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

Iowa News

North Iowa Transition Center looks to start new program
What many are calling a mental health crisis in the state of Iowa has created a need to find additional help for those suffering from mental illness. Those with the North Iowa Transition Center are looking to expand their mental health resources with a short term care facility. Mark Dodd, the executive director, says they will be purchasing an existing building that will have around 10 beds. Patients would spend about three to five days at the center. “There is a lack of services for them so what ends up happening is law enforcement get involved and it’s creating a burden for them and on the hospital system and so forth,” says Dodd. (KIMT)

Iowans worried about future of health care protest in downtown Des Moines
When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) came along, it helped several Iowans and on Sunday at the Des Moines Our First Stand rally, more than 100 demonstrators expressed concern about Congress’ move toward repealing and replacing the ACA. During the rally, held outside of the Neal Smith Federal Building in Des Moines, Iowans aired their grievances about the ACA’s dim future and shared personal stories about times the law helped them. Officials such as state Representative Bruce Hunter (D-Des Moines) and former state Senator Jack Hatch spoke at the rally, along with a former emergency medical technician and a medical student from Des Moines University. (Des Moines Register)

National News

Chicago bolsters mental health training after scathing DOJ report
Chicago is bolstering its response to emergencies involving people suffering from mental illness to address glaring deficiencies laid bare by the Department of Justice (DOJ). An eight-hour course developed will allow paramedics, 911 personnel, police officers and mental health providers to engage in live, “scenario-based” simulations. Alexa James, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago, said the eight-hour course is different than the 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training certification because it’s “inter-agency” and “scenario-based.” (Chicago Sun Times)

Houston police chief urges better mental health care for officers
Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo said Saturday that the Legislature should increase funding for mental health for police officers, adding this is likely to be a tough issue to tackle ahead of a tight-fisted legislative session. He added that in “police culture” mental health issues can be stigmatized, so officers often don’t ask for help. One week before the 2017 legislative session, a House committee outlined challenges and opportunities for the state in tacking its troubled mental health system. “The opportunity to improve our mental health system this year is real and it’s important,” House Speaker Joe Straus said. (Texas Tribune)

California’s Steinberg Institute gets $1.5 million from Sutter for mental health
Sutter Health will donate $1.5 million to the Steinberg Institute to advance mental health services and promote an understanding of mental illness throughout California, the institute announced Friday. The 2-year-old Steinberg Institute, founded by former state Senate leader and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, advocates for expanded services for the mentally ill, including health care and affordable housing. With the new Sutter Health donation, the institute will look to increase health services for the state’s mentally ill. (Sacramento Bee)

Rural America, already hurting, could be most harmed by ACA Repeal
The health of rural America is failing, and a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without adequate replacement could prove disastrous. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that for the first time in 20 years, life expectancy in the United States has declined, particularly in small cities and rural areas. This drop in life expectancy in rural areas is linked to higher rates of chronic illness, obesity, drug overdose, alcoholism, mental illness and suicide. Medicaid expansion through the ACA has resulted in critical gains toward improving rural population health by expanding insurance coverage and stabilizing rural hospitals. (The Conversation)

18 million more uninsured if Obamacare killed, not replaced
Insurance premiums would soar for millions of Americans and 18 million more would be uninsured in just one year if Republicans scuttle much of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul without a replacement, Congress’ budget analysts said Tuesday. Spotlighting potential perils for Republicans, the report immediately became a flashing hazard light for this year’s effort by Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers to annul Obama’s law and — in a more complicated challenge — institute their own alternative. Tuesday’s evaluation came from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, joined by Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation. (Associated Press/CNBC)

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