Rural Hospital CEO Turns to Telemedicine

Bryan Slaba, CEO of Wagner (SD) Community Memorial Hospital, has implemented a number of new telehealth programs to address the issues that physician shortages and rural climates create. Slaba, who was recently recognized with AHA’s 2018 Rural Leadership Award for his efforts, believes the recognition is just the beginning of a national campaign, Caitlynn Peetz writes in The Daily Republic. "We've taken a very difficult situation and produced quality health care, and now we can project this to the rest of the country,” Slaba said. “We can take what we've done in itty bitty Wagner and really make an impact on the nation."

This Flu Season Worst in Nearly a Decade

This year’s flu season is more intense than any since the 2009 swine flu pandemic and it is still getting worse, reports the New York Times. This year’s virus is now on track to equal or surpass the 2014-2015 flu season. In that year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 34 million Americans got the flu, 710,000 were hospitalized, and about 56,600 died. CDC encourages individuals to get flu shots if they have not done so already.  

Some States Waive Medicaid Transportation Requirement 

For more than 50 years, Medicaid has been required to provide non-emergency medical transportation to transport people to and from medical services, such as mental health counseling sessions, substance abuse treatment and dialysis. At least three states – Iowa, Indiana and Kentucky – have received federal waivers, and extensions, allowing them to cut these Medicaid transportation services, reports Kaiser Health News. Critics of the cuts worry the trend will accelerate, leaving poor and sick patients with no way to get to medical appointments. 

Hospital Subsidizes Apartments for Homeless

In the harsh winters of Chicago, the University of Illinois Hospital is providing supportive housing for emergency room “super users” who are homeless, reports Adele Peters in Fast Company. The hospital, which is increasing its focus on community health, partnered with a nonprofit to launch a pilot program that housed 26 homeless ER users. As a result, health care costs per patient dropped on average 18 percent each month.