Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By siglerr|
|April 19, 2023

Iowa news

New state program can cut post-surgery opioid use by 70%

A program that was launched last year in Iowa to reduce the reliance on opioid medicines for pain relief after surgeries has seen early success at the rural hospitals where it has been implemented, according to Goldfinch Health. Goldfinch was contracted by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office to spend up to $1.2 million of the state’s settlement money from several pharmaceutical companies to improve patient care before and after surgeries to limit the use of addictive painkillers. The Billion Pill Pledge has been implemented at five hospitals in rural Iowa and has caused an average reduction in opioid reliance of 70% among participating patients. Seven more Iowa hospitals are set to participate. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Avera CEO to step down for health reasons

Bob Sutton will step down as president and CEO of Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based Avera Health. Sutton’s impending departure from the helm is because of “a recently diagnosed serious medical condition that requires an intensive treatment regimen,” according to a news release. His last day at the health system will be Sept. 30. Sutton has been president and CEO of Avera since 2018. Under his leadership, the health system has opened various building projects and completed renovations in communities across Avera’s 72,000-square-mile footprint. Before this role, he was Avera’s executive vice president of human resources. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Iowa nursing homes can’t find staff to stay open

Since January 2022, 21 Iowa nursing homes have permanently shut their doors, including three so far this year. And three more facilities in Iowa have announced plans to shut down later this year. Across Iowa, 409 nursing homes remain. But with the end of pandemic-era federal assistance funds, nursing home industry leaders say they expect this unprecedented trend of closures to continue. That, in turn, will put a greater burden on an already stressed health care system. (Des Moines Register)

National news

Optum dives into provider loans

Optum now provides financing for health care organization customers who need advanced funds. Optum Pay Advance provides a loan from Optum Bank to health care providers who have been Optum Pay customers for at least two years. The loan is provided with one fixed fee and the company adds repayment automatically as a percentage of the organization’s future Optum Pay payments. Physician practices and organizations can apply for the loan and receive funding within a few business days if the application is accepted. Recipients cannot have an outstanding balance from prior Optum Financial loans, and the company can add eligibility criteria as necessary. (Becker’s Hospital CFO Report)

MACPAC recommends Congress amend Medicaid DSH program

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission approved four recommendations to Congress that would amend the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital program. Building on their 2021 recommendation to implement a countercyclical financing model within the Medicaid program, the commissioners recommended that Congress implement a countercyclical financing model for Medicaid DSH allotments, which in their view would ensure that DSH allotment funding is preserved when an economic recession is triggered. They also recommended changes intended to prevent an increase in the federal medical assistance percentage from inadvertently reducing total DSH spending, as well as technical changes not expected to affect state allotments or hospital-specific DSH payments. (American Hospital Association)

Biden announces plan to expand health coverage to DACA recipients

President Joe Biden announced plans to expand health care coverage to young adults without legal status who have been in the U.S. since they were children and are working or studying under the DACA program. Under Biden’s plan, beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program could enroll in a health plan through Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act. If it’s finalized, it would be the first time DACA recipients are eligible for those health care programs. DACA recipients would be able to apply for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, where they may qualify for financial assistance based on income, and through their state Medicaid agencies. (NBC News)

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