Visit our website ⇒

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

Iowa News

Certificate of Need, licensing requirements could be cut in Iowa
A broad-ranging piece of legislation introduced last week could make significant changes to the state’s health care system. The 82-page bill put forth by Governor Terry Branstad would weaken the Certificate of Need program for hospitals as well as eliminate licensing requirements for a wide number of professions, from social work to mental health counselors, boards and commissions. Much still is unknown about the bill, but affected groups worry the bill could hurt hospital budgets and negatively impact some providers’ ability to receive insurance reimbursements. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Blood supply dangerously low for Iowa’s patients
Due to a dangerously low supply of blood in the area, LifeServe Blood Center opened some of its donation facilities on Sunday. It is the second-time ever that the organization has opened its facilities on a Sunday. The low blood supply for local hospital patients prompted the centers to open an extra day with the hope that more people would donate this weekend. Due to winter weather and a seasonal spike in illness, the blood supply has been low all year. “This is unprecedented for LifeServe Blood Center,” said Stacy Sime, president and CEO of LifeServe Blood Center, in the news release. (Des Moines Register)

National News

Connecticut hospitals say they face hidden, $156M tax hike in Malloy budget
Connecticut hospitals would pay $156 million more in state taxes over the next two years under Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s new budget — an increase Malloy did not report to legislators when presenting his biennial plan on February 8, the Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA) says. But the administration, which has had a rocky history with the industry, says hospitals only would owe more taxes if they are making more money. CHA sent an analysis of the governor’s budget on Friday to hospitals statewide, warning that the net effect of Malloy’s proposals amount to a $116 million annual hit to the industry as a whole starting next fiscal year. (CT Mirror)

Indiana’s claims about its Medicaid experiment don’t all check out
Indiana expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in 2015, with a few extra conditions that were designed to appeal to the conservative leadership in the state. The federal government approved the experiment, HIP 2.0, which is up for another three-year renewal. But a close reading of the state’s renewal application shows misleading and inaccurate information is being used to justify extending HIP 2.0. This is important because the initial application and expansion happened on the watch of then-Governor, now-Vice President Mike Pence. And Seema Verma, who is now President Trump’s pick to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, helped design it. (Iowa Public Radio)

With Obamacare in jeopardy, California considers going it alone with ‘single-payer’ system
With President Trump now vowing to put forward a replacement for the Affordable Care Act in March, some California politicians and health care advocates are once again promoting the idea of a state-run “single-payer” system that operates like Medicare. Backers say the uncertainty surrounding Trump’s promise to repeal Obamacare presents California with a chance to rethink how healthcare is delivered to its 39 million residents. In a single-payer system, residents would pay into a state agency that essentially functions as an insurance company. The agency would pay doctors and hospitals when people sought treatment. (Los Angeles Times)

Liberal Vermont tests the waters on GOP health care overhaul
Vermont could be at the leading edge of the health reforms envisioned by the Trump administration and a Republican Congress. The state got a broad waiver last October from the federal government to redesign how its health care is delivered and paid for. The statewide experiment aims to test new payment systems, prevent unnecessary treatments, constrain overall growth in the cost of services and drugs and address public health problems such as opioid abuse. The six-year initiative could eventually encompass almost all of its 16 hospitals, 1,933 doctors and 70 percent of its population, including workers insured through their jobs and people covered under Medicare and Medicaid. (Kaiser Health News)

House GOP plans to keep some Medicaid expansion, steer money to states that never bought in
Congressional Republicans have been struggling for months to resolve one of the most vexing problems in their tortuous effort to replace the Affordable Care Act: What to do about the generous federal funding for states that broadened their Medicaid programs under the law, while not shortchanging the 19 states that balked at expansion? Now, as the House begins to hone details of its legislative proposal, a possible compromise has emerged. It would temporarily keep federal dollars flowing to cover almost the entire cost of the roughly 11 million Americans who have gained Medicaid coverage but would block that enhanced funding for any new participants. (Washington Post)

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.