The Newsstand

Today’s NewsStand – December 14, 2018

Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.

Iowa News

Ames paramedic trying to help migrants return home to Honduras
Mark Sinnwell sees the common humanity he shares with the migrants that are part of the Honduran caravan. “We see it as humanitarian crisis,” said Sinnwell. For Sinnwell, a 22 year-old paramedic at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, this isn’t about immigration or politics; it’s about helping people. Sinnwell says the goal is not to help migrants enter America illegally, but rather to bring them back to Honduras, and reunite them with their families. (WHO)

Muscatine County board of supervisors concerned with homeless numbers in cold
With Christmas just around the corner, Muscatine County Community Services Director Kathie Anderson-Noel is concerned about the number of homeless people. Supervisor Nathan Mather reported he was informed at a recent meeting of the Eastern Iowa Mental Health and Disability Services Region, which includes Muscatine County and four other counties, taking care of children in need may be shifted from the Department of Human Services to the mental health regions. But Mather said a funding source hasn’t been identified. (Quad-City Times)

Variety raises more than $140,000 during ‘Two Days of Compassion’
The Variety Children’s Charity raised a record-breaking $141,304 during its two-day radiothon, Two Days of Compassion on 92.5 Nash Icon. Funds were raised December 11 and 12 to fill Variety’s Compassion Fund for the year. Families often face financial difficulties when caring for a critically ill child. That is where the Compassion Fund steps in. Variety’s Compassion Fund partners with Mercy Des Moines and Blank Children’s Hospital, and allows social workers to identify needs and distribute funds directly to families. (We Are Iowa)

National News

Farm bill opens door to refinancing indebted rural hospitals
Congress’ newly passed farm bill has a holiday present for rural hospitals: debt refinancing. The bill headed to President Donald Trump’s desk includes a provision that would allow rural hospitals to refinance substantial debt through lower-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Danne Howard of the Alabama Hospital Association said the group hasn’t thoroughly analyzed how many of its member hospitals—close to half of which are rural—would qualify now. (Modern Healthcare)

Insurance premiums increasing faster than hospital prices, analysis finds
Growth in insurance premiums and prescription drug prices is outpacing growth in hospital prices, according to an analysis by the American Hospital Association (AHA). For the analysis, the AHA examined data from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Bureau of Economic Analysis for 2017 and 2018. The analysis found that hospital prices grew 1.8 percent year over year, while insurance premiums climbed 4.5 percent. Prescription drug prices increased 4.1 percent from 2017 to 2018. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

House, Senate pass maternal mortality prevention legislation
The House and Senate have passed legislation providing funding for state committees to investigate maternal deaths and to share the information nationwide. The Preventing Maternal Deaths Act establishes and supports state Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs) to assess each pregnancy-related or pregnancy-associated death and, based on those findings, to develop recommendations for how to prevent future loss of life. (HealthData Management)

Record count reported for mysterious paralyzing illness
This year has seen a record number of cases of a mysterious paralyzing illness in children, U.S. health officials said Monday. It’s still not clear what’s causing the kids to lose the ability to move their face, neck, back, arms or legs. The symptoms tend to occur about a week after the children had a fever and respiratory illness. No one has died from the rare disease this year, but it was blamed for one death last year and it may have caused others in the past. (Associated Press/ABC News)