Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the web.
Iowa has broken the record for the highest number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients more than once this past week. The spike in new novel coronavirus cases in recent weeks has driven a record number of sick patients into hospitals statewide. Over the past week, Iowa continuously has reached new highs in the number people hospitalized with the virus, topping off at 545 total patients as of Saturday morning. Does that indicate the state’s hospitals are at risk for being overwhelmed? (The Gazette)
Iowa has among the nation’s highest coronavirus death and infection rates and residents should avoid gatherings in most counties to fight the virus, federal experts said this week. The virus infected and killed about twice as many people per capita in Iowa as the national average between Oct. 10 and Oct. 16, the White House Coronavirus Task Force reported. That included a 33% weekly increase in deaths. (KCCI)
Craig Clark, the owner of Clark’s Pharmacy in Cedar Rapids, said he’s seeing almost double the interest in flu shots this season, which he thinks is because of COVID-19. He said he’s had customers come in that have had to make several stops to find a flu shot, and he’s even gotten calls from other local offices asking for help stocking the vaccine. Clark said he’s expecting to run out of the regular vaccine soon, and that’s after getting an extra 400 doses from his supplier. He does have plenty of high-dose vaccines meant for people over 65 because he works with several nursing homes. But he said once he runs out of that it would be difficult to get more. (KCRG)
Sanford Health announced Monday plans to merge with Intermountain Health, a Salt Lake City-based health system and Utah’s largest private employer. The alliance shifts top leadership to Intermountain Health. Headquarters also will move to Utah while corporate offices will be in Sioux Falls. The merger creates a sprawling $15 billion health system whose service area spans the western United States and Upper Midwest. Besides health care, both entities operate a private health insurance business, and Sanford also owns the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society. (Argus Leader)
Surprise medical billing is a concern for more than 60% of respondents to a new National Association of Insurance Commissioners survey. The survey, conducted by the NAIC’s Center for Insurance Policy Research, found most US consumers are afraid they or a family member will receive a bill for health care services they did not expect. Out-of-network care can sometimes result in expensive charges that consumers don’t anticipate. (Business Record)
A mere 20% of US health systems said they’d continue offering telehealth if reimbursement rates reverted to pre-pandemic levels, while another 30% are unsure whether they’d keep offering virtual care in this case, according to a joint KLAS Research and Center for Connected Medicine survey of 117 health system execs. (Business Insider)