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

Iowa News

Psych hospital firm to forego next state meeting
It will be at least another six months before a Tennessee company that has been trying to build a psychiatric hospital in the Iowa Quad-Cities will go before a state board for approval. Jim Shaheen, president of Strategic Behavioral Health LLC, of Memphis, confirmed Monday that the company will not seek the approval of Iowa’s State Health Facilities Council at the panel’s February meeting. Strategic has been trying for more than a year to build a 72-bed psychiatric hospital in the Quad-Cities. The company has failed to get a certificate of need from the state, a requirement before new health care facilities can be built. (Quad-City Times)

GRMC announces plans for unique partnership with UnityPoint and University of Iowa
Grinnell Regional Medical Center (GRMC), UnityPoint Health Des Moines and University of Iowa (UI) Health Care have begun exclusive negotiations about forming a new relationship. While details of the proposed relationship remain to be determined, the vision for Grinnell is clear. The goal is to bring the best of UnityPoint Health Des Moines and UI Health Care to Grinnell to enhance the care that is offered to the Grinnell community. Examples include enhancing specialty services, telemedicine, research, and educational opportunities, as well as introducing insurance products and direct-to-employer programs. (Tama News Herald-Toledo Chronicle)

UI receives $45 Million to support Iowa Neuroscience Institute
The Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust has committed a transformational $45 million grant to the University of Iowa that will allow for the creation of a comprehensive and cross-disciplinary neuroscience center within the University of Iowa (UI) Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. The new Iowa Neuroscience Institute will conduct research to find the causes of, and preventions, treatments and cures for, the many diseases that affect the brain and nervous system. This gift from the Carver Charitable Trust also is the largest in the UI’s For Iowa. Forever More. fundraising campaign, which started in 2008 and continues through December 2016. (University of Iowa Foundation)

Mercy donates AED’s to area schools, organizations 
Mercy Medical Center, Cedar Rapids, is donating Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to 12 area schools, churches and community organizations in December. The AEDs will be placed in readily-accessible locations at the schools and organizations, to be used in case of an emergency. The AED donation program at Mercy is designed to equip local non-profits demonstrating financial need with the life-saving devices.  The non-profits must also exhibit a need for AED coverage for their facility and participate in an application process. (Corridor Business Journal)

National News

What happens in New Jersey if Trump kills Medicaid expansion?
If President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican Congress carry out their promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the loss of federal Medicaid funding could mean a loss of health coverage for more than 500,000 New Jersey residents. Hospitals already accepted reduced reimbursement for Medicare as part of the grand bargain that led to enactment of the health care law. They did so expecting to see fewer uninsured patients, as Medicaid covered more people. If funding to expand Medicaid is cut, they will take a double financial hit, said Neil Eicher, a vice president of the New Jersey Hospital Association. (Newark Star-Ledger)

Alabama Medicaid change to managed care postponed till October
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley says Medicaid’s shift to managed care will be pushed back from July to October amid uncertainty about funding and what changes the Trump administration might bring to Medicaid. The governor said he is committed to moving forward with the switch to managed care, but said there are a few unknowns, including funding for next fiscal year and if the Trump administration will give states block grants allowing more flexibility to write the rules for their programs. Alabama since 2013 has been working on a plan to shift some of the state’s 1 million Medicaid patients to managed care. (Associated Press/

North Carolina legislators face full agenda with public health, Medicaid updates
Two joint legislative oversight committees on health care in North Carolina will receive this week an update on how the state’s Medicaid program is performing, along with progress reports on two high-profile behavioral health initiatives. The morning session covering Health and Human Services will focus on how the state is doing in diverting individuals having a behavioral health crisis from a hospital emergency department to other care settings. The afternoon session will review a waiver request with an end goal of Medicaid oversight being placed in the hands of three statewide managed care organizations. (Winston-Salem Journal)

Rural health care access at risk
Health care remains an issue of debate across the country. However, when it comes to rural health care, the issue is complicated further by geography and a lack of providers, resulting in a loss of competition and ultimately costly burdens being placed on patients. There are a number of medical issues that affect rural communities at a greater rate than their urban counterparts. The majority of those living in rural regions receive their health care coverage through private payers or public programs like Medicaid, with many using a combination of both to bridge the gaps in care. Yet rural communities are now faced with a push by insurance companies to limit prescription drug coverage. (The Hill)

Tom Price tapped as HHS head
President-elect Donald Trump has selected Georgia Representative Tom Price, a leading critic of President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care law, to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). A key Senate Democrat immediately criticized the choice. If confirmed by the Senate, Price would play a central role in Republican efforts to repeal and replace the current health care law. Trump has pledged to move quickly on overhauling the landmark measure, but has been vague about what he hopes to see in a replacement bill. Also, Seema Verma was picked to become administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (Associated Press/U.S. News & World Report)

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