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

Iowa News

Universities ramp up mental health services
As part of a University of Iowa (UI) Student Government-led campaign in the fall aimed at destigmatizing mental health and raising awareness about its impact across campus, nearly 20 UI students or former students spoke on camera about their struggles and triumphs. Their stories highlight the many ways mental health intersects with the high-profile campus safety issues facing colleges and universities across the country. UI Counseling Services is improving the counseling it provides, expanding its services and requesting more resources. At Iowa State University, parallel efforts are underway as it, too, has seen a surge in demand for mental health services. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

Knoxville Hospital and Clinics economic impact felt in the community
The Iowa Hospital Association recently released a study of the economic impact hospitals have in their communities. The study found that Knoxville Hospital and Clinics generates 320 jobs that add $19.3 million to Knoxville’s economy. Knoxville Hospital & Clinics’ employees earn $13.8 million in salaries, contribute $4.2 million in retail sales and $250,000 in state sales tax revenue. Knoxville Hospital and Clinics CEO Kevin Kincaid says, “As a community partner, we understand the impact of our hospital extends beyond health care. We take pride in being an important component of our local economy by providing jobs and keeping our community productive and healthy.” (KNIA)

Branstad still pushing to cut number of regulated professions in Iowa
Governor Terry Branstad says he’s not surprised his fellow Republicans have been reluctant to embrace his regulatory reduction plans. Branstad’s bill that would have ended state licensing for barbershops, social workers, mental health counselors and other health care professionals was rejected by a House panel. Another proposal Branstad backed tried to change state regulations to make it easier for health care clinics that are for-profit to set up shop near already existing Iowa hospitals and clinics. That bill failed to advance in the Iowa House, too, because of opposition from Republicans. Branstad says these kinds of regulatory reforms will “never be easy” to get through the Legislature. (Radio Iowa)

National News

New Hampshire hospitals could get more money for uncompensated care after court win
The New Hampshire Hospital Association has won a court case against the federal government. It could mean more public money going to hospitals to cover the cost of providing uncompensated care. The state and federal governments pay hospitals for caring for patients on Medicaid or with no insurance. In 2010, the federal government changed how it calculates those payments. But according to the U.S. District Court in Concord, the feds didn’t go through the proper rule-making process when it changed the calculation. That means hospitals will most likely be owed more taxpayer money. (New Hampshire Public Radio)

How to avert rural Ohio hospital collapse tied to Obamacare repeal
In Ohio, hospitals struggled to stay afloat. Between 2012 and 2014, Ohio had two rural hospitals that were forced to shut down, drastically limiting rural citizens’ access to quality health care. Obamacare stated that the deficits from a cut in hospital payments would be filled from an increase in paying customers. But a repeal of Obamacare ends that relationship. The only way to prevent the closure of even more rural Ohio hospitals is by restoring the hospital reimbursements through Medicare and Medicaid. Additionally, nearly 12 percent of Ohio’s total employment is supported by Ohio hospitals, according to the American Hospital Association. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Boston hospital leaders warn health law changes could lead to job cuts
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh sat down Friday with leaders of the city’s biggest hospitals to talk about the potential impact of a repeal of President Obama’s health care law. The executives told Walsh that policies Republicans are considering to replace the Affordable Care Act could destabilize their organizations and lead to job cuts. Hospitals are among the city’s largest private employers and a powerful engine driving the local economy. Hospitals throughout the country have gained new business from the current health care law, which helped 20 million Americans gain health coverage, either through Medicaid or commercial insurers. (Boston Globe)

Health care execs want coverage continuity
Results from Modern Healthcare’s first-quarter CEO Power Panel survey show health care CEOs fear a new GOP-crafted system would reduce premium subsidies and Medicaid funding, drive up the number of uninsured Americans, spike uncompensated-care costs and threaten their organizations’ financial viability. “If we’re going to use the restructuring of Medicaid as a vehicle to achieve big budget reductions, leaving lots of people uninsured, that’s not a productive discussion,” said Rick Pollack, CEO of the American Hospital Association. (Modern Healthcare)

U.S. Republicans expected to unveil health care bill this week
Republican U.S. lawmakers expect to unveil this week the text of long-awaited legislation to repeal and replace the Obamacare health care law, one of President Donald Trump’s top legislative priorities. Since taking office in January, Trump has pressed his fellow Republicans who control Congress to act quickly to dismantle former Democratic President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and pass a plan to replace it, but lawmakers in the party have differed on the specifics. Democrats have warned that Republicans risk throwing the entire U.S. health care system into chaos by repealing the 2010 law that was passed by congressional Democrats over united Republican opposition. (Reuters)

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