Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|June 20, 2022

Iowa news

Mental health care won in 2022 legislative session

This session focused on growing the mental health workforce and access to beds for the most difficult to serve patients. Increasing access to mental health care is a huge priority for Iowans, and these bills will help more Iowans get the care they deserve. Some policy that passed off the House was not taken up in the Senate, so some of those priorities were attached to the Health and Human Services Budget. That bill was signed by Gov. Reynolds. HF 2529 will appropriate funding for 12 new psychiatry residencies at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC). The residencies will prioritize Iowans in the application process. Iowa ranks 44th in the nation for psychiatrists per capita. Four years after these residencies begin, we will be adding 12 new psychiatrists to the workforce, and 12 more each subsequent year. (The Messenger)

Greene County Medical Center trustees earn IHA certification

Four Greene County Medical Center board members received certifications from the Iowa Hospital Association. Board members William Raney, Doug Hawn, Kim Bates, and Jim Schleisman were awarded certificates and pins for their Iowa Hospital Association’s Trustee Education Certification. The IHA hospital board certification program is a voluntary process for strengthening leadership and accountability. The program provides educational guidance to ensure excellence, innovation and accountability in health care governance. (Greene County News)

New Iowa law targets drug intermediaries in effort to reduce costs, protect pharmacies

Lowering prescription drug prices and protecting rural pharmacies are the main goals of a new state law that adds regulations of companies that serve as a sort of middleman between pharmacies and insurance companies. The new provisions were unanimously approved by state lawmakers this session and signed into law last week by Gov. Kim Reynolds. Pharmacy benefits managers are third-party companies that administer drug plans on behalf of health insurance providers. The industry says that saves consumers money by negotiating with drugmakers, but critics say consolidation in the benefits managers industry has led to higher prescription drug prices and threatened the existence of rural pharmacies. (The Gazette)

National news

AHA: Do not buy into ‘misguided’ assessments of price transparency compliance

The American Hospital Association said patients should be wary of reports about federal hospital price transparency compliance reports from organizations other than CMS. AHA says organizations have reached “wildly different conclusions about the status of implementation across the hospital field.” It points to two reports as examples. A report from Patient Rights Advocate said 14% of hospitals are compliant. Another from Milliman found a 68% compliance rate. AHA says these groups are ignoring CMS’ guidance on aspects of the rule, such as how to fill in an individual negotiated rate when such a rate does not exist because of patient services being bundled and billed together. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

COVID-19 vaccine timing, side effects and efficacy for kids under 5

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has signed off on vaccines for Americans younger than 5 years old, allowing shots to begin immediately. The move came after the Food and Drug Administration issued three new authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines. The FDA has authorized Pfizer shots for children between 6 months and 4 years old, and Moderna shots for children between 6 months and 5 years old. Additionally, it green-lit Moderna shots for kids 6 to 17. Previously, the only vaccine available for that age group was Pfizer’s, which the FDA authorized last year for kids 5 and older. (NBC News)

Congressional deal for COVID-19 funds ‘all but dead’ after heated hearing

A tense Senate health committee hearing weakened the path forward for $10 billion in compromised funding for COVID-19, which has already stalled in Congress for months. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, has led negotiations with the White House over new pandemic relief funding and brought the Senate close to a bipartisan $10 billion COVID-19 funding deal in March. At a June 16 hearing, he accused the Biden administration of giving him “patently false” information when it said it was out of money to buy more coronavirus vaccines and treatments. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

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