Visit our website ⇒

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

Iowa News

Obamacare has eased hospitals’ burdens of caring for uninsured
Iowa hospitals have seen a $127 million drop in annual charity-care costs since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took full effect in 2014, financial reports show. That was a decline of almost 38 percent. Iowa hospitals also saw a $168 million annual drop in “bad debt,” or medical bills that were sent but weren’t paid. Hospital leaders say the improved finances helped them stabilize and improve their organizations. The shift back to the old way of covering Americans wouldn’t just affect people who gained coverage under the ACA, said Kirk Norris, president and CEO of the Iowa Hospital Association. It could also affect those who have longstanding private insurance coverage, often through an employer. (Des Moines Register)

Davenport hospital opens unit for people with mental health concerns
An eastern Iowa hospital now offers a new option for patients with anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns. Genesis Health System is opening a Behavioral Intervention Unit in Davenport. Supervisor Amy Haldeman says patients can stay for up to three days as outpatients instead of being admitted to the hospital. “There’s nobody on the Iowa side in our region that has any type of intervention unit before inpatient,” Haldeman says, “and we thought this would be a good pilot program for Iowa to show people that our number one focus is getting people healthy and not putting them in an inpatient.” (Radio Iowa)

National News

Kansas budget plan cuts nearly $20 million from state psychiatric hospitals
Kansas’ two state-run psychiatric hospitals would lose nearly $20 million under the budget proposed by Governor Sam Brownback. Osawatomie and Larned state hospitals are relying on state funds to make up for the loss of federal funding. Brownback’s recommendations for the fiscal year would end that practice, leaving it to the hospitals to make up the lost revenue. The House Social Services Budget Committee will likely advance the governor’s proposal, but not without reservations. Representative Stephanie Clayton worries that low funding could produce expensive problems for the mental health system in the long term, however. (KCUR)

Colleges can’t meet soaring student needs for mental health care
Colleges across the country are failing to keep up with a troubling spike in demand for mental health care — leaving students stuck on waiting lists for weeks, unable to get help. STAT surveyed dozens of universities about their mental health services. From major public institutions to small elite colleges, a striking pattern emerged: Students often have to wait weeks just for an initial intake exam to review their symptoms. The wait to see a psychiatrist who can prescribe or adjust medication may be longer still. Students on many campuses are so frustrated that they launched a petition last month demanding expanded services. (STAT)

Hospitals fear changes to health law, press GOP on revenue concerns
Hospital executives are descending on Washington with a message: They are concerned about losing insured patients and revenue under any plan to dismantle or significantly alter the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a flurry of recent meetings, the executives have told lawmakers they don’t want Americans to lose insurance under any alternative the Republicans devise for the ACA. If that happens, however, hospitals say they want Congress to restore billions of dollars in federal funding they lost when the ACA took force. (Wall Street Journal)

Trump’s travel ban sows uncertainty for health care and medicine
President Donald Trump’s travel ban—which the Homeland Security Department says applies to people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan—is casting a pall of uncertainty over the medical and scientific community in the U.S., which depends heavily on immigrant and foreign-born students, researchers and faculty. The community is reeling over the order, fearing that it will have devastating repercussions for research and advances in science and medicine. It has also caused short-term confusion and chaos for businesses that recruit and bring in thousands of non-U.S. citizens for work in these specialized fields. (Modern Healthcare)

Trump says health law replacement may not be ready until next year
President Donald Trump said in an interview that aired on Sunday that a replacement health care law was not likely to be ready until either the end of this year or in 2018, a major shift from promises by both him and Republican leaders to repeal and replace the law as soon as possible. “Maybe it’ll take till sometime into next year, but we’re certainly going to be in the process,” President Trump said during an interview with Fox News. President Trump acknowledged that replacing former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act is complicated, though he reiterated his confidence that his administration could devise a plan that would work better than the law. (New York Times)

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.