Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By siglerr|
|March 29, 2023

Iowa news

Iowa lawmakers work to save rural hospitals

The Iowa Senate approved a measure allowing some medical facilities to be licensed as “emergency hospitals.” The bill was signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds on March 28. This designation is especially important in rural areas facing a critical care shortage. Senate File 75 allows some Iowa hospitals to be given a rural emergency hospital designation, which could keep many of them open. Although it might seem unusual for a hospital to reduce services to increase patient care, this designation would require some to discontinue inpatient care in exchange for offering outpatient services and a 24/7 emergency room. Sen. Jeff Reichmann (R-Montrose) said access to round-the-clock care services is increasingly vital. “Rural emergency hospitals will help rural communities that need health-care services, stabilize hospitals that may be struggling in rural areas and help ensure that essential needs for Iowans, and specifically for us in Lee County, are met,” he said. (KTTN)

Health system names chief medical officer for MercyOne Western Iowa

MercyOne has selected Dr. Keith Vollstedt, M.D., as the new chief medical officer of MercyOne Western Iowa. Dr. Vollstedt brings more than 30 years of experience in health care, including as a bariatric and laparoscopic surgeon in the Siouxland community. He previously worked for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Des Moines VA Medical Center, and he received his medical degree from the University of Iowa. In 2021, Dr. Vollstedt briefly retired from surgical practice but decided to return to serve MercyOne’s mission. He had been interim chief medical officer since October 2022 and has been instrumental in fostering relations among the medical staff. (Sioux City Journal)

Des Moines hospital already screening for potentially deadly fungus

Des Moines hospitals are on the lookout for a potentially deadly fungus spreading nationwide. The fungus is a type of yeast called Candida auris. It can cause severe illness or even death in people with a weakened immune system. The fungus is also drug-resistant. UnityPoint Health-Des Moines says it has not seen any cases, but it does screen regularly for it. UnityPoint has protocols in place if a case is detected. (Siouxland Proud)

National news

How Cigna saves millions by having its physicians reject claims without reading them

Cigna, one of the country’s largest insurers, has built a system that allows its physicians to instantly reject a claim on medical grounds without opening the patient file, leaving people with unexpected bills, according to corporate documents and interviews with former Cigna officials. Over a period of two months last year, Cigna physicians denied more than 300,000 requests for payments using this method, spending an average of 1.2 seconds on each case, the documents show. Before health insurers reject claims for medical reasons, company physicians must review them, according to insurance laws and regulations in many states. The Cigna review system bypasses those steps. (Propublica)

Health care payer services market is expected to reach $118.2 billion

The health care payer services industry is expected to experience significant growth in the near future, according to a recent report. The growth is attributed to the increasing demand for managed care services, the expanding use of digital health services, and the growing need for data analytics and predictive modeling. The industry will require providers to leverage technology and improve customer service to remain competitive, while ensuring compliance with health care regulations. (GlobeNewswire)

Study shows why site-neutral payment would threaten access to care

Medicare patients who receive care in a hospital outpatient department are more likely to come from medically underserved populations and be sicker and more complex to treat than Medicare patients treated in independent physician offices and ambulatory surgical centers, according to a study by KNG Health Consulting. This study underscores why proposals to compensate hospitals and health systems the same as independent practices and ambulatory surgery centers under Medicare would threaten patient access to care. Medicare already reimburses hospitals less than the cost of providing care. (American Hospital Association)

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