Hospital group study: Iowa’s Medicaid expansion is working

From the Quad Cities Times:

A survey of Iowa hospitals has shown substantial savings that are being credited mainly to the state’s expanded Medicaid program, findings that are mirrored by Quad-City hospitals.

The Iowa Hospital Association surveyed 101 hospitals across the state from January through June of this year and made comparisons with the number of patients seeking care who had or did not have health insurance coverage.

The study shows that of 159,000 hospital discharges during the January-June period, 4,445 patients were uninsured. That compares with 8,181 during the same period of 2013.

That’s a decrease of 45.7 percent across Iowa. At Trinity Bettendorf, the rate is more like 50 percent, Greg Pagliuzza, the chief financial officer for UnityPoint Health Trinity, said Wednesday.

The reductions in Iowa are due to Medicaid expansion through the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan, which resulted from passage of the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare.

Small Kentucky hospitals struggle to stay open

From the Courier Journal:

If not for a nearby rural hospital, Jimmy Price says he might well be dead.

Doctors at Nicholas County Hospital saved the 53-year-old’s life in 2009 when he had a heart attack while working as a mechanic at a school a half-mile away. After stabilizing him, they sent him on to the University of Kentucky, where he had a triple bypass.

“I don’t want to think what would have happened if that hospital wasn’t there,” said his wife, Dana Price.

Residents are now finding out. The county’s only hospital was shuttered in May. A sign near the empty emergency room says: “This facility is CLOSED. If you need immediate care call 911.” It also gives the locations of the closest emergency rooms — nearly 20 miles away on winding country roads.