Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.
Iowa Legislature: Here’s where key bills stand after first 2020 ‘funnel’ deadline
Iowa lawmakers worked frantically at the Iowa Capitol to file bills and hold committee hearings to make sure some of their top priorities survived a key procedural deadline on Friday. Republicans, who control both chambers of the Legislature and the governor’s office, have advanced measures regulating abortion, instituting work requirements for Medicaid recipients, expanding the state’s medical marijuana program and creating rules for which felons can regain their voting rights. Those bills and others survived the legislative session’s first “funnel” deadline. (Des Moines Register)
North Iowans developing suicide protocol for schools
A Charles City social worker and Iowa St. Representative Todd Prichard are working to implement a universal protocol for districts to follow to address the needs of students if they have been contemplating suicide, as well as re-entering schools after a crisis. Jenna Haglund is a social worker for Charles City Middle School, as well as at Waverly-Shell Rock. She’s had students come to her if they’ve been contemplating suicide, with some even being hospitalized because of it. (KIMT)
UI doctors discover new genetic mutation that causes fatal heart arrhythmias
After several children died from sudden cardiac arrests, a team of doctors discovered a genetic mutation to be the cause of their fatal heart arrhythmias — a disorder of the movement of the heart that disturbs its typical contracting rhythm. Ian Law, pediatric cardiologist at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, said a Mennonite family moved to Iowa in 2013 just before one of the children died suddenly of cardiac arrests. Doctors ran further tests and found other Mennonite children to be at a similar risk for heart problems, Law said, and had been so for years. (University of Iowa Daily Iowan)
Congressional candidates go head-to-head on health care again
The California Democrats who fought to flip Republican congressional seats in 2018 used health care as their crowbar. Now, Democrats are defending the seven seats they flipped from red to blue in California. And once again, they plan to go after their Republican opponents on health care in this year’s elections. But this time around, it’s not just about the Affordable Care Act, whose fate now rests with the federal courts. Democrats are highlighting the high costs of prescription drugs, surprise medical bills and cuts to safety-net programs. (Kaiser Health News)
Supreme Court allows ‘public charge’ rule to take effect nationwide
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Trump administration on Friday night in a case that contested the president’s “public charge” rule, which critics have called a “wealth test” for legal immigrants. The policy in question, the Immigration and Nationality Act, would make it harder for immigrants who are “likely at any time to become a public charge” to obtain green cards. The policy discourages legal immigrants in the process of obtaining permanent legal status or citizenship from using public assistance, including Medicaid, housing vouchers and food stamps. (The Hill)
Is the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic yet?
On Tuesday, Feb. 18, no coronavirus cases had been reported in Iran. On Sunday, the government announced 43 cases and eight deaths. Some 152 cases (and at least three deaths) were confirmed in Italy on Sunday, up from three cases on Thursday. The number of infected people in South Korea jumped to 763 (and six deaths) in just days. As of Monday, Covid-19 was detected in at least 29 countries. In nations with few or no reported cases so far, particularly in South America and Africa, the absence of evidence shouldn’t be interpreted as evidence of absence. (New York Times)