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

Iowa News

Johnson County law enforcement learns how to interact with mentally ill in crisis situations
Law enforcement are learning some alternatives for handling people experiencing substance abuse or mental health issues. Right now these people will go to jail or to the hospital, but that may not be the right place for them to go. “Whenever you train officers to be able to identify mental crises and de-escalate them without force everybody wins,” said Captain Mark Bullock with the University of Iowa Police Department. Johnson County’s Crisis Intervention Training is more about deescalating situations before they get out of hand. Officers said having better communication skills means they won’t have to use force, which means fewer situations ending with a trip to the emergency room. (KCRG)

SMCH contributes more than $19.79 million to Calhoun County economy
A recent study by the Iowa Hospital Association has revealed that the 404 jobs at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital (SMCH) in Lake City generate more than $19.78 million for the Calhoun County economy. The report also indicated that employees spend more than $2.4 million in retail sales and contribute more than $145,000 in state sales tax revenue. In total, Iowa’s health care sector contributes $16.6 billion into the state economy and provide just short of 325,000 jobs, or about one-fifth of the state’s non-farm employment. (KCIM)

Representative Blum opposes GOP health care plan
Iowa Republican Representative Rod Blum said Tuesday he will not support the House GOP’s health care plan in its current form. The 1st District congressman tweeted that the American Health Care Act “doesn’t do enough to lower premiums for hardworking Americans.” The repeal and replacement of much of Obamacare is supposed to get a vote on the House floor on Thursday. Dozens of Republican House members oppose the bill or have expressed major concerns. (Iowa Public Radio)

National News

GOP health care bill would kill 1.8 million jobs in 2022, says new analysis
The US economy would produce 1.8 million fewer jobs in 2022 if the Republican legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act became law, according to a new analysis by the Center for American Progress. Two provisions in the legislation accounted for most of the projected job losses: repealing expanded eligibility for Medicaid coverage and cutting federal financial assistance for marketplace health coverage. Both measures were expected to eliminate 2.2 million jobs in 2022, according to the study by the left-leaning think tank. (McClatchy)

Gripes about Obamacare aside, health insurers are in a profit spiral
Over the last few years, big managed care companies like UnitedHealth Group have contributed to the furor over the fate of the Affordable Care Act by saying that important parts of it are fundamentally flawed. But overall it has been something of a blessing. The underlying businesses of the big managed care companies have actually done extremely well under Obamacare. They have run into some problems but are hardly in need of a rescue. The companies have notched profits — from expansion of Medicaid, for example, and from services aimed at cutting medical costs — while learning how to insulate themselves from parts of the law that have crimped their income. (New York Times)

House health care bill teetering on the brink of failing
The GOP health care bill appears poised for failure with at least 19 Republicans committed to voting “no,” absent additional substantial changes, and several more likely to join them in opposition. CQ Roll Call has confirmed in interviews and review of public statements that at least 19 Republicans will not vote for the GOP health care bill Thursday. Another handful said they were either undecided or were leaning toward opposing the bill, with most of those members still looking for changes. If the number of “no” votes surpasses 21, that’s enough to sink the bill. (Roll Call)

Trump warns House Republicans: Repeal health law or lose your seats
President Trump on Tuesday turned up the pressure on recalcitrant Republicans to support a sweeping bill to overhaul the health care system, threatening wavering lawmakers in his party with political payback if they failed to get behind a measure that has become an early test of his negotiating power. At a private meeting with House Republicans at the Capitol, the president also delivered a blunt warning that many of those present would lose their seats in next year’s midterm congressional elections if the effort failed. (New York Times)

Tapping telehealth for complex cases
For more than a decade, some hospitals and health systems have turned to telehealth to reach patients in areas squeezed by physician shortages. More recently, providers answered patients’ calls for convenience by offering on-demand video visits for routine health problems. Now the leading health systems are harnessing telehealth to treat patients with more complex conditions in ways that lower costs by preventing complications, reducing lengths of stay and, when used in home or post-acute settings, reducing readmissions. (Modern Healthcare)

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