Today’s NewsStand — Sept. 28, 2020

Today’s NewsStand — Sept. 28, 2020

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|September 28, 2020

Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the web.

Iowa news

Nearly 27,000 antigen test results will be added to Iowa’s coronavirus website

Around 27,000 antigen test results from long-term care facilities will be added to Iowa’s coronavirus website over the weekend, according to a release from the Iowa Department of Public Health. The release also says the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is requiring long-term care facilities to conduct routine surveillance testing. The federal government is providing initial antigen testing supplies and equipment nationwide to help with testing. (KCCI)

Report: During COVID-19, Iowa children may be more prone to abuse and neglect

Iowa children, particularly children from non-white families, are more at risk of experiencing abuse, neglect or a household challenge in light of COVID-19, according to a new statewide report that looks at adverse childhood experiences. Most Iowa adults have reported an adverse experience, ranging from divorce to being neglected by adults with substance abuse issues, according to pre-pandemic data collected by the Iowa Department of Public Health in 2017-18. (Des Moines Register)

Mercy Iowa City to close inpatient mental health unit

Mercy Iowa City plans to close the hospital’s mental and behavioral health unit in November because of the financial challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospital officials confirmed this week the inpatient behavioral health unit will close by the end of the year “in favor of expanding our outpatient service where there is greater community need.” (The Gazette)

National news

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospital admissions in the United States

Hospital admissions in the US fell dramatically with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. But little is known about differences in admissions patterns among patient groups or the extent of the rebound. In this study of approximately 1 million medical admissions from a large nationally representative hospitalist group, we found that declines in non-COVID-19 admissions from February to April 2020 were generally similar across patient demographic subgroups and exceeded 20% for all primary admission diagnoses. By late June/early July 2020, non-COVID-19 admissions had rebounded to 16% below pre-pandemic baseline volume. Non-COVID-19 admissions were substantially lower for patients residing in majority-Hispanic neighborhoods and remained well below baseline for patients with pneumonia, COPD/asthma, sepsis, urinary tract infection and acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction. Health system leaders and public health authorities should focus on efforts to ensure that patients with acute medical illnesses can obtain hospital care as needed during the pandemic to avoid adverse outcomes. (Health Affairs)

How expanded Medicaid could improve food security

It seems fairly obvious that one of the root causes of food insecurity is poverty. If you don’t have enough money, then it stands to reason that it’s likely to be hard to get enough food, or at least enough good nutritious food, regularly. But what might not be so obvious is why so many people in the United States are still in poverty. According to recent data from the US Census Bureau, the No. 1 factor driving Americans into poverty is medical expenses. In 2019 alone, nearly 8 million Americans fell below the poverty line because of medical bills. Anti-poverty advocates say one solution to that problem is to expand Medicaid nationwide. (Iowa Public Radio)

Second COVID-19 wave could turn cracks in the hospital system into ‘earthquakes’

A second surge of the coronavirus in the fall and winter could be catastrophic for the US. It’s not just more sick people that doctors worry about. The pandemic hit US hospitals with a financial “triple whammy,” said Aaron Wesolowski, the American Hospital Association’s vice president for policy research, analytics and strategy. Costs increased dramatically, while revenues plummeted. Hospitals were forced to cover the exorbitant costs of buying extra personal protective equipment like N95 masks, as well as convert wards to treat COVID-19 patients and more uninsured patients. At the same time, they had to stop performing revenue-generating procedures like elective surgeries. (NBC News Dallas-Fort Worth)

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