Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the web.
New Ronald McDonald House opens at MercyOne Children’s Hospital
A new Ronald McDonald House at MercyOne Children’s Hospital is now open to families. It is the second house serving central Iowa and the 10th in the nation in a hospital. The unit, on the fourth floor of the hospital, includes 14 bedroom suites that sleep up to five people, a full-size kitchen and dining room, laundry room, playroom, lactation room and respite room. Families with children age 21 and younger who are receiving treatment at MercyOne Children’s Hospital are welcome to stay at the Ronald McDonald House after being referred by a medical provider or social worker. (The Oskaloosa Herald)
State government officials have worked in recent years to expand mental and behavioral services in Iowa, and many top leaders would say they largely have been successful. But that conversation will continue into this legislative session beginning today — specifically about paying for those services. The latest of those bills came during the 2019 session, when Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law House File 690, which established a statewide mental health system for children under 18. (The Gazette)
The Iowa Insurance Division gave approval to five insurers to sell short-term health plans in 2020, and is working with several others to get their plans approved, the state agency said Jan. 6. The Trump administration loosened regulations on short-term health plans in late 2018, arguing the plans increase Americans’ health insurance options — especially for those facing high premiums and fewer selections on the ACA individual market. Under the new regulation, short-term plans can now last a year, much longer than the original 90 days. They can also be renewed for up to three years. (Becker’s Hospital Review)
US hospitals are standing on increasingly unstable ground as dwindling profits take a toll on operations: At least 30 US hospitals entered bankruptcy in 2019, according to Bloomberg’s tracking. (Business Insider)
CMS recently released a final rule, which will require hospitals to publicly disclose pricing information, effective January 1, 2021. Citing an effort to increase market competition and drive down the cost of health care services, hospitals will be obligated to publish gross charges, payer-specific negotiated rates, the de-identified minimum and maximum negotiated rates, and discounted cash price for all items and services in a machine-readable format on the hospitals’ websites. Additionally, hospitals will be required to publish negotiated charges for at least 300 “shoppable” services. (The National Law Review)
Massachusetts topped the list of a new scorecard rating states on their adoption of policies to improve affordability of healthcare, but no state earned a perfect score. The Healthcare Affordability State Policy Scorecard, which Altarum’s Healthcare Value Hub released Jan. 7, shows many states have work to do to address the affordability of healthcare for residents. It also provides a guide for each state on where to focus regulatory and reform efforts. For example, the report said Massachusetts should enact stronger protections against surprise medical bills and pursue additional strategies to reduce the cost of high-value care. (Becker’s Hospital Review)