The Newsstand

Today’s NewsStand – June 24, 2019

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

Iowa News

ChildServe announces $10 million capital campaign  
ChildServe, a Johnston-based pediatric specialty health care organization that serves more than 4,500 children in Iowa each year, has announced a $10 million fundraising effort called Forward Together that will help the nonprofit to address growing and unmet needs.

“We’ve never had a campaign this size,” said Dr. Teri Wahlig, ChildServe’s CEO, who noted that previous campaign goals have been between $2 million and $4 million. ChildServe’s most recent expansion in 2014, which doubled its outpatient therapy space at its Johnston campus, was funded by a roughly $4 million campaign. (Business Record)

Mental health leaders in Scott County are pleading lawmakers to lift mandates
An Iowa law that controls how much counties can tax and spend on mental health services is pitting local officials against state lawmakers, and some Republicans against each other, two years after it passed.  At its regular meeting Monday, members of the Eastern Iowa Mental Health/Disability Services Governing Board continued to raise concerns about its budgetary needs in upcoming years. And they again blasted Senate File 504, passed in 2017, which limits the maximum tax levy for mental health to $30.78 per capita. The law also requires counties to spend down their reserves. (Quad-City Times)

SMC, Shenandoah Schools partner for employee wellness program
The Shenandoah Community School District and Shenandoah Medical Center are teaming up in an effort to increase employee well-being. The school district is now offering a corporate wellness program to its employees provided by SMC staff. SMC Marketing Director Ryan Spiegel says the hospital began offering employee wellness programs in the last year to local businesses and organizations. “It’s a real popular thing in the more metropolitan areas, but we’re trying to expand on that here in some of our rural communities,” said Spiegel. (KMALand)

MercyOne air team: Lifesaving care for the people of Iowa
With two bases located in and around Des Moines, Iowa, Mercy One’s Bell 429s are a common sight in the skies above the city and outlying areas. Approximately 20 percent of Mercy One’s flights are scene flights, while the remaining 80 percent are interfacility transfers. Because of the extensive ranching and farming activities in the rural areas surrounding Des Moines, Mercy One is commonly tasked with responding to accidents involving people thrown from horses or crushed by livestock. (Vertical)

National News

CMS to no longer exclude Medicare ACOs from BPCI Advanced savings
Participants in the CMS’ advanced bundled payment model will soon be able to apply the benefits of the program to all beneficiaries part of the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

In an email on Friday, the CMS said beginning Jan. 1, healthcare providers participating in model year 3 of the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced program will take precedent over Medicare ACOs in the enhanced track, which has the most downside risk. Prior to this, participants in the bundle could only apply the program to beneficiaries if they were in the basic track, or ACOs in tracks previously called Tracks 1, 1+ and 2.

In combating surprise bills, lawmakers miss sky-high air ambulance costs
The rising number of complaints about surprise medical bills is spurring efforts on Capitol Hill and at the White House to help consumers. Over and over again, the high cost associated with air ambulance service gives patients the biggest sticker shock — the subject has come up at nearly every Capitol Hill hearing and press conference on surprise medical bills. Yet air ambulance costs are not addressed in any of the proposals introduced or circulating in Congress. Even a congressional decision last year to set up a panel that would study air ambulance billing hasn’t gotten off the ground. (Kaiser Health News)

Federal grants restricted to fighting opioids miss the mark, states say
The federal government has doled out at least $2.4 billion in state grants since 2017, in hopes of stemming an opioid epidemic that killed 47,600 people in the U.S. in that year alone. But state officials note that drug abuse problems seldom involve only one substance. And while local officials are grateful for the funding, the grants can be spent only on creating solutions to combat opioids, such as prescription OxyContin, heroin and fentanyl. Also, the federal cash infusion is guaranteed for only a few years, which throws the sustainability of the states’ efforts into question. (Iowa Public Radio)