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

Iowa News

Loebsack tours Genesis to highlight mental health
Representative Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) toured Genesis Behavioral Health Center on Wednesday to highlight their expansion. “I often talk about my mom,” said Loebsack. “She had an 11th grade education, she was a single parent, she had four kids and struggled with mental illness her whole life, in and out of institutions. She couldn’t hold a job to speak of.” Loebsack reflected on his experience with her mental health as he toured the facility. He said this is why behavioral health in Iowa is such an important topic for him. Loebsack and the doctors at Genesis realize that there is a need for expansion among facilities in the state. It is something that Genesis has been working on. (WHBF)

Video translators improve patient treatment in Storm Lake
Storm Lake, Iowa is a melting pot of middle America. About 80 percent of the student population is non-white. Now, the local hospital has started using new technology to better treat patients who speak a wide variety of languages. Buena Vista Regional Medical Center is offering a unique form of video language translators called STRATUS video to help treat hospital patients. There are 19 languages available on video interpretation, and more than 200 languages on audio interpretation, making it very diverse and helpful. (KMEG)

Guttenberg hospital introduces Rahma, the surgical robot
There’s a capable new set of hands at Guttenberg Municipal Hospital (GMH), and they’re powered by a surgical robot named Rahma. Bill Robinson, branch manager at Community Savings Bank in Garnavillo, was the first to go under the robot’s knife at GMH. The procedure would involve just three small incisions and would allow the surgeon to repair the hernia with more precision and less postoperative pain. Surgery staff did six weeks of training after Rahma was purchased in September and about 15 surgeries have been performed with the robot since then. (Clayton County Register)

One-stop Future Ready Iowa website unveiled 
As part of the state’s efforts to increase the number of Iowans with postsecondary education and prepare more workers for skilled careers, Governor Terry Branstad this week announced the launch of the Future Ready Iowa website. The website is designed as a one-stop shop where students and adults can review different career opportunities, training resources and financial assistance for education, as well as search immediate job openings. The goal of the Future Ready Iowa initiative is for 70 percent of the workforce to have education or training beyond high school by the year 2025. (Des Moines Business Record)

National News

Kansas City medical school partners with health care network to train more doctors
Kansas City University (KCU) of Medicine and Biosciences is partnering with HCA Midwest Health to create additional clinical training for about 100 medical students. Officials at KCU, which is the second-leading producer of physicians for Missouri and Kansas, are excited about the partnership because it expands student access to medical facilities in the area. KCU is also opening a second medical school in Joplin as a way to address the growing need for doctors in rural communities. (Kansas City Star)

AMA, AHA form coalition to reform prior authorization requirements
The American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and 14 other health care organizations have joined forces to make it easier to adhere to prior authorization requirements imposed on providers. The coalition, announced Wednesday, will lobby health plans to streamline prior authorization for medical tests, procedures, devices and drugs. They say the current process is time consuming and can negatively affect patient care. The organizations together drafted 21 principles for health plans to use to reform their prior authorization requirements. (Modern Healthcare)

Two GOP senators would let states keep Obama health law
Two Republican senators said Monday that they’ll propose legislation that lets states keep former President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul or opt for a new program providing trimmed-down coverage. The plan by Senators Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Susan Collins of Maine would retreat from years of GOP cries to repeal Obama’s law and replace it with a still undefined Republican alternative. It comes as GOP lawmakers face pressure from President Donald Trump to quickly void and replace the health law and as Republicans continue hunting for a proposal that would unite them. (Associated Press/WTOP)

Rand Paul unveils his own Obamacare replacement plan
A key GOP senator introduced an Obamacare replacement bill Tuesday, the second such plan put forth in the Senate this week as lawmakers scramble to put their stamp on the nation’s health care system. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul introduced the Obamacare Replacement Act, which he says would create more affordable insurance plans, eliminate the gap between private and employer-sponsored care and allow consumers to save unlimited amounts of money in health savings accounts. Paul sits on the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which is expected to play a key role in writing legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act. (Morning Consult)

Everything you need to know about block grants – the heart of the GOP’s Medicaid plans
President Donald Trump’s administration made explicit this weekend its commitment to an old GOP strategy for managing Medicaid, the federal-state insurance plan that covers low-income people — turning control of the program to states and capping what the federal government spends on it each year. Block granting Medicaid is a centerpiece of health proposals supported by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Representative Tom Price, Trump’s nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services. But what would this look like, and why is it so controversial? (Kaiser Health News)

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