Like the VA, community hospitals know all too well the impediments that come with caring for complex, chronically ill patients within the financial and regulatory constraints of government-paid health coverage. At the same time, it re-affirms that those in charge of these programs – from Congress and the Iowa Legislature to agency and department heads – have an obligation to properly fund and manage them so that innovation is encouraged.
There are those who will shrug away this hospital’s demise. “It was just one hospital,” they will say, even though it is also hundreds of jobs (both in and out of the hospital) and millions of dollars and the only hospital in an entire county and beyond. “It was just one hospital,” they will say, even though there will be no replacing its community benefits, its community support or its community leadership – ever.
A doctor’s training hasn’t historically focused on sensitivity. And too often while juggling heavy workloads and high stress, they can be viewed as brusque, condescending or inconsiderate. A 2011 study, for instance, found barely more than half of recently hospitalized patients said they experienced compassion when getting health care, despite widespread agreement among doctors and patients that kindness is valuable and important. But payment initiatives and increasing patient expectations are slowly forcing changes, encouraging doctors to be better listeners and more sensitive to patients’ needs.
Editorial boards at three of Iowa’s major daily newspapers have joined IHA in calling on the state to reconsider its implementation of Medicaid managed care. Last week, both the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald published editorials supporting IHA’s position. Meanwhile, the Des Moines Register has published multiple editorials demanding that the Branstad administration put the brakes on its plan.
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The Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) is a voluntary membership organization representing hospital and health system interests to business, government, and consumer audiences. It shapes health policy, fosters new forms of health care delivery, gathers data and monitors health care payment systems.