Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|February 19, 2021

Iowa news

AARP implores Gov. Kim Reynolds to help Iowans find COVID vaccine appointments in ‘fragmented’ system

AARP called on Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds Thursday to quickly offer more help to seniors who are struggling to find scarce appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations. Hundreds of thousands of Iowa seniors and others who are eligible for shots have been scouring websites of county health departments and local pharmacies, seeking appointments for the precious COVID vaccine. (Des Moines Register)

Power Breakfast takeaways: What health care leaders see in the future

As health systems nationwide have been battling the pandemic for the past year, the fabric of Iowa’s health systems has been stretched to the limit, but has proved resilient because of the tremendous collaboration and talent of health care professionals and communities statewide. Resilience and nimbleness have been hallmarks of Iowa’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, health leaders said during the Business Record’s Power Breakfast Thursday, Feb. 18, which focused on the disruptions caused by the health emergency over the past year and what the new normal could look like for health care. (Business Record)

With fewer Iowans hospitalized for COVID-19, one hospital closes COVID-19 ward, others making adjustments

Iowa’s hospitals are caring for fewer COVID-19 patients, allowing at least one to close its COVID-19 wards. “Like other hospitals in Iowa, we have seen a reduction in the number of patients requiring the need for critical care,” MercyOne spokesman Gregg Lagan said in a statement Wednesday evening. “This has made it possible to provide care to critical COVID-19 patients in our existing ICU units.” UnityPoint Health doesn’t have specific COVID-19 units. But UnityPoint spokesperson Macinzie McFarland said the nature of the COVID-19 diagnosis means they try to keep those patients in the same units. (Des Moines Register)

National news

Telehealth used less in disadvantaged areas, Health Affairs study finds

A Health Affairs study found that telemedicine use during the COVID-19 pandemic was lower in communities with higher rates of poverty – suggesting that the industry must address the digital divide in order to ensure widespread access to virtual care. The study, which was conducted by researchers from Harvard and the RAND Corporation, examined the variation in total outpatient visits and telemedicine use among 16.7 million commercially insured and Medicare Advantage enrollees from January through June 2020. (Healthcare IT News)

Federal judge dismisses hospital groups’ lawsuit against HHS over 340B drug feud

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by several hospital groups seeking to get the Department of Health and Human Services to clamp down on drugmakers restricting access to products. The ruling says hospitals had to use a new dispute resolution process to settle the feud with the drugmakers, which the hospitals cannot sue individually under federal law for 340B violations. But the groups were happy that HHS did blast several drug companies’ moves to restrict access of 340B-discounted pharmaceuticals to contract pharmacies, which are third-party entities that dispense drugs on behalf of the 340B hospital or provider. (FierceHealthcare)

US life expectancy drops a year in pandemic, most since WWII

Life expectancy in the United States dropped a staggering one year during the first half of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic caused its first wave of deaths, health officials are reporting. Minorities suffered the biggest impact, with Black Americans losing nearly three years and Hispanics, nearly two years, according to preliminary estimates Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Associated Press)

Become a hospital advocate. Sign up for IHA Action Alerts.

Click here