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

Iowa News

Branstad’s private Medicaid ‘success’ that wasn’t
Governor Terry Branstad doesn’t have much to say about problems caused by his privatization of Medicaid. Low-income Iowans report losing health services. Providers are not being paid by managed care companies. The origins of the governor’s “savings” estimates remain a mystery. Taxpayers don’t understand why they’re bailing out for-profit insurers contracted with the state. And the latest press release states there has been a 54 percent reduction in hospital admissions, a number that is not accurate according to the Iowa Hospital Association. (Des Moines Register)

Iowa voters credit GOP lawmaker for opposing health bill
Rebuffing President Donald Trump and Republican leaders on the GOP health care bill seemed like a major political misstep for Iowa Representative David Young when he was punished by a political action committee. Voters in Young’s southwestern Iowa district say he made the right move. Conservatives praised Young for his opposition to the bill and Democrats welcomed the legislation’s demise, fearful that the measure would have been devastating to the poor. (Associated Press/U.S. News & World Report)

Rod Blum: Congress will act on health care this year
Efforts to reform the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are ongoing in Washington and will result in a plan to lower insurance premiums for Iowans, US Representative Rod Blum pledged on Wednesday. Blum, the Republican representing northeastern Iowa, was a “no” vote on the GOP proposal offered as a replacement to ACA and then abandoned last month when it became clear it would not pass. Discussions on a new bill are already underway. (Des Moines Register)

Knoxville Hospital & Clinics installs new CT system
Knoxville Hospital & Clinics has completed the installation of the AquilionTM PRIME 40 computed tomography (CT) system which will allow the hospital to give a better patient experience while providing clinicians with high-quality images for accurate diagnoses. Matt Byrd, director of imaging at the hospital said, “We installed this system to offer our patients the most advanced CT technology so that our patients don’t have to choose between safety and comfort.” (KNIA)

National News

In remote Idaho, a tiny facility lights the way for stressed rural hospitals
Lost Rivers Medical Center is a tiny brick hospital nestled on the snowy hills above a remote town in central Idaho. It has only one full-time doctor and its emergency room has just three beds. It nearly shut its doors in 2013 due in large part to the declining population of the area it serves — almost becoming another statistic, another hospital to vanish from rural America. But then the hospital got a dramatic reboot with new management who secured financing to help pay for more advanced technology, upgraded facilities and expanded services. (Kaiser Health News)

Legislators creating incentives for rural clinicians in Wisconsin
Working in collaboration with the Wisconsin Hospital Association, 23 state legislators have proposed a package of legislation to help reverse the decades-long population shift to cities and suburbs. The Rural Wisconsin Initiative includes programs to support economic development, education, broadband expansion, workforce training and health care. In announcing the health care elements of their proposal last fall, the legislators pointed out that access to high-quality health care is a linchpin for the plan’s success. (Hospitals & Health Networks)

Molina’s managed care Medicaid patients in Illinois to be placed in fee-for-service system
With health care providers fleeing Molina Healthcare’s managed care Medicaid network in much of the Springfield area, Illinois officials decided Friday to “disenroll” all 26,750 of the company’s local members and place them in traditional fee-for-service Medicaid on May 1 and beyond. Several doctors and hospitals withdrew from Molina’s network because of ongoing issues around claims payments, medical management and others. (Springfield State Journal-Register)

As some holdout states revisit Medicaid expansion, new data shows it pays off
Although the GOP-controlled Congress is pledging its continued interest to dismantle Obamacare, some “red state” legislatures are changing course and showing a newfound interest in embracing the health law’s Medicaid expansion. And a study out Wednesday in Health Affairs concluded that when states expanded eligibility for the low-income health insurance program they did see larger health care expenditures — but those costs were covered with federal funding. In addition, expansion states didn’t have to skimp on other policy priorities to make ends meet. (Kaiser Health News)

Trump says he still wants to tackle health care before moving to tax reform
President Trump said Tuesday that he still hopes to tackle health care before focusing on tax reform. “We are going to have a phenomenal tax reform but I have to do health care first. I want to do it first to really get it right,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo set to air on Wednesday. When asked about the timeline for his policy goals, Trump said that he does not “want to put deadlines” on his plans. (The Hill)

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