The Newsstand

Today’s NewsStand – October 18, 2019

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

Iowa News

Iowa rural hospitals make tough choices to stay lean, provide needed care
Hospital leaders say a policy fix is needed to ensure the future of rural hospitals in Iowa and across the country that are succumbing to financial pressures and closing their doors. Until that fix comes, though, Iowa’s network of rural community hospitals is making tough choices and smart partnerships to get by. Some have dropped OB-GYN services. Smaller hospitals have turned to larger ones to form partnerships, which can result in the elimination of services to be more cost-efficient but forces patients to drive out of town for health care. Other efforts to maintain local hospital care include shifting to more outpatient care, the interviews show. (Oskaloosa Herald)

Democrats’ health care proposals bring mixed reactions from Iowans
Health care, and how to pay for it, is one of the biggest topics of debate this election season. More than half the state’s hospitals are operating in the red, according to the Iowa Hospital Association. Democratic presidential candidate healthcare proposals throw around terms like “Medicare for All” and “public option.” According to an Iowa poll out last month by the Des Moines Register, 41 percent of likely caucus-goers support Medicare for all, while 24 percent think it’s a bad policy. Jim Atty, the CEO of the Waverly Health Center 20 miles north of Waterloo, said he’s also worried about plans that would expand Medicare. (Iowa Public Radio)

MercyOne announces $870,000 expansion for specialty doctors in Oelwein
MercyOne has announced an $870,000 expansion project breaking ground this week to accommodate a growing number of specialists. The new space will be located on the first floor of the Oelwein Medical Center campus to accommodate heart care, urology care, general surgery, kidney care, behavioral health care, occupational health and midwives. The 2,000-square-foot addition will be on the north side of the campus, adding on to MercyOne Oelwein Family Medicine. When finished, the new space will house seven additional exam rooms, a procedure room, two offices, a nurse station and restroom. (Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier)

National News

How pending decision on Obamacare could upend the 2020 campaign
A federal appeals court in New Orleans is preparing a ruling on the Affordable Care Act that could put the law’s future front and center in the presidential race, overwhelming the current Democratic debate over Medicare for all and reigniting the health care-driven worries that helped Democrats win back the House last year. Three judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals are weighing whether to uphold a Texas judge’s ruling that the law’s requirement for most Americans to have health insurance is unconstitutional, and that the rest of the sprawling law cannot function without it. (New York Times)

Medicaid enrollment down in 2019 and expected to be flat in 2020
Enrollment in Medicaid in 2019 declined by nearly 2% and is expected to be largely flat, with an increase of 0.8%, next year due in part to the economy and stringent eligibility rules, according to a new survey. The survey of Medicaid directors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia was released Friday from the Kaiser Family Foundation. States attributed the enrollment decline to a strong economy and administrative changes to the renewal process. (Fierce Healthcare)

New vaping study links e-liquids to some lung inflammation
A new study suggests that vaping e-liquids, specifically propylene glycol and glycerin, may lead to some inflammation in the lungs — but more research is needed to determine just how much inflammation may occur over a prolonged period of time. The study, published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research on Wednesday, found that in people who had never smoked, after using e-cigarettes just twice daily for a month, levels of propylene glycol in their system was linked with changes in inflammatory cell counts in their lungs, although the magnitude of changes was small. (CNN)