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

Iowa News

Vaccinations highlight hits, misses for Iowa in national health rankings report
Iowa achieved mixed success on immunizations in United Health Foundation’s state health rankings in 2016, ranking fifth in children’s immunizations but 32nd in immunizations for adolescents. The state reached 77.9 percent of children between 19 and 36 months old with key immunizations according to “America’s Health Rankings 2016 Annual Report.” The national rate for this age group is about 71 percent. Iowa didn’t do as well on immunizations for youth ages 13-17 years, partly because the state does not require all of the vaccinations included in the criteria. (Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil)

Genesis wants to retain Obamacare
An appeal to not repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was issued Thursday at Genesis Medical Center. “It’s been beneficial for Genesis and the patients we serve,” Genesis Health System senior communications specialist Craig Cooper said of the ACA, also known as Obamacare. A media release Cooper distributed said 1.3 million Iowans could be denied life-saving coverage if the ACA is repealed. Iowa also stands to lose more than $7 billion over the next 10 years in federal funding for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and financial assistance for health marketplace coverage. (Dispatch-Rock Island Argus)

MCRHC building project to launch in June
Mitchell County Regional Health Center (MCRHC) plans to break ground on a building expansion and enhancement project in June of this year. “We have been working on this project for approximately a year and half and I’m thrilled to see all the pieces falling into place,” Shelly Russell, CEO said, adding, “It is exciting to know that our communities across Mitchell County are growing, which is giving MCRHC the opportunity to grow as well.” According to Russell, Mitchell County Regional Health Center is focusing the addition and enhancement efforts of the building project in the clinic, rehabilitation areas and main entrance. (Mitchell County Press News)

ACMH welcomes new Administrator
On January 3, Audubon County Memorial Hospital (ACMH) welcomed Suzanne Cooner as its new CEO. Suzanne succeeds Thomas Smith who held the position for 16 years. Professionally, she brings more than 40 years of health care experience to ACMH. Prior to accepting the position at ACMH, Suzanne was the CEO for the Decatur County Hospital in Leon. During this time, the hospital earned distinction as the first Critical Access Hospital in the nation to achieve full accreditation from the Accreditation Association for Hospitals/Health Systems with zero deficiencies. (Audubon County Advocate Journal)

National News

Colorado must stop using jails for people in mental health crisis, panel says
Colorado should stop using jails to house people placed on involuntary mental health holds who haven’t been charged with a crime, says a task force created by Governor John Hickenlooper. The state is one of only six that still put people having a mental health episode behind bars. Panel members discussed state policy and funding that would allow hospitals to open more psychiatric beds. Other recommendations included making sure each region of Colorado has enough mental health providers and expanding the behavioral health workforce through loan repayment assistance programs, paid internships and “telehealth.” (Denver Post)

Obamacare repeal could push rural hospitals to the brink
Many of the rural hospitals and health centers serving 62 million Americans have operated on a shoestring for years. The Affordable Care Act designated 1,100 rural hospitals eligible for 340B coverage which is critical to the operation of many rural facilities because of drug cost savings. Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic uses some of its 340B program savings to help fund the hospital’s behavioral health unit, which is one of only two Critical Access Hospitals in the entire state that offers psychiatric services. (Fiscal Times)

Telemedicine in schools helps keep kids in the classroom
Telemedicine, increasingly used in prisons, nursing homes and remote areas, is becoming more common in schools. According to the American Telemedicine Association, at least 18 states authorize Medicaid reimbursement for telemedicine services provided in schools and 28 states plus Washington, D.C., require private insurers to cover telemedicine appointments as they would face-to-face doctor visits. Telemedicine can’t always replace an in-person examination but it does make it less likely that a child will have to miss class for a visit to the doctor’s office. (Stateline)

Helping hospitals track counterfeit drugs is this start-up’s Rx
Dwight deVera is founder and CEO of a software start-up. His King of Prussia-based Forerunner Group has created a track-and-trace platform for hospital pharmacies called RXTransparent. The entrepreneurial endeavor was inspired by the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, passed in 2013 to combat counterfeit prescription medications and establish a comprehensive and efficient system for tracking prescription drugs from production to end user. RXTransparent launched a year ago to help hospital pharmacies meet those requirements. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Obamacare sign-ups reach 8.8 million as repeal efforts start
Obamacare sign-ups for 2017 coverage rose about 2.3 percent from the same time last year, as efforts to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care reform begin in Congress. About 8.8 million people enrolled in individual insurance plans through the website as of December 31, compared with 8.6 million last year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in an e-mailed statement. The figures are the first to include automatic re-enrollments, providing the most complete picture to date of participation. (Bloomberg)

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