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

Iowa News

Elimination of kids’ health care tax checkoff sparks heated debate in Iowa Senate
What appeared to be a minor change on Iowa income tax forms erupted into a heated debate Tuesday in the Senate with Democrats accusing Republicans of a mean-spirited move to deprive low-income children of government-funded health insurance. “The only reason for removing the checkoff box from state tax form is because Republicans don’t want Iowa children to receive health insurance to which they are entitled,” said Senator Tony Bisignano (D-Des Moines). (Des Moines Register)

Health Day focuses on mental concerns
Two days after the first mental health fair for the University of Iowa, International World Health Day addressed this year’s topic — depression. The World Health Organization annually hosts World Health Day, celebrated on April 7. The day provides everyone with a unique opportunity to mobilize action on a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world. Both the mental health fair and the World Health Day encourage people to speak up and seek help for their mental health. (Daily Iowan)

Mental health questions raised at town hall meeting
More than 30 people came to the Welcome Center in Emmetsburg on April 1, the third and final town hall meeting of the season, to ask questions and voice their concerns to State Representative Megan Jones and State Senator David Johnson. Mental health funding and payments by the three Iowa insurance carriers were important topics. An individual at the meeting asked about legislation capping the mental health levy. “We have taken a number of ideas and work something out to lift the cap,” Johnson replied. “I think if we don’t the regions will fall apart.” (Emmetsburg Report/Democrat)

National News

Drastic cuts could be coming for Medicaid patients in Oklahoma
If Oklahoma appropriation is cut for fiscal year 2018, many programs and benefits for Medicaid patients could be eliminated. This could also mean a potential 25 percent rate cut to providers caring for Medicaid patients. “In the context of today’s health care payment environment, further cuts to providers, let alone a dramatic cut of 25 percent, puts hospitals and the patients they serve at great risk, particularly in rural areas,” said Oklahoma Hospital Association President Craig Jones. (KFOR)

Budget cuts would deepen statewide shortage of Minnesota psychiatric beds
A statewide effort to alleviate Minnesota’s chronic shortage of psychiatric beds by freeing up space at state mental hospitals would be jeopardized under budget proposals before the Legislature. Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper said a proposed $600 million reduction in the Human Services budget would force the state to reduce staffing and capacity at state-operated mental facilities, reversing a year of progress in expanding access to treatment for psychiatric patients. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

45 percent in mental health crisis said Phoenix police made matters worse
Nearly half of mentally ill individuals who said they had contact with Phoenix police said the officers actually made the situation worse, according to a city survey. The survey was part of a report aimed to shed light on interactions between Phoenix police and those with mental health issues. Both police and individuals with mental health issues agree police play a significant role in crisis situations. Both police and the individuals said the issue is improving, but suggest more mobile crisis teams and better mental-health treatment. (Arizona Republic)

Trump pushes historic cuts in global health aid, stoking fears of new disease outbreaks
Half a century after the US led a global expansion of international efforts to combat infectious disease and promote family planning, the Trump administration has embarked on a historic retrenchment that many fear threatens the health of millions and jeopardizes America’s standing in the world. President Trump has proposed dramatic cuts to several agencies supporting global health. And there are growing fears the U.S. will no longer be a reliable ally in tackling major global health challenges, including combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and future pandemics such as Ebola. (Los Angeles Times)

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