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

Iowa News

Iowa mother shares how the ACA saved her daughter
Ruth Burgess Thompson of Des Moines has been encouraging folks to share their Affordable Care Act (ACA) stories like hers with their policymakers. In 2014, her adult daughter was going to school full-time in Illinois and was also working one full-time and two part-time jobs to make ends meet. None of her jobs provided health insurance and she wasn’t eligible for Medicaid. But because of the ACA, she had applied to the Medicaid expansion program. She then became seriously ill and ended up needing surgery. Had it not been for the ACA, she would have had three options: Start her new life deeply in debt, file for bankruptcy or not get the care at all and likely die from something very minor. (Des Moines Register)

UnityPoint Health opens new Prairie Parkway facility to the public
With a number of specialty and primary care practices now under one roof, the new UnityPoint Health-Prairie Parkway clinic is a hub of activity. And patients of the health care system showed up in force Saturday for the grand opening of the three-story facility. Pam Delagardelle, UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital CEO, said the new facility is “conceptually different” from what the company has done in the past. “We’re trying to get outpatient services under one roof,” she said. As a result, patients who need to follow up with specialists after seeing their primary care physician can be sent down the hall rather than making additional phone calls and trips to a different location. (Cedar Valley Business Monthly)

National News

Pennsylvania to try new payment model for rural hospitals
Pennsylvania will be testing what state officials termed a historic new payment model for rural hospitals designed to improve the health of Pennsylvania’s rural residents and help the hospitals they depend on stay financially solvent. The Pennsylvania Rural Health Model will try an innovative payment structure in which hospitals will be paid a set amount each month, instead of being reimbursed for services provided. Six hospitals will be selected in the spring to participate in an initial pilot project of the payment model, which will launch in 2018. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

ACA repeal makes hospitals more vulnerable to closure
Millions of insured Americans could lose health insurance coverage if Congress and the new White House administration make good on their threat to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But many hospitals could also close as a result of the legislative action and the loss of government funds and increase in uninsured Americans who need care. Hospitals have had to adapt to the new health care environment in order to survive, but the uncertainty over the fate of the ACA has only added to their financial concerns. The threat of hospital closures is probably greatest in rural America, where 62 million residents live. (Fierce Healthcare)

Trump promises health insurance for all
President-elect Donald Trump says his plan to replace the nation’s health care law will include “insurance for everybody.” Trump made the comment in an interview with the Washington Post published on Sunday. The president-elect says: “We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.” An embrace of universal health care would mark a sharp break for most Republicans, as they plan to repeal and replace the current health care law. Trump told the Post he expects Congress to address the issue in the coming weeks. (Associated Press/San Francisco Gate)

House passes budget measure paving way for ACA repeal
The House voted 227-198 on Friday to pass a budget resolution that sets the stage for dismantling key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The measure, which contains instructions for key House and Senate committees to dismantle the ACA through the budget reconciliation, passed the Senate earlier last week. As Congress’ budget reconciliation measure advances, Republicans have not yet nailed down a firm replacement plan for the ACA, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch Connell said recently that Republicans would take on the task in “manageable pieces.” (Fierce Healthcare)

US health care admin costs are double the average
A report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development shows admin costs in US health care are the highest in the developed world. They account for more than 8 percent of spending in the sector. Globally, health care systems spend about 3 percent on average on administration. The report was published last week to shine a light on wasteful health care spending, which sometimes does more harm than good. It noted that Obamacare had already helped reduce non-medical spending in the sector, resulting in $3.7 billion in savings between 2011 and 2013. (CNN)

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