Visit our website ⇒

Iowa News

Waverly council oks Health Center loan
Waverly City Council approved last week signing an application for a $36 million U.S. Deptartment of Agriculture loan to expand the Waverly Health Center (WHC). Preliminary expansion plans include a new emergency department, a full-time walk-in clinic and expanded clinic space. The expansion won’t include increasing the bed capacity of the facility, said Jim Atty, WHC CEO. Being able to accommodate practitioners and specialists at the existing facility has been a challenge, and limited clinic hours sometimes leads people to visit the emergency department and incur higher costs, he said. (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier)

Innovation and wellness: Meet Kevin Vermeer
This past January, Kevin Vermeer filled Bill Leaver’s shoes at UnityPoint Health, transitioning to president and CEO. Though the position itself may have been new to him, he is very familiar with the health care industry as a whole, having spent the past two decades working in this space. But things are always changing. He shares how there is an opportunity for new approaches, growth and learning. However, in reality innovation involves a great deal of hard work, stress of the unexpected and fear of the unknown. Each can have a negative impact on one’s health and general well-being, so it is important to know how to cope. (Des Moines Business Record)

Grinnell professor wins award for children’s mental health activism
Grinnell College professor Tammy Nyden received the prestigious Isabel Turner Award at a ceremony hosted by the Iowa City Human Rights Commission late last month. The annual award recognizes the distinguished efforts and concerted volunteer contributions of human rights activists across the state. Nyden was honored for her dedication to the improvement of Iowa children’s mental health services. As a concerned citizen and the mother of a child with a mental health disorder, Nyden has spent the last two years working to enact reform on local and state level. (Grinnell College Scarlett and Black)

National News

Epidemic ignored: A broken mental health care system in Oklahoma
Years ago, when Oklahoma closed its large psychiatric hospitals, the state inadvertently turned patients into inmates. For decades, Oklahoma has spent among the least in the nation on its mental health system. Meanwhile, Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of adults with serious mental illnesses. Only one of three Oklahomans who need treatment receives it. At last count, 60 percent of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections’ population, 17,000 people, have either symptoms or a history of mental illness. Oklahoma is missing out on a substantial opportunity to divert thousands of people away from the criminal justice system and into the treatment system, health leaders say. (Oklahoman)

Trump victory worries Ky Medicaid advocates
Tuesday’s election could threaten care for more than half a million Kentuckians who gained coverage under the law also known as Obamacare that Trump wants to repeal. Governor Matt Bevin already is working to scale back the 2014 Medicaid expansion enacted by his predecessor, former Governor Steve Beshear, a Democrat, that added 440,000 people to the government health plan. Advocates of the health law say many of the new enrollees are the working poor with jobs in food service, construction, cleaning, farming, child care or other occupations that often don’t offer full-time hours or health benefits. (Louisville Courier-Journal)

Hospitals push readmissions fix in lame-duck Congress
Industry lobbyists are putting the pressure on Congress to use the lame duck session to pass a law that would take into consideration the challenges faced by hospitals that predominantly treat low-income patients. This summer, the House unanimously passed a bill that would require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to account for patient socioeconomic status when calculating readmissions penalties. The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program aims to reduce preventable readmissions by penalizing hospitals with higher-than-average Medicare readmissions. Safety net hospitals say the program unfairly judges them for the patients they serve. (Modern Healthcare)

Some panic but others are indifferent about losing Obamacare
The 20 million Americans who have gained health coverage under the Affordable Care Act don’t yet know exactly how the presidency of Donald Trump will change their lives — and reactions to that uncertainty range from anxiety to apathy. But another set of consumers may welcome a change. It’s been well-documented that the public remains deeply divided over the law, which has been controversial since it passed in 2010. A recent Gallup poll found that 51 percent of respondents are in favor of repealing Obamacare, while 45 percent oppose repealing it. (Kaiser Health News)

Health care adds 31K jobs in October
Health care hiring has been on an upward swing with no particular end in sight – but with an unclear future as the fate of health care reform hangs in the balance of the recent presidential election. Health care employment increased by 31,000 positions during October, according to new stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Broken down across the industry, October’s gains were made in ambulatory health care services, which added 19,000 jobs, and in hospitals, which added 13,000 jobs. During the last 12 months, health care has grown by 415,000 jobs. (Healthcare Dive)

Leave a Comment

Please take a moment to read through our comment policy.

If you would like a photo to appear next to your comment, you'll need to upload a gravatar.