Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the web.
Cancer screenings nationwide dropped this year in part because of efforts meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19, prompting concern among local providers that patients are sicker because of the pandemic. Fears among local oncologists — expressed as early as April — that patients’ delay in screenings would cause less diagnoses seems to be coming true in recent weeks. As health care providers work to resume care that was delayed because of the pandemic, Cedar Rapids-based oncologists are finding fewer patients are being diagnosed with cancers commonly spotted through routine screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies. And it’s not that diseases are occurring at a lower rate. According to local providers, the patients they are seeing have been diagnosed with a more progressed stage of the disease. (The Gazette)
Regional Health Services of Howard County, a critical access hospital in northeast Iowa, has agreed to collaborate with oncology specialists at Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s Chicago facility. The alliance will offer advanced oncology care to area residents. Patients will receive coordinated care from both RHSHC and CTCA providers. In addition, clinical telemedicine services will connect patients via real-time videoconferencing to CTCA Chicago oncologists for regular visits close to home. This collaboration marks the first CTCA coordinated cancer care alliance in the state of Iowa. (Decorah News)
Oscar, the first tech-driven health insurance company, and MercyOne, a connected system of health care facilities and services dedicated to helping patients and communities live their best life, announced today they are partnering to offer Oscar Individual and Family health insurance plans in 23 counties in Iowa beginning in 2021, pending regulatory approval. (Business Record)
A second surge of COVID-19 this fall and winter could be catastrophic for the US, and it’s not just more sick people that doctors worry about. The very hospitals that treat lower-income patients could be forced to shut down or cut crucial services. (NBC News)
The number of COVID-19 tests conducted daily in the United States stands at 73% of the level deemed necessary by Harvard University’s researchers to mitigate the spread of the virus. Testing activity is below the recommended level in 33 states, according to a New York Times analysis. (Becker’s Hospital Review)
The Office for Civil Rights at the US Department of Health and Human Services has warned health systems about what appears to be something of an old-fashioned and low-tech phishing attempt: fraudulent postcards, most addressed to hospital privacy officers, that warn of noncompliance with a mandatory risk assessment. According to a report in the National Law Review, OCR on Aug. 9 sent a listserv alert that it had become “aware of postcards being sent to health care organizations disguised as official OCR communications, claiming to be notices of a mandatory HIPAA compliance risk assessment.” (Healthcare IT News)