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

Iowa News

Despite campaign promises, complete repeal of Affordable Care Act could be difficult
President-elect Donald Trump vowed on the campaign trail to repeal the Affordable Care Act. However, making good on that promise may be easier said than done. “The big problem is there is no real, clear plan for replacement,” said Pete Damiano, director of the University of Iowa’s Public Policy Center. The state’s version of Medicaid expansion, the Iowa Health and Wellness plan, provides insurance for more than 130,000 people while there are another 50,000 people in Iowa buying plans on the exchange. But Damiano added that Iowa has a fairly low participation rate on the exchange meaning there is a potentially larger impact of Iowans affected by a repeal. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Immersion program aims to bridge gap
A partnership between Mercy Medical Center and the Clinton Community School District is giving area students with intellectual or developmental disabilities the chance to earn real-world work experience. Project SEARCH, as it is known, is giving five students the opportunity to gain essential job skills, rotating the students from Clinton High School and Central DeWitt High School through three unpaid internships over a nine-month period. The students will receive continual feedback from job coaches contracted through Developing Alternative Choices (DAC), Inc., and Mercy-staffed mentors. (Clinton Herald)

With new UI children’s hospital, dream becomes reality
During Friday’s dedication ceremony for the University of Iowa’s (UI) new children’s hospital, an 11-year-old patient summarized the goal of the designers, planners and builders of the new, 14-story facility: “I don’t want to stay here anytime soon, but when I do, I know it’s a great place,” said Maren Denison, who has had several extended stays at UI Hospitals and Clinics since being born there, two months prematurely. The new $360 million hospital facility will include space for parents and siblings in patients’ rooms and a number of kid-friendly options, including a library, interactive theater, cafeteria, garden and 12th-floor viewing of Kinnick Stadium. (Iowa City Press-Citizen)

National News

Trump victory elicits measured response from health care leaders
One of the most contentious and shocking presidential elections in U.S. history has been greeted with safely worded platitudes by the nation’s major healthcare provider and payer associations. American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack issued a statement that could have been drafted before the votes were counted. He did not refer to Trump by name, but said the nearly 5,000 hospitals in his organization would continue to “work in a bipartisan manner advancing our agenda.” (HealthLeaders Media)

Data can help tackle childhood trauma at the community level
Kansas City’s Resilient KC initiative, a partnership of Healthy KC and Trauma Matters KC, supports the emerging “upstreamist” movement in health care. The concept is to address health problems before they emerge as individual or community-centered health issues. Research suggests that this damage is compounded by multiple adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). In first of its kind research, the Kansas Hospital Association and Missouri Hospital Association were able to deliver a community ACE score at the ZIP-code level for communities in both states. ACEs have high downstream costs and better health starts upstream from the health care system. (Kansas City Star)

Improving the “culture of health” helps patients, experts say
Accountable care organizations (ACOs) and other players in the health care system need to look after patients’ non-medical needs if they want their health outcomes to improve, several speakers said Thursday at a briefing on the “Culture of Health” sponsored by Health Affairs. A study of 32 ACOs found that 16 of them were working to address patients’ non-medical needs. Housing instability, food security and transportation were among the most common needs addressed, with various methods being used for each. “The culture of health is about meeting people’s needs to attain health and well-being,” Alan Weil, editor-in-chief of Health Affairs. (MedPage Today)

Trump says he may keep parts of Obamacare
President-elect Donald Trump signaled a willingness Friday not to repeal all of the Affordable Care Act, saying in an interview that he would keep several popular provisions. “Either Obamacare will be amended, or repealed and replaced,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal in something of a retreat from his campaign promise to throw out the whole law. Trump indicated that he might keep several provisions, such as the law’s insurance guarantee, which requires that insurers cover Americans, even if they are sick. (Los Angeles Times)

Is Paul Ryan already eyeing Medicare cuts?
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday that Medicare has “serious problems” that would need to be addressed when Congress moves to repeal and replace the health care reform law — a signal that he is willing to immediately enter the treacherous politics of entitlement reform and perhaps break with President-elect Donald Trump. The “Better Way” policy package that Ryan drafted earlier this year proposed a broad package of proposed Medicare reforms, ranging from the repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board to expanding the privately managed Medicare Advantage program to a full-blown overhaul of the Medicare system into a “premium support” model. (Washington Post)

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