Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the web.
Iowa State counseling director reports surging mental health needs
Mental health services across America’s college campuses have been in growing demand for years — and that was before a pandemic hit the country, infecting more than 5.5 million Americans and killing more than 180,000. It was before COVID-19 decimated the economy, leaving millions without jobs and steady income. It was before social injustices this summer propelled weeks- and months-long protests, involving law enforcement clashes and deep-seated pain. And it was before a hurricane-strength derecho earlier this month blasted Iowa — leaving hundreds of thousands with massive property damage and without power, internet, cellular service and access to food, water and other resources. (The Gazette)
Fear of COVID-19 leading to less doctor visits, more hospitalizations
Local hospitals now find some patients are waiting too long to go to the doctor. Managers at Genesis Health System say they’re treating fewer patients during the pandemic, but a higher percentage of patients require hospitalization. Now its ICU beds are full. Doctors at Genesis and Unity Point say, elderly people and those with mental health conditions are especially at risk if they don’t have regular visits. (WHBF)
Iowa adding new coronavirus cases at record clip
The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in Iowa is the highest it has ever been and the rate of virus tests that prove positive continues an alarming trend. The state added 990 new cases in the 24-hour period ending at 11 a.m. Sunday. That brings the seven-day average of newly reported cases to 1,135 cases a day. According to a database maintained by the New York Times, Iowa’s rate of adding cases per capita is now the highest of any state in the nation. (The Gazette)
Fad or future? Telehealth expansion eyed beyond pandemic
Telehealth is a bit of American ingenuity that seems to have paid off in the coronavirus pandemic. Medicare temporarily waived restrictions predating the smartphone era and now there’s a push to make telemedicine widely available in the future. Consultations via tablets, laptops and phones linked patients and doctors when society shut down in early spring. Telehealth visits dropped with the reopening, but they’re still far more common than before. (MercuryNews.com)
Fund for virus bills confuses hospitals
Marilyn Cortez, a retired cafeteria worker in Houston with no health insurance, spent much of July in the hospital with COVID-19. When she returned home, she received a $36,000 bill that compounded the stress of her illness. Then someone from the hospital, Houston Methodist, called and told her not to worry — President Donald Trump had paid it. But then another bill arrived, for twice as much. Cortez’s care is supposed to be covered under a program Trump announced this spring as the coronavirus pandemic was taking hold — a time when millions of people were losing their health insurance. (Arkansas Online)
Will telemedicine make medical offices obsolete?
Telemedicine is not a new concept. In fact, Medicare has been offering telehealth services to enrollees for years, largely in an effort to cater to a population of older Americans in which mobility issues are prevalent. But the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the concept of telemedicine to a whole new level, and over the course of the past five months, medical care that would normally be done solely in an office setting has instead been taking place over phone calls and videoconferencing. In April, 43.5% of Medicare primary care visits were provided via telehealth services, compared to less than 1% in February before the public health emergency arose. And telehealth usage outside of Medicare and Medicaid increased 4,347% on a national level between March 2019 and March 2020. (Motley Fool)