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State News

Senator Grassley Holds Iowa Forum on Rural Health Care and Workforce

The Bipartisan Policy Center, a national think tank based out of Washington, DC, was in Des Moines on August 13 for an event with Senator Chuck Grassley about the barriers that rural Iowans face in securing quality health care. The focus of the discussion was on rural hospitals and physicians, but there was a broader discussion on dealing with workforce shortages in health care in rural Iowa.

Following remarks and crowd questions from the Senator, the panel of local health care experts discussed the shortage of physicians and clinicians in rural areas and what telehealth could mean for patients to have virtual visits with a doctor, nurse, or other clinicians. 
 
Since January 2010, more than 100 rural hospitals have closed throughout the United States, and an additional 647 are at risk of folding, including 17 hospitals in Iowa. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the 60 million Americans living in rural areas are at a greater risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, stroke, and chronic lower respiratory disease than those living in urban and suburban areas. 
 
Unfortunately, aging services was only mentioned in passing at the forum as the focus was clearly on physician access and hospitals. LAI will continue to highlight the importance of aging services and the issues facing the health continuum. Policy makers need to continue hearing from aging service providers, so policy makers understand that workforce shortages and funding issues are not only facing hospitals and clinics, but aging service providers as well. 

 

DHS Provides Update on Electronic Visit Verification Implementation

As discussed in Informational Letter 1927-MC-FFS, federal legislation delayed the implementation of Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) until January 1, 2020. EVV implementation in Iowa will be later. The IME has filed a good faith effort exemption to delay federal match penalties through 2020. Updates related to this project will be provided as they become available at the dedicated EVV webpage.

If you have any questions, please contact IME Provider Services at 1-800-338-7909 or email [email protected].

 

Livanta Named New BFCC QIO for Iowa

Livanta has been named as the new Beneficiary and Family Centered Care (BFCC) QIO for Iowa effective June 8, 2019.  Livanta replaces Kepro as the BFCC QIO, the organization that manages all complaints and quality of care reviews for Medicare members. 

Telligen is still the named Quality Innovation Network for Iowa. 

 

Release of Nursing Trends Report on Nurse Licenses and Nursing Education in Iowa

The Iowa Board of Nursing released a new report about nursing trends in Iowa for 2012-2018. The new report highlights a wide variety of different data points and information. The purpose of the study is to highlight the supply of nurses (BSN, RNs, LPNs, etc.) coming into the health industry. Iowa is estimated to need continuing growth of nurses in Iowa to keep up with growing demand.

In the report's conclusion, it states:

There is a higher saturation of active nurses in the State of Iowa than in the nation with nearly 244 more nurses per 100,000 in population. Both the RN and LPN workforce is younger in Iowa than in the nation; with 37.1 percent of RNs in Iowa 39 years old or younger compared to only 28.9 percent nationwide. In addition, 42.1 percent of LPNs in Iowa are 39 years old or younger compared to 27.7 percent in the nation.

The State of Iowa has a lower percentage (52.2%) of RNs with a baccalaureate degree or higher than the nation (64.1%). Also, Iowa has a lower percentage (24.2%) of students enrolled in an RN-to-BSN nursing program than the nation (46.2%).

Below you can find a basic overview of some of the data from the report:

 

Civil Money Penalty Quality Improvement Initiative Grant Applications Available

DHS/IME has announced the availability of the CMPQII Grants for 2019.

Section 1919 of the Social Security Act and Iowa Code Section 249A.19 allows the State to impose civil money penalties when a health care facility is not in substantial compliance with one or more participation requirements. These penalties may range from $50 to $10,000 per day, depending on the kind of deficiency recorded by DIA.

CMS permits states to direct collected civil money penalty (CMP) funds for quality improvement projects that enhance the quality of care and the quality of life for nursing facility residents. Grant applications are available to various interested stakeholders such as nursing facilities, consumer groups, professional associations, ombudsmen, and quality improvement organizations.

To learn more about the application process, please click here.

 
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