Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|February 17, 2021

Iowa news

Clive Behavioral Health set to open Feb. 22

To address the growing need for accessible, high-quality behavioral health care in Iowa, Clive Behavioral Health will offer a broad range of inpatient and outpatient. Their vision is to provide family-centered care that helps patients achieve brighter futures. The new Clive Behavioral Health West facility spans more than 83,000 square-feet, with a one-story area for clinical and support services and a three-story unit for inpatient and outpatient services. The facility will initially offer inpatient behavioral health services for adults. Clive Behavioral will continue to open units and add further services in a phased approach through 2021. Services for children and adolescents will begin in summer 2021. (

Nationwide nursing shortage adding up costs for Iowa hospitals amid pandemic

Although COVID-19 infection rates are dropping, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the need for nurses nationwide remains high. The demand for nurses is driving up costs for travel nurses, according to Mercy Cedar Rapids senior vice president and chief talent officer Nancy Hill-Davis. “Before the pandemic started, we thought those were our biggest challenges and, of course, when the pandemic hit, they were exacerbated,” Hill-Davis said. “Given the shortage throughout the country, we often had to rely on supplemental staff in the form of those traveling nurses that we used.” (KGAN)

COVID-19 hit Iowa hospitals’ income hard, new data show

Seventy-six of Iowa’s 82 critical access hospitals ended the last fiscal year with negative operating margins, an IowaWatch analysis of their most recently reported financial data shows. Only six critical access hospitals – facilities with 25 or fewer beds and designated by Congress as essential for rural communities – brought in more revenue from patient care than what they spend on providing that care, the data show. “If you were vulnerable before this, you’re more vulnerable now,” Kirk Norris, the Iowa Hospital Association’s president and CEO, said in an interview this week. (IowaWatch)


National news

A next-generation coronavirus vaccine is in the works, but initial funding was denied

Drew Weissman realized a year ago that even if the COVID-19 vaccines then in progress were eventually approved, it might not be enough. The world might need a next-generation vaccine to rid itself of this pandemic. Recent outbreaks of more resilient variants suggest he could be right. And yet, when Weissman – discoverer of the mRNA science behind two of the current vaccines – and a team of fellow scientists took a proposal for a more versatile coronavirus vaccine to the National Institutes of Health for funding last May, they left empty-handed. The group had proposed research on vaccines to protect against any variant of the virus, known as a universal or pan vaccine. (USA Today)

Is this the worst Medicare telehealth law of 2020?

The public health emergency introduced a myriad of changes to federal and state telemedicine and digital health laws and rules. There were expansions to telehealth coverage and reimbursement, suspension of enforcement on HIPAA security for digital health, expedited FDA review processes, DEA exemptions of controlled-substance prescribing rules, and state waivers of medical licensure requirements. Most of these changes, whether permanent or temporary, were telemedicine-friendly and promoted the use of digital health technology to deliver medical care. But one change, signed into law late December 2020, has raised confusion and eyebrows in the telemental health provider community. (The National Law Review)

COVID-19 likely to become ‘endemic,’ experts say

Even as cases continue to decline and more Americans receive their vaccines, the coronavirus isn’t likely to go away anytime soon, health officials say. The nation’s top infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci dismissed the idea that COVID-19 would be eradicated in the next several years at a webinar hosted by think tank Chatham House in November. (USA Today)

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