The Newsstand

Today’s NewsStand – June 21, 2018

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

Iowa News

Medica plans less than a 5.6 percent increase for 2019
Iowans who buy their own health insurance are about to get a rare bit of good news. Medica, the sole carrier now selling individual health insurance policies in Iowa, plans to raise its 2019 premiums by less than a tenth as much as it did for 2018. Medica raised its Iowa health insurance premiums by a staggering average of 57 percent for 2018. But this time around, the carrier is planning to raise Iowa premiums by an average of less than 5.6 percent, state regulators disclosed Wednesday. (Des Moines Register)

Mercy Medical Center-Sioux City unveils new device for staff safety
Mercy Medical Center-Sioux City continues excellent care for not only their patients, but their staff as well. They’re introducing new technology called the ‘capers system’ which stands for controlled air purifying respirator. It’s a helmet and mask that staff members wear if they have a patient with some kind of airborne pathogen such as TB, influenza, or anything that can be transmitted via air. These are replacing the face masks they used to wear, which nurses say are uncomfortable and hard to fit. (Siouxland Proud)

Child Identity Program offered through Lakes Regional Healthcare and EMS providers
Lakes Regional Healthcare (LRH) plans to implement a Children Have An iDentity (CHAD) program. CHAD is a nationwide program that identifies injured children. Stickers that list the child’s name, address, birth date, names and phone numbers of parents as well as additional emergency contact information are provided to parents of children to help identify them in the case of an emergency. Stickers are being distributed to parents LRH Birth Center, at Dickinson County Public Health, at Avera Medical Group Lakes Family Practice and Spirit Lake Medical Center and via EMS providers. (Dickinson County News)

Blood donations are a lifesaving gift for two-year-old with cancer
A metro mom hopes her daughter’s story will inspire others to give blood ahead of Blood Donor Day in Des Moines. Two-year-old Brooklyn Gehrls was diagnosed with the rare cancer in May of last year, and the diagnosis has meant chemotherapy and many transfusions at Blank Children’s Hospital. “In that one-year time period, she’s up to 84 platelet transfusions and 61 blood transfusions,” said mom Kerry Gehrls. A huge need exists for donors. A variety of patients constantly need blood products, and the hospital needs to have a consistent level on shelves. (WHO)

National News

Lawmakers focus on flaws in Texas Medicaid managed care program after investigation
State lawmakers spent hours Wednesday pressing state officials, along with private companies that manage health care for Medicaid recipients, about a recent investigation by The Dallas Morning News that revealed how Texas is failing to provide care to some of its most medically vulnerable citizens. The House Human Services Committee met to discuss the state’s managed care program. The report found that Medicaid managed care companies withhold patient care and medical equipment under a system that pays them a flat fee for every Texan in the program. (Texas Tribune)

The severe shortage of mental health professionals in rural areas is a serious problem
Almost every American will, at some point or another, face a mental health challenge. Now, imagine there wasn’t a psychiatrist or psychologist for miles around. This is what life is like for many Americans in rural communities. A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that a majority of non-metropolitan counties do not have a psychiatrist and almost half of non-metropolitan counties do not have a psychologist. This is troubling because poor access to mental health care is a serious issue that overlaps with other public health crises like drug abuse and suicide. (CNN)

Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan name Atul Gawande CEO of health care venture
Well-regarded surgeon and author Atul Gawande will lead the new company being formed by Amazon.com Inc, Berkshire Hathaway Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co that aims to cut US employee health care costs, the companies said on Wednesday. The three companies said they would use big-data analysis and other high-tech tools to improve care and cut waste. The choice of Gawande reflects the company’s plans to focus on the entire healthcare system, rather than just looking to curb prescription drug costs, as some investors had first thought. (Reuters)

States to sue over Trump health plans skirting Obamacare requirements
New York and Massachusetts will sue the Trump administration over its expansion of health insurance plans that don’t meet all of Obamacare’s requirements. “We will sue to safeguard the protections under the Affordable Care Act and ensure that all families and small businesses have access to quality, affordable health care,” the attorneys general said in a statement Wednesday. The administration finalized a rule Tuesday expanding the plans, which allow small businesses and other groups to band together to buy health insurance. (The Hill)