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

Iowa News

Majority unhappy with Medicaid modernization
When it comes to Governor Terry Branstad’s Medicaid modernization, “catastrophic experience” is a term usually associated with recipients, providers and political opponents. Add for-profit corporations to the list of the aggrieved, according to documents obtained by the Des Moines Register, and the assessment is “drastically underfunded.” Medicaid recipients claim to have had difficulties seeing their physicians and obtaining prescriptions, while care providers have complained about delayed, insufficient or rejected payments. (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier)

Obamacare marketplace attracts 52,237 Iowans, despite controversy
Obamacare’s days may be numbered, but an increasing number of Iowans are signing up for its coverage. Federal officials reported Tuesday that 52,237 Iowans had enrolled in private insurance plans since Novermber 1 via the online marketplace, healthcare.gov. That’s 5 percent more than enrolled over a similar period a year earlier. A total of nearly 55,000 moderate-income Iowans bought private insurance policies for 2016 on the Obamacare marketplace. More than 145,000 other Iowans enrolled in the state’s expanded Medicaid program, which was changed to cover more poor adults under the Affordable Care Act. (Des Moines Register)

Increase in local flu cases forces area hospitals to enact voluntary visit limitation policy
Due to increasing influenza cases reported across the Quad-Cities region, officials from Genesis Medical Center are asking visitors to its facilities to voluntarily limit their visits if they believe they are sick. Unity Point-Trinity officials are also asking the public to limit visits. With the number of patients testing positive for seasonal flu at Genesis emergency departments on the upswing, the decision was made to enact the voluntary visit limitation policy, according to the Genesis release. (WQAD)

National News

Georgians overwhelmingly support Medicaid expansion
A majority of Georgians support expanding Medicaid, a new poll by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows. Seventy-five percent of people surveyed said they support growing the health program for the poor. Georgia is one of 19 states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Governor Nathan Deal and conservative lawmakers have long opposed the expansion, saying the state can’t afford to grow an already too expensive and unwieldy program. Expanding Medicaid would extend health coverage to an estimated 600,000 Georgians. (Atlanta Georgia News)

Virginia looking for Medicaid savings, but fearing cuts from repeal of health law
Virginia could lose more than $314 million from its general fund budget if the new Congress and president repeal the Affordable Care Act, according to estimates by the state’s Medicaid director. The potential revenue losses loom as Virginia is preparing to expand its Medicaid managed care program to some of the sickest people and most expensive to treat in the $8.1 billion program, which is financed equally by state and federal funds. The state’s Department of Medical Assistance Services is expanding its managed care programs to carry out reforms it promised to a legislative commission three years. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Obamacare boosted community health centers’ reach. Now what?
Obamacare’s implementation positively changed the patient population and quality of care they receive at many of the nation’s more than 1,400 federally-backed community health centers, according to two studies published today in Health Affairs. The research offers evidence that in states that embraced the health law, community health centers — which play a key role in providing health care to low-income people, often in medically underserved areas — further extended their reach. (Kaiser Health News)

Muted response from health lobby as Affordable Care Act faces repeal
The speed of Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act has stunned health industry lobbyists, leaving representatives of insurance companies, hospitals, doctors and pharmaceutical makers in disarray and struggling for a response to a legislative quick strike that would upend much of the American health care system. Health care professionals are not totally silent, but industries that were integral to the creation of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 are keeping their voices down as Republicans rush to dismantle it. (New York Times)

Millennials give providers one shot to gain their business
Providers keen to attract millennial patients should make sure to impress them the first time around or risk losing them to another provider, according to a recent study. Millennials are paying close attention to office appearance, cost, customer service and the quality of products used during a visit, according to a recent survey conducted by the Health Industry Distributors Association. Providers are watching the millennial generation, which is known in the industry for opting for the convenience and immediacy of retail and urgent care, rather than the traditional appointment-based primary-care relationship. (Modern Healthcare)

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