Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.
Iowa withholds $44M from Medicaid insurer, citing payment, claims issues
Iowa health officials are withholding $44 million from an insurance company that provides health coverage to Iowans under the state’s privatized Medicaid program, pointing to unresolved issues with payments to health providers. Iowa Department of Human Services staff told Iowa Total Care representatives Friday that the state will withhold about a third of the amount it would have otherwise paid the company this month. (Des Moines Register)
UnityPoint-Marshalltown releases results of Community Health Survey
After collecting responses from area residents for the past several months as part of the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) Survey, UnityPoint Health Marshalltown has determined some key takeaways regarding health care priorities for the next three years. Overall, UnityPoint Health Marshalltown received a strong response from the community. (Tama Toledo News)
Eastern Iowa mental health region continues to face turmoil
Fighting among the counties in the Eastern Iowa Mental Health Region might result in Muscatine County getting kicked out. The first step may be taken at a special meeting called by regional chair Jack Willey for Friday. The mental health regions were formed in 2014 in a move away from differing models of county-level care toward more-standardized treatment models. The process has been wracked by bickering over funding levels among counties and between the regions and the state Legislature, as well as over the services required by the state. (Clinton Herald)
From Obamacare in the 2010s to what in the 2020s?
The last decade began with the narrow passage of the Affordable Care Act — President Barack Obama’s signature health-care legislation — over the strenuous objections of Republicans. It ended with most of the 2020 Democratic presidential field pushing for even more substantial change to a system the ACA only began to fix, and with Republicans once again in opposition. The debate continues. (Bloomberg)
Hospital mergers don’t improve readmissions, mortality or experience, study finds
Recent hospital mergers and acquisitions haven’t led to significant improvements in some patient outcomes, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study, published this week by researchers at Harvard University, found that hospitals acquired by health systems experienced a modest decline in patient experience scores while performance on 30-day readmissions and mortality rates stayed largely flat. (Modern Healthcare)
US on track for one of the worst flu seasons in decades
This flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst in decades, according to the United States’ top infectious disease doctor. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said while it’s impossible to predict how the flu will play out, the season so far is on track to be as severe as the 2017-2018 flu season, which was the deadliest in more than four decades, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CNN)