Visit our website ⇒

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

Iowa News

Discussion on mental health services in the Quad Cities
The status of mental health services in the Quad Cities was discussed in Davenport Sunday. A Genesis’ spokesperson lead the forum at the Unitarian Church. They talked about how help was lacking and possible solutions. One issue they focused on, was catching mental illness early on. “What we want to accomplish is to make clear what the facts are. There is so much misinformation and indeed, disinformation, out there about the current state of behavioral health services,” said Genesis Health System spokesperson Ken Croken. (WHBF)

Thielen Student Health Center currently expanding mental health services
Mental health services have expanded at the Thielen Student Health Center with the addition of Ranae Roberts, nurse practitioner in psychiatry, redistribution of patients and practicing collaborative care. The Health Center’s mental health care was only being managed by Dr. Carver Nebbe, psychiatrist, since June 2007. But Director Erin Baldwin made it a priority to extend services and added Roberts in December. By doubling the mental health services, Roberts has been able to take on multiple patients, which allows more access to the Iowa State community. (Iowa State Daily)

In Iowa, financial pain follows Trump-style Medicaid reforms
hen President Donald Trump tapped policy consultant Seema Verma to run Medicaid and Medicare in his administration, he called her part of a health care “dream team.” But the health policy changes she helped design in Iowa have felt more like a nightmare to providers serving poor and disabled residents across the state. Here in Iowa, she worked on an aggressive effort to privatize the Medicaid program, which provides health care to about 600,000 adults and children. Nearly a year later, the complaints are still coming: Hospitals, nursing homes and clinics that provide care to Medicaid patients say they’ve lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in expected reimbursements. (STAT)

Iowa City family still waiting for Amerigroup to pay bills
In May 2016, Susan Rew and her husband took advantage of a Medicaid program that would pay for home modifications for their disabled adult son, Corey, to live independently and safely in his new home. But after many months of unanswered phone calls and emails, the private Medicaid insurer Corey was enrolled with had yet to pay the contractors for their work. Nearly nine months after Corey Rew moved into his Iowa City home, the $5,000 in bills for modifications to his bathroom and laundry room still remain unpaid. Susan said she calls the insurer — Amerigroup Iowa — once every week to get an update and see if there’s been a change. There hasn’t been. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

National News

Virginia’s path to better mental health care
Virginia has a patchwork system, made up of state-run institutional settings and locally run behavioral health clinics. This has long led to disparities in care in different areas of the state, as different Community Services Boards offer different services. Governor Terry McAuliffe’s proposed budget allocates almost $32 million toward strengthening the behavioral health system, enhancing treatment access and improving the intersection of behavioral health and law enforcement. The governor’s budget devotes $4.5 million to develop a plan to restructure our behavioral health system. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Murder at mental health facility exposes gaps in Kansas system
No one disputes that Brandon Brown killed Jerry Martinez while both were patients at a Kiowa County mental health nursing facility. But both men’s families are haunted by questions about whether the Kansas mental health system could have stopped it. Mental health nursing facilities are unique to Kansas and fill a niche between community treatment and the two state psychiatric hospitals. The problem isn’t necessarily with individual facilities or workers but with holes in the mental health system. Patients whose mental health needs are too severe for a nursing facility but not severe enough for the state hospital can fall through the cracks. (KCUR)

His mental illness left him homeless. Then a unique program gave him his life back.
An unintended consequence of ­deinstitutionalization of patients in psychiatric hospitals has been that people with mental illnesses have increasingly ended up without access to services at all, living on the streets or in jail. This was the case for David Weiss, who for a time was homeless. But eventually, Weiss wound up lucky. Weiss is a client at Way Station Inc. run by Sheppard Pratt Health System in Maryland, one of the first programs of its kind in the country to use social support systems to integrate people with mental illnesses into their communities. (Washington Post)

NYPD trains police for mental health crises, more work to be done
The New York Police Department (NYPD) has trained more than 5,000 police officers on how to handle mental health crisis calls but doesn’t have a way to dispatch those officers when the calls come in, according to a recent report. Officers in the nation’s largest police department handle about 400 mental crisis calls a day. The four-day training program for officers was built off a nationally recognized instructional model, called Crisis Intervention Training, that uses patients, professionals and police officials to train officers on how to recognize signs of mental illness, respond to such calls and empathize with someone in the throes of a crisis. (Associated Press/WBTV)

Tackling patients’ social problems can cut health costs
As health care costs continue to rise, hospitals and doctors are trying to figure out how to find health care “super-utilizers” and get to the root of their problems. An effort to do just that started in New Jersey’s poorest city, Camden, more than a decade ago. Inspired by the way police departments mapped crime data to detect “hot spots,” family physician Dr. Jeffrey Brenner dug into ambulance records and emergency department data to show how high-cost patients were shuttling between city hospitals. This high touch, data-driven approach has yielded big savings. Emergency room visits by 40 percent, cutting monthly hospital bills from $1.2 million dollars to $500,000. (Kaiser Health News)

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.