The Newsstand

Today’s NewsStand – April 24, 2018

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

Iowa News

Iowa House again passes Medicaid oversight legislation
The Iowa House once again has unanimously approved legislation providing oversight of Medicaid managed care to deal with what the bill’s manger called “bumps in the road.” The House earlier passed similar legislation, but it failed to meet a deadline in the Senate. So the House passed House File 2483 on a 95-0 vote. The earlier version was approved 97-0. HF 2483 addresses the timeliness of Medicaid payments, denial reasoning, credentialing, prior authorizations, appeals, level of care determinations and a small claims audit. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

$5 billion Iowa Medicaid negotiations were supposed to be done, but they haven’t started
Iowa legislators are poised to pass their annual budget without knowing how many millions they’ll need to spend on Medicaid — the state’s second-biggest expense. Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven pledged in January not to put legislators in this position again. He said his department would promptly finish contract negotiations with the for-profit companies running Iowa’s $5 billion Medicaid program. In fact, the contract negotiations haven’t started yet. (Des Moines Register)

Reynolds seeks plan for improving childrens’ mental health care system
Governor Kim Reynolds has signed an executive order creating a new state “children’s mental health board.” The governor is asking the group to make its recommendations by the end of the year. Advocates like Peggy Huppert of the National Alliance on Mental Illness say services for children diagnosed with mental illness or who are suicidal are woefully inadequate in Iowa. (Radio Iowa)

‘We need a kick in the butt,’ advocate says of effort to help children’s mental health needs
Governor Reynolds signed an executive order that establishes a Children’s Mental Health Board to look for solutions. The board will be made up of professionals from health care, education, mental health advocacy, the court system and lawmakers. Peggy Huppert, executive director of the Iowa chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Health, wants to make sure lawmakers properly fund Medicaid, which provides mental health care. But she feels that the new board will bring important changes. “It’s a significant step,” she said, “We need a kick in the butt to move this thing forward.” (WHO)

National News

Bill won’t control health care costs in California, but it will devastate hospitals
Last week, a bill that would dismantle California’s health care delivery system as we know it was introduced in the Legislature. Assembly Bill 3807 would penalize millions of patients through massive cuts in services and result in as many as 175,000 hospital workers losing their jobs. Medi-Cal pays hospitals only 68 cents for every dollar of care provided to patients, and Medicare roughly 77 cents for every dollar. AB 3087 does nothing to increase the rates paid by these programs, resulting in huge losses for California hospitals. (Associated Press/Sacramento Bee)

Massachusetts hospital group says nurse staffing ratio would cost $881M in first year
The state’s largest hospital organization is saying that passage of a ballot initiative to cap the number of patients per nurse would cost Massachusetts hospitals $881 million in the first year alone. That number was calculated by the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association, which represents 70 hospitals throughout the state. The lobbying group has long opposed nurse-patient ratio legislation, but undertook an analysis with a more recent push to put the question on the November ballot. (Boston Business Journal)

US ‘paying attention’ to Utah’s Medicaid initiative, Obama-era health official says
Utah health care advocates looking to think up ways to reduce the cost of medical care in the state got a visit this week from Andy Slavitt, who served as acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from March 2015 to January 2017. He shared his ideas at an “affordability boot camp” organized by the Utah Health Policy Project. The affordability summit came the day after ballot initiative campaign Utah Decides Healthcare announced it had collected enough signatures to put full Medicaid expansion before the state’s voters in November. (Deseret News)

Health care costs are making consumers more afraid of medical bills than an actual illness
As health care costs keep rising, more people seem to be skipping physician visits. It’s not fear of doctors, however, but more of a phobia about the bills that could follow. Higher deductibles and out-of-network fees are just some of the out-of-pocket costs that can hit a consumer’s pockets. According to a recent national poll, over the past 12 months, 44 percent of Americans said they didn’t go to the doctor when they were sick or injured because of financial concerns. (CNBC)