Visit our website ⇒

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

Iowa News

Branstad says Medicaid expansion ‘remains to be seen’
Iowa’s governor expects the Republican-led congress and President-elect Donald Trump to quickly repeal the Affordable Care Act and Governor Terry Branstad today said it’s unclear what may happen to the 145,000 low-income Iowans who now are covered by Medicaid because of the law. “That remains to be seen,” Branstad said. “I think we’ve got to see how that works.” However, Branstad says those 145,000 Iowans who are on Medicaid due to “ObamaCare” are unlikely to completely lose coverage. Branstad suggested “more flexibility” for how states run the Medicaid program can yield cost savings. (Radio Iowa)

Branstad doesn’t plan to close more state facilities
Governor Terry Branstad said Monday that he does not intend to shutter more state mental hospitals or other state institutions next year. “At this point, we’re just beginning the budgeting process, but there is no plan at this point to close additional facilities,” he told reporters. “We’re always looking for ways we can have a smaller and smarter government,” he added, but his emphasis is likely to be on such things as cutting regulations and outdated programs instead of closing more facilities. The Republican governor sparked controversy in 2015, when he ordered the closures of two of the state’s four mental hospitals. (Des Moines Register)

New Solution Emerging to Ease Mental Health Treatment Problems in Iowa
The prison system has been forced into becoming mental health facilities because in many cases, mental health services are lacking on the outside. Doctors at Broadlawns Medical Center deal with the crisis daily. No one is turned away but often patients must wait for a bed to open up. “We have patients in the emergency department for up to 120 hours,” said Jeff Jarding, Nursing Director, Emergency Department & Crisis at Broadlawns Medical Center. Integrated Telehealth Partners (ITP) is trying to eliminate that wait by connecting patients with psychiatrists from around the country. ITP currently works with 22 health facilities around the state. The Boone County Hospital started using it over a year ago. (WHO)

National News

South Carolina mental health system making progress, but much more to do
South Carolina’s mental health care system is slowly making progress but has a long way to go before it can meet the needs of those who suffer with mental illness in this state, a new report concludes. The analysis from the South Carolina Institute of Medicine & Public Health comes about a year since the group took stock of the state of mental health care in South Carolina and made 20 recommendations for improving it. It outlines areas of forward momentum as well as those where little progress has been made, said Maya Pack, associate director for research and strategic initiatives with the institute. (Greenville News)

To get disability help in Kansas, thousands face a 7-year Medicaid waitlist
in Kansas, there’s now a long waitlist — a seven-year wait — for people with intellectual disabilities to get the services they need. This year, families have been speaking out about that long waitlist and about other Medicaid problems at public forums like one held at the Jack Reardon Convention Center in Kansas City, Kansas, in May. Hundreds of people with disabilities, their families and caseworkers railed against KanCare — the state Medicaid program. The state has been gathering feedback because it needs the federal government’s permission to continue running KanCare. (Kaiser Health News)

Rural hospitals, clinics in Virginia likely to suffer if Obamacare repealed
West Virginia University Professor Simon F. Haeder fully expects the Republican-led government to nix Medicaid expansion and the insurance marketplace. Haeder shared his concerns that if the repeal takes place, thousands of West Virginians will lose coverage and rural hospitals will be forced to close their doors. “Even with the Affordable Care Act, rural hospitals are operating on razor thin margins. We’ve seen closures already. That’s going to get worse.” The American Hospital Association said across the U.S., there are 1,855 rural hospitals that support nearly two million jobs and reported 26 of West Virginia’s 54 hospitals are rural. (Beckley Register-Herald)

Clinics help keep people with serious mental illness out of ER
More than half of emergency room (ER) physicians said their local mental health system has gotten worse in the past year, according to a survey of 1,716 members of the American College of Emergency Physicians, released in October. Seventy-five percent of ER doctors said on their last shift, they saw at least one psychiatric patient who needed to be hospitalized. But clinics can helps the mentally ill avoid winding up in the ER, where round-the-clock activity and confusion is ill-suited to the needs of patients who are already agitated, suicidal or psychotic. (Kaiser Health News)

For Trump and GOP, ‘Obamacare’ repeal is complex and risky
With Republicans controlling the White House and Congress in January, they’re faced with delivering on their long-time promise to repeal and replace “Obamacare.” But there probably won’t be anything fast about Congress’ effort to replace Obama’s law, which is likely to take many months. While the replacement effort is underway, Republicans will risk aggravating up to 30 million people who are covered by the law or buy policies with prices affected by its insurance marketplace. Democrats will be sure to accuse the GOP of threatening the health care of millions. (Associated Press/Statesman)

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.