Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|February 3, 2021

Iowa news

In depth series: Rural emergency hospital designation

The Congressional Quarterly posted New Medicare hospital model throws lifeline to rural facilities. A provision tucked into the massive year-end spending law is offering a potential lifeline to rural hospitals on the brink of closure, but the facilities will need to weather the fallout from COVID-19 first. An increasing number of rural hospitals have closed in recent years, with 134 shuttering or converting to emergency departments since 2010. Seventeen rural facilities closed or converted in 2020 alone, according to the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. (

Notifications about COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for 65 and older varies by health care system

People 65 and older are being contacted to get the COVID-19 vaccine — but it could be through email, phone call, text or patient portals, depending on the health care system. MercyOne Northeast Iowa —which covers Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Oelwein facilities — is contacting patients through email, phone calls and other ways, said spokesperson Adam Amdor. He said the system recognizes “not everyone may have an email account” among the older population. (Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier)

Flu numbers down more than 90% thanks to record vaccinations, increased COVID-19 prevention measures

For almost a year, coronavirus has been the top story worldwide. For a while, there were concerns of a “twin-demic” when the flu season rolled around. But that hasn’t been the case. “Thankfully the fears have not come to pass and I’m really glad to say that,” remarked Dr. Toyosi Olutade, chief medical officer of Unity Point Health. “I mean, this time last year, we had over 300 flu cases already. This year it’s just been about 20, 22 so far.” (WQAD)

National news

US vaccinations outnumber COVID-19 cases; reinfection more likely if variants become dominant

More Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19 than have ever tested positive for the virus, according to vaccine data from Bloomberg and case data from Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University. As of Feb. 1, the US has recorded 26.3 million total COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, while 26.5 million Americans had received one or both vaccine doses. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Why telemedicine is much more than a digital doctor’s office

Most physicians and patients view telemedicine (also: telehealth or virtual care) as a convenient alternative to an in-person medical visit. Granted, convenience is a notable benefit — one that appealed to millions of first-time users in the early days the coronavirus pandemic, when no one wanted to sit in a waiting room alongside people potentially infected with COVID-19. But telemedicine has the potential to be so much more than a virtual exam room. (Forbes)

South Africa variant found in second state; WHO reverses vaccine guidelines for pregnant women

The US reported nearly 20,000 more COVID-19 deaths in January than December, the highest number of known virus deaths since the pandemic began, according to data by The COVID Tracking Project. On average, more Americans were hospitalized in January than any other month. But, as of Jan. 31, 95,013 Americans are hospitalized, the lowest number since Nov. 29, according to The COVID Tracking Project. (Becker’s Hospital Review)


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