’s CEO. It informed her that Cancer Center of Kansas, the contractor that operated and staffed the unit, had decided to shut it down too, just two weeks later.

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Senate Panel Makes Surprisingly Fast Work Of ‘Surprise Medical Bills’ Package

It may seem as if the Senate has decided on a way forward to fix the nation’s “surprise medical bill” problem. Members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved a sweeping measure Wednesday that tackles a range of big-ticket health care concerns. One thing the bill specifically does not deal with: the insurance market and the Affordable Care Act, which could be why the package was voted out of the committee in just over two hours with little debate.

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Senators Agree Surprise Medical Bills Must Go. But How?

Two years, 16 hearings and one massive bipartisan package of legislation later, a key Senate committee says it is ready to start marking up a bill next week designed to contain health care costs. But it might not be easy since lawmakers and stakeholders at a final hearing Tuesday showed they are still far apart on one simple aspect of the proposal. That sticking point: a formula for paying for surprise medical bills, those unexpected and often high charges patients face when they get care from a doctor or hospital that isn’t in their insurance network.

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Mini-Biographies Help Clinicians Connect With Patients

Clinicians can access a lot of medical data through a patient’s electronic medical record, but there’s nowhere to learn about a patient’s personality or learn about her career, passions or values, said Thor Ringler, who has managed the My Life, My Story project since 2013. The project has developed a set of training materials to allow other VA hospitals to launch storytelling programs. About 40 VA hospitals around the country are currently interested.

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Keeping Kids Healthy and Sane in a Digital World

Smartphones, tablets and video consoles can be addictive. They interfere with sleep. They draw kids into an alternate universe, often distracting them from more productive — and healthier — real-world activities. And they are linked to anxiety and depression, learning disabilities and obesity. That’s according to a growing body of research emphasizing the physical and psychological dangers of heavy screen use.

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Iowa Hospitals Generate 140,000 Jobs, $7.7 Billion

Iowa’s community hospitals generate more than 140,000 jobs that add nearly $7.8 billion to the state’s economy, according to IHA’s latest Iowa hospital economic impact report. In addition, Iowa hospital employees by themselves spend more than $2 billion on retail sales and contribute nearly $124 million in state sales tax revenue.The IHA report examined the jobs, income, retail sales and sales tax produced by hospitals and the rest of the state’s health care sector.

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Escalating Workplace Violence Rocks Hospitals

Across the country, many doctors, nurses and other health care workers have remained silent about what is being called an epidemic of violence against them. The violent outbursts come from patients and patients’ families. And for years, it has been considered part of the job. Many health care workers say the physical and verbal abuse come primarily from patients, some of whom are disoriented because of illness or medication. Sometimes nurses and doctors are abused by family members who are on edge because their loved one is ill.

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Surprise! Fixing Out-Of-Network Bills Means Someone Must Pay

President Donald Trump called on Republicans and Democrats to pass legislation this year to end surprise medical bills, in remarks made in the White House’s Roosevelt Room on Thursday. “We’re determined to end surprise medical billing for American patients,” Trump said. A bipartisan group of senators has been working to come up with a plan for the past several months. They said Thursday that they hope to have a bill to the president by July. But will bipartisanship be enough? Even political will might not overcome divisions within the health industry.

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