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

Iowa News

‘Certificate of Need is more important than ever’
A significant reason for health care excellence in Iowa has been state oversight of institutional health care services through the Certificate of Need law. As the name implies, Certificate of Need ensures that new medical services are truly needed at the community level. This is important because new facilities must have sufficient patient volumes to support proficiency among medical staff and ensure high-quality care. Today, with the uncertainties surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act, Iowa’s Medicaid program and even Medicare, the constancy of Certificate of Need is more important than ever. (Daily Iowegian)

Program for Eastern Iowa girls teaches hundreds about STEM careers
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation. How to suture wounds. The importance of noting observations during a scientific experiment. These are just a handful of topics that nearly 200 middle school girls from Eastern Iowa learned about this past weekend during a University of Iowa program that aimed to reverse a longtime trend. On Saturday, 191 middle school students gathered in the Medical Education Research Facility on the UI campus for the sixth annual Girls Go STEM event, which focuses on teaching participants about STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, careers. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Healthy talent: Iowa art focus of UnityPoint Health-Prairie Parkway collection
Experts say there is an art to acquiring a corporate collection that completes a space in a visually interesting way and also has meaning to people who work at and use the facility. When it was time to choose artwork for the new UnityPoint Health-Prairie Parkway Clinic, the focus was on Iowa artists. The works of 13 artists are displayed throughout the new clinic, and with the exception of one piece, all of the artwork was created by Iowans. “Health care is really local, and it’s a community asset. We really wanted the art to reflect the community we serve,” says UnityPoint-Allen CEO Pam Delagaredelle. (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier)

National News

New Jersey audit confirms what patients have long said: Medicaid doctors hard to find
Advocates for low-income patients in New Jersey have long insisted that medical care is harder to find than it looks on paper. A recent state audit seems to have proved them right, identifying numerous inaccuracies on lists of Medicaid providers that insurance companies have submitted to regulators and posted online for policy holders. While the audit found quarterly reports from the insurance companies involved with the program often contained inaccuracies, it placed the responsibility for these problems on regulators at the Department of Human Services charged with overseeing these managed care contracts. (New Jersey Spotlight)

New Hampshire Governor says Medicaid expansion yields great results
Governor Chris Sununu says New Hampshire’s expanded Medicaid program has been a success. That conclusion is a shift from his prior statements about the program, which has provided health insurance to more than 50,000 people in the state. “There’s no doubt it’s been helpful,” Sununu said. “It was a price tag of somewhere between $400 and $500 million. We’ve been able to do it to date without a single New Hampshire taxpayer dollar. No state taxes go into it.” (New Hampshire Public Radio)

Georgia governor signs hospital provider fee to fill Medicaid gap
Georgia’s Medicaid program received a shot in the arm Monday when Governor Nathan Deal signed a measure into law that will avert a roughly $900 million gap in Medicaid funding. The so-called “bed tax” requires hospitals to pay 1.45 percent of their net patient revenue, which the state then uses to draw down additional federal funding to help fund Medicaid and bolster hospitals that provide care to uninsured patients. The governor signed the bill into law, which allows the Department of Community Health board to levy a hospital provider fee for an additional three years. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Trump travel ban spotlights U.S. dependence on foreign-born doctors
Dr. Muhammad Tauseef was born and raised in Pakistan. After going to medical school there, he applied to come to the U.S. to train as a pediatrician. After training he had two options: return to Pakistan or work for three years in an area the U.S. government has identified as having a provider shortage. And the U.S. medical system depends on doctors like Tauseef, says Dr. Andrew Gurman, president of the American Medical Association. He worries that if President Trump’s executive order on immigration takes effect, it will mean parts of the country that desperately need medical care may not have a doctor. (NPR)

Why high-risk pools won’t crack the pre-existing condition dilemma
Some Republican leaders are promoting state high-risk pools as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) popular provision requiring health plans to accept consumers regardless of pre-existing medical conditions. They cite Wisconsin’s pre-ACA pool, the Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan, as a model. But a Wisconsin insurance official recently cautioned a House panel that high-risk pools need a stable funding source and are not a solution for every state. Other experts say state high-risk pools generally were a policy failure across the country, and making them work properly would require a large amount of taxpayer funding. (Modern Healthcare)

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