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

Iowa News

Pella Regional CEO expresses concerns with Certificate of Need legislation
Despite a major bill surrounding the topic effectively dying in subcommittee Monday, some Iowa legislators may review oversight laws for health care organizations statewide this session. Pella Regional Health Center CEO Bob Kroese says lawmakers may still consider whether or not to make changes to or eliminate the Certificate of Need. “The Certificate of Need is basically as the name implies–it’s saying that in order to go forward with any kind of major building programs within health care, including long-term care, that there would have to be a need for that service to be provided,” says Kroese. (KNIA)

Report highlights economic impact of Iowa hospitals
Iowa’s 118 hospitals add nearly $6.8 billion to the state’s economy, according to a new report from the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA). Scott McIntyre is spokesperson for the IHA. “Iowa hospitals also have 72,000 employees. That’s a little higher than it’s been in recent years,” McIntyre says. “We’re seeing a good recovery from the recession and we’re seeing a little bit of growth as well.” Those employees, by themselves, spend more than $1.8 billion on retail sales and contribute more than $111 million in state sales tax revenue, according to the report. The economic impact report is compiled each year to demonstrate the importance of the industry to the state. (Radio Iowa)

Iowa ranked top 5 for best health care
In a recent Best States evaluation by US News and World Report, Iowa was ranked number five for health care and number six overall. The states were ranked on health care using three broad benchmarks: Access to care, quality of care and the overall health of the population. It also includes measures of hospital readmissions within 30 days of discharge, nursing home citations and numbers of seniors covered under high-quality Medicare Advantage plans. It involves general measures that correspond with good health – rates of smoking and obesity. And it takes into account infant and overall mortality rates. (US News and World Report)

National News

A new plan to save bay area hospitals in California from closure
Bay area politicians unveiled a new plan aimed at stopping a wave of hospital closures in California by giving the state Attorney General the authority to review the impact of the decision before allowing it to move forward. The legislation focuses on not-for-profit hospitals. Under current law, California hospitals are only required to give a 90-day notice to the Department of Public Health prior to shutting down operations. If passed, the hospital would also be required to hold at least one public hearing. Since 1998, 50 California hospitals have closed in the state partly because the need for around the clock staffing makes them expensive to operate. (East Bay Times)

Grants help Colorado doctors in rural, low-income areas repay student loans
A Colorado program that helps repay the student loans of doctors who work in rural or underserved areas is gearing up for what could be its largest grant class ever. The grants are awarded to doctors and other health care providers who are working in areas with an officially designated shortage of health professionals. In Colorado, those shortages are typically in rural areas, though doctors and others working at urban clinics that serve disadvantaged communities are also eligible to receive grants. The program has helped repay the loans of more than 400 providers since it began in 2009. (Denver Post)

Doctors caught in middle as travel ban intersects with rural recruitment
An executive order signed by President Donald Trump barred travelers from several countries from which Barack Obama’s administration had restricted visas in 2015 because of concerns about terrorism. Many industries were affected, including an American medical system that relies increasingly on foreign labor. Health centers nationwide, including some in Kansas and Missouri, have long rolled out the welcome mat for foreign doctors. Rural areas in particular have benefited from a special “J-1 visa waiver” program for immigrant doctors who agree to work in underserved areas. (KCUR)

Threat of Obamacare repeal leaves community health centers in limbo
Treating people for free or for very little money has been the role of community health centers across the U.S. for decades. The community clinics — now roughly 1,300-strong — have also expanded in recent years to serve people who gained insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In 2015, community health centers served 24.3 million. Most of the centers are nonprofits with deep roots in their communities and they meet the criteria to be a federally qualified health center. With repeal of the ACA looming, clinic directors said they stay up at night wondering what’s next. (Kaiser Health News)

Trump calls for bipartisan support to repeal the ACA
President Donald Trump is calling for members of both parties in Congress to support his ideas to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a speech before Congress Tuesday night, Trump outlined, for the first time, a more detailed health care reform package. His ideas reflect what other Republicans have included in plans circulated over the past year, though no one plan appears to have broad support. It’s unlikely Democrats will back many of Trump’s suggestions. While Republicans stood and applauded during the evening address, their colleagues across the aisle largely remained seated and stone-faced. (Modern Healthcare)

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