Today’s NewsStand — Feb. 17, 2020

Today’s NewsStand — Feb. 17, 2020

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|February 17, 2020

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

Iowa News       

GOP Senators eye computerizing verification of eligibility for Medicaid; Democrats object
The Iowa Department of Human Services would likely contract with a third-party vendor to verify the eligibility of public assistance recipients under legislation advanced by Republican senators this week. Backers say Senate Study Bill 3068, which requires computerization of the verification process for programs like Medicaid and food stamps, would streamline the system and free up state employees to complete other tasks. (Des Moines Register)

Eastern Iowa region officials ask for mental health care reform
A year ago, Lori Elam, CEO of the Eastern Iowa Mental Health Region, said the region was going to run out of money and options in 2020. “We’re going to have to really do a full-court press when it comes to (informing) the Legislature,” she told the Clinton County Board of Supervisors during a January 2019 meeting. Officials in the five counties that compose the Eastern Iowa region — Clinton, Jackson, Scott, Cedar and Muscatine — heeded Elam’s suggestion and have lobbied legislators throughout the past year. (Clinton Herald)

MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center unveils new diagnostics tool for less invasive procedures
MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center has a brand new machine to help detect cancer and heart problems. This new machine is an interventional radiology suite that allows surgeons to use less radiation while taking better, more accurate pictures and allows for better mapping of vessels and 3D reconstructions of the images. (Siouxland News)

National News

Three surprise billing proposals compared side by side
Debate heated up this week on multiple proposals in Congress to squash surprise bills that can expose patients to exorbitant medical charges. Two proposals in the House moved out of committee this week as lawmakers aim to include a ban in legislation for funding Medicare and Medicaid programs set to expire toward the end of May. One of the drafts, adopted by the House Ways and Means Committee, includes the preferred fix for hospitals and providers as it relies on using arbitration to fix disputes over out-of-network bills. (Healthcare Dive)

Coronavirus death toll mounts in China as US braces for long fight
The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the new coronavirus, which has killed nearly 1,400 people and is still spreading in China, could be around for at least another year. The outbreak has affected almost 50,000 people worldwide. There are 15 confirmed cases in the U.S. but none are said to be suffering serious symptoms. The agency is setting up five labs around the U.S. where people with flu-like symptoms can be tested for coronavirus if their flu results are negative. The virus, dubbed COVID-19, has spread to more than two dozen countries. (CBS News)

Moody’s Investors Service weighs coronavirus impact across hospitals, other sectors
The spread of COVID-19, the virus that sparked an outbreak two months ago beginning in Wuhan, China, will have mixed credit implications for health care companies in the United States, according to a report released Wednesday from Moody’s Investors Service. For hospitals, the effect will depend on the length of stay for patients with the disease. Any further outbreak would increase patient volume but could pressure margins if facilities are forced to cancel more lucrative elective procedures. (Healthcare Dive)

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