Today’s NewsStand — Feb. 18, 2020

Today’s NewsStand — Feb. 18, 2020

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|February 18, 2020

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

Iowa News       

This is Iowa: Double dose of compassion
Stead Family Children’s Hospital is filled with young patients facing big challenges. But just a few weeks ago, a double dose of compassion walked into the hospital. The central Iowa natives want to be nurses, and they know what’s ahead. That’s because the best friends have been there as patients. KCCI’s Eric Hanson reports on the emotional return to the oncology floor for the cancer-survivors who are now nursing students. (KCCI)

Lawmakers considering bills to raise cap on THC in medical marijuana products
Two bills in the Iowa legislature are seeking to expand Iowa’s medical cannabis program. The bills, one in the Senate and one in House, seek to raise the current cap on THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana that causes a high. Both pieces of legislation before lawmakers would remove the 3 percent THC cap on state-approved medical cannabidiol products. Jennifer Hussman, with the Area Substance Abuse Council, said whenever there is talk about increasing access to products that contain THC, there are also reasons to be concerned. (KCRG)

UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital expanding use of telemedicine
UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital will expand its use of telemedicine with the addition of six board-certified physicians to its hospitalist team. Telehospitalists will work with local physicians and providers to on inpatient care for patients. The emergency department will continue to be staffed by local physicians at all hours, and physician specialists will remain on-call to respond as needed. (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier)

National News

Rural hospitals’ margins erode, sparking financial instability
More than 450 rural hospitals are financially unstable as operating margins decline, new research shows. Of the 453 vulnerable rural hospitals, 237 are “at risk” and 216 are the least stable, according to an analysis from the Chartis Center for Rural Health. About 47% of the country’s 1,844 rural hospitals are operating in the red, up from 39% in 2015. Rural hospitals in states that have not expanded Medicaid recorded a -0.3% median operating margin. Providers in a Medicaid expansion state are 62% less likely to close. (Modern Healthcare)

Health care bankruptcies down from last year’s high, but don’t expect full rebound
Healthcare provider bankruptcies, while down from their peak a year ago, still far outpace overall bankruptcies, according to a new report from the law firm Polsinelli. Overall Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings dropped 50% in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared with the same period in 2010. Healthcare bankruptcies, by contrast, increased 125% in that time, according to the report, which tracks all Chapter 11 filings with assets over $1 million. (Modern Healthcare)

Coronavirus cruise passengers land in US, including 14 infected
Hundreds of Americans who had been passengers on a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship in Japan landed in the U.S. on Monday, including 14 people who tested positive for the virus and were allowed to join the evacuation operation at the last minute. The number of virus cases aboard the Diamond Princess ship rose to 454—about one in eight of those originally on the ship—prompting more questions about whether Japan made the outbreak worse by confining potential virus carriers in a narrow space. (Wall Street Journal)

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