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

Iowa News

UIHC officials say move into children’s hospital begins this week
Officials with University of Iowa Health Care (UIHC) sent an enterprise-wide email over the weekend saying that the move into the two-months-delayed UI’s children’s hospital will begin this week. “We are happy to share that on February 17, we received permission from the state fire marshal to enable our phased move into the new University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital,” said the email from three UIHC leaders. “This means that we are able to set a firm date for the move, which should be next week.” (Iowa City Press-Citizen)

Mercy Child Advocacy Center under expansion
Since it opened in 1989, the Mercy Child Advocacy Center (CAC) has called the eighth floor of Mercy Medical Center’s north building home, seeing close to 16,000 child victims of abuse. But over the last decade, the need for the program’s services has more than doubled. Annually, 1,000 child victims of abuse receive specialized medical evaluation and treatment at the center, which serves 40 counties in Siouxland. In mid-June, the center will move to a renovated building. With the standalone facility, the CAC will be able to add two additional interview rooms and an extra examination room, as well as provide a more confidential and secure environment. (Sioux City Journal)

Training options endless at Dubuque’s Finley Hospital with new simulator
A new training tool at Dubuque’s UnityPoint Health Finley Hospital allows hospital staff to train for all types of real-life scenarios in a safe and controlled environment. The simulator, known as Finn, can simulate scenarios as basic as taking blood pressure, to as complex as a patient having a heart attack. Trainers can control each aspect of training and the simulator reacts to the treatment it receives. “The biggest benefit is the safe learning environment. No matter what you do to Finn, he’s still gonna be here tomorrow,” said Dana O’Brien, Finley’s education manager. (KWWL)

National News

Kansas House panel tables Medicaid expansion bill over objections of hospital supporters
A Kansas House committee voted Monday to table a bill that would have extended Medicaid coverage to an estimated 181,000 people, a move that may effectively kill any hopes of expanding Medicaid during the 2017 session. Supporters of the expansion said that money could help save many small hospitals in the state that are struggling financially because the state hasn’t expanded Medicaid. Representative Jim Kelly said he represents a city where a community hospital did close last year, and he has seen firsthand the impact that had on the community. (Lawrence Journal-World)

Hospitals target nutrition, other social needs to boost health
While there are strict federal rules around what is reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid and others that prohibit what a hospital can give a patient for free, Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania has found a way to address social issues that would otherwise keep sending patients back for more care. Damon Francis, an internal medicine doctor who is Health Leads’ chief medical officer, calls it “whole person care.” Stable housing is key to health. Some counties are doing housing-related work that is funded through Medicaid even though the program is not allowed to pay for room and board. It can, however, pay to help people search for their new homes and to move in to them. (USA Today)

New primary care coach adds to fleet of portable clinics in central Ohio
Offering mobile primary care services is new for OhioHealth, which has long used the mobile coach for prenatal care and sports physicals. The goal is to prevent people from going to emergency departments for primary care and to keep them healthy, said Dr. Krisanna Deppen, medical director of community outreach. “Patients who utilize the emergency department for primary-care reasons, they’re not really having an urgent or emergency need, they’re just coming in for things that could be cared for by a family doctor,” Deppen said. “So we looked at the different areas of town where we see that more often.” The outreach effort is one of many in central Ohio. (Columbus Dispatch)

A look at what’s at risk in GOP overhaul
As Republicans look at ways to replace or repair the health law, many suggest shrinking the list of services insurers are required to offer in individual and small group plans would reduce costs and increase flexibility. That option came to the forefront last week when Seema Verma, who is slated to run the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in the Trump administration, noted at her confirmation hearing that coverage for maternity services should be optional in those health plans. Maternity coverage is a popular target and one often mentioned by health law critics, but other items also could be watered down or eliminated. (Kaiser Health News)

GOP anxiety rises as conservatives and moderates split on ACA repeal
Divisions sharpened last week between hard-right and more pragmatic Republicans over both policy and strategy for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Those differences underscore the tough struggle Republicans face in dismantling Obamacare and establishing an alternative system. One of their biggest disagreements is over the future of the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid coverage to more than 10 million low-income adults. Conservatives want to eliminate it while a number of GOP senators and governors want to keep that coverage. (Modern Healthcare)

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