Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By siglerr|
|April 3, 2023

Iowa news

UI researchers join Midwest study looking at growing herbicide exposure during pregnancy

University of Iowa researchers are joining a Midwest study that seeks to establish a foundation for assessing the chemicals’ impact on mothers’ and babies’ long-term health. Donna and Mark Santillan, a husband-and-wife UI research team, are joining Heartland Health and Research Alliance’s study. It begins with measuring the presence of the herbicides dicamba and 2,4-D in pregnant women’s urine. Besides gauging herbicide exposure, the researchers will collect information about each baby’s delivery, the newborn’s weight and the mother and child’s health. They’ll begin to assess whether there’s an association between pregnancy outcomes and herbicide exposure. (Des Moines Register)

Iowans mark affordable health-care anniversary

Iowans are marking the 13th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Thanks to the health-care plan, Iowans have saved thousands of dollars in insurance premiums and have had better access to medical providers. The Affordable Care Act has been a lifeline for millions of Americans during its 13 years, and with extended pandemic-era Medicaid benefits scheduled to vanish in mid May, access to affordable health care will become even more critical. Progress Iowa Executive Director Matt Sinovic said the ACA has made coverage available to about 15,000 Iowans who would otherwise be uninsured, and to 14,000 small-business owners and self-employed Iowans. (KMALand)

Iowa physicians study neonatal sleep for keys to helping adults

Physicians in Iowa are studying the brains of babies to learn more about sleep patterns in adults and teens. The United Health Foundation reports one-third of Americans don’t get enough sleep, and about 30% of Iowans fall into that category, which can lead to poor health and affect decision-making abilities. Although sleep research often focuses on teens and older adults, physicians at the University of Iowa are studying neonatal sleep patterns to learn what they can apply to the rest of the population. The university is now ramping up research on babies who were born prematurely and those less than six months of age, and are looking for parents of children who fit those guidelines to advance their work. (Public News Service)

National news

CMS finalizes Medicare Advantage, Part D payment changes for CY 2024

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services finalized proposed changes to Medicare Advantage plan capitation rates and Part C and Part D payment policies for calendar year 2024, which the agency estimates will increase Medicare Advantage plan revenues by an average of 3.32% from 2023 to 2024. The rate announcement finalizes technical and clinical updates to the risk adjustment model and includes a technical adjustment to the calculation of indirect and direct medical education costs of services furnished to enrollees, which will be phased in over three years. In addition, the rate announcement updates parts C and D star ratings to reflect the latest regulations, and implements changes and additions to the standard Part D drug benefit under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. (American Hospital Association)

NIH selects next round of winners in the RADx Tech for maternal health challenge

The National Institutes of Health announced the next round of winners of its Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics Technology (RADx Tech) for Maternal Health Challenge, an $8 million prize competition to accelerate development of technologies to improve maternal health outcomes for those who live in areas lacking access to maternity care. The challenge seeks promising home-based or point-of-care diagnostic devices, wearables and other remote sensing technologies to improve postpartum health care in these “maternity care deserts,” which include urban and rural areas nationwide. The 10 teams that have now advanced past the second phase have each earned an additional $75,000 prize. These deep dive winners will undergo the final technology assessment phase, during which each innovator team will continue developing their diagnostic technologies and leveraging NIH support to overcome technological, clinical, usability, regulatory and commercialization hurdles. (National Institutes of Health)

Possible culprit identified in outbreak of severe liver damage causes in children

An onslaught of common childhood viruses may have been behind the mysterious outbreak of cases of severe liver damage in children that began popping up in late 2021, as lockdowns were relaxed and schools reopened. Research homes in on a possible culprit: adeno-associated virus 2, or AAV2, a virus not previously known to cause illness. In 93% of the cases investigated, the researchers detected AAV2. But the researchers found that AAV2 didn’t appear to be acting alone. It needed “helper” viruses to get into liver cells. (NBC News)

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