Visit our website ⇒

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

Iowa News

Robust oversight of Medicaid is needed
The state’s second quarterly oversight meeting of Medicaid modernization showed the need: Iowa lawmakers must work to provide more robust oversight of the system. Three out-of-state, private providers manage the public health care system, which delivers essential services to more than 600,000 state residents and absorbs more than $5 billion taxpayer dollars. Effective and cost-efficient management must be a bipartisan priority. It’s both a moral and economic imperative. All Iowans benefit from a system that delivers quality service at the lowest cost. But such a system cannot and will not manifest on its own. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

How repealing Obamacare will affect Iowans
Beginning the day after the election, President-elect Donald Trump and key members of Congress began calling for a “full repeal and replacement” of the Affordable Care Act as one of the highest priorities for the new administration. This talk is already morphing to “repeal now and transition over a two-three year period.” While the specific policies associated with “repeal and replace or transition” have not been fully articulated, certain options have been contained in previous “replace” bills. These include eliminating the health insurance exchanges and the Medicaid expansion — both of which would have significant implications for Iowa. (Des Moines Register)

Hospital Foundation awards grants to local projects
Recently, the Grundy County Memorial Hospital Foundation awarded a Community Health Need grant to three projects in the area. Two of the grants were awarded to the senior citizen exercise programs sponsored by the Northeast Area Agency on Aging.  The third grant was awarded to Grundy County Public Health to purchase demonstration dolls for the Child Passenger Safety program. Community Health Need grants are a way for the Grundy County Memorial Hospital Foundation to help non-profit organizations, schools and health-promoting groups to positively impact health needs in their communities. (Grundy Register)

National News

Minnesota hospitals face uncertain prognosis with ACA up in the air
In 2010, when federal lawmakers passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Minnesota health systems provided $226 million in charity care to patients who couldn’t cover all of their treatment costs. By the time Minnesota fully expanded its Medicaid insurance program as part of health law in 2014, annual charity care expenses dropped to just $164 million. “The industry is totally uncertain at this point,” said Lawrence Massa, chief executive of the Minnesota Hospital Association. “Everybody is just kind of sitting back — it’s hard to make big decisions now about committing resources beyond 2017, not knowing what’s going to happen.” (Star Tribune)

Kansas delays KanCare changes amid federal uncertainty
Governor Sam Brownback’s administration has requested a one-year extension of the current KanCare program while delaying a proposal for an updated version of the Medicaid managed care system. KanCare began in 2013 and is scheduled to expire at the end of 2017. State officials had planned to make changes to the current contracts and then apply for a long-term extension of KanCare with the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services at the beginning of 2017. But Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer said that the state had renewed the current contracts and would not request updated bids until late next year. (Kansas Health Institute)

Virginia governor leaves Medicaid expansion funds out of his budget revisions
Faced with a budget shortfall now estimated at $1.26 billion, Governor Terry McAuliffe and General Assembly Republicans are bickering instead over whether the governor proposed to expand Medicaid in the budget he presented legislators on Friday. McAuliffe did not include $2.4 billion in federal funds that Virginia could use to expand the health care program under the Affordable Care Act. Citing “a great deal of uncertainty” over the future of the law, the governor told legislators he chose “the fiscally prudent path” by leaving enhanced federal Medicaid funds out of the budget. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Slow repayment of  Medicaid funds irks behavioral health care providers
When state officials announced in 2013 that 15 behavioral health providers might have committed Medicaid fraud, they cut off future Medicaid payments to those organizations and froze more than $11 million in reimbursements for treatment services already rendered. Now cleared of criminal wrongdoing, the providers want the Medicaid funds they are owed. But all is not going smoothly, according to an email exchange in September between a state official and an executive with OptumHealth New Mexico, which has been holding the money and is supposed to distribute it at the direction of state officials. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

MACRA implementation key issue for next Congress
Members of the next Congress – from both sides of the aisle – will be watching to see whether the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) is being properly implemented over the next few years, congressional staff members said Thursday. “Making sure MACRA is a success is important; we all held hands and jumped on that one,” a Republican congressional aide said. “There are plenty of places within MACRA that the committees will have to be engaged in.” (HealthLeaders Media)

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.