Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|March 3, 2021

Iowa news

COVID-19 cases in nursing homes drop 89% as residents get vaccinated

New federal data offers a glimmer of hope in what has been the darkest and deadliest corner of the pandemic. The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths at America’s nursing homes has dropped significantly since December as millions of vaccine doses have been shot into the arms of residents and staff. The weekly rate of COVID-19 cases at nursing homes plummeted 89% from early December through the second week of February. By comparison, the nationwide case rate dropped 58% and remains higher than figures reported before late October. (Des Moines Register)

New University of Iowa psychiatric unit aims to better serve those with mental health needs alongside other area resources

A newly-remodeled psychiatric unit at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics will also offer improved care for eastern Iowans, in tandem with other nearby resources. Leaders have planned the unit in the Roy Carver Pavilion at the hospital for years. The opening is timely, as a year into the pandemic reveals more of a need for mental health resources. (KCRG)

University of Iowa advancing in Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trial

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is participating in another clinical trial to combat the spread of COVID-19 using vaccines, this time with Novavax. The Phase 3 Trial of a COVID-19 vaccine created by Novavax started in December. According to the National Institute of Health, the trial is planning to enroll 30,000 participants at 115 sites in the US and Mexico. UIHC was a trial site for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last year and recruited 250 participants for the double-blind study that vaccinated half of the participants. (The Daily Iowan)


National news

A national system to prioritize COVID-19 vaccines has largely failed as states rely on their own systems

Operation Warp Speed thought it had a futuristic solution to help ration COVID-19 vaccines so those most at risk would get doses first. It spent $16 million on Tiberius, a high-tech system meant to not only track the shipments of the vaccines but also guide local decisions of where to send them. Tiberius, which took Star Trek Capt. James T. Kirk’s middle name, would allow “granular planning” all the way down to the doctor’s office, provide “a ZIP code-by-ZIP code view of priority populations,” and “ease the burden” on public health officials, the federal government said. But the system hasn’t lived up to that promise. (Des Moines Register)

House health leader calls for permanent Medicare telehealth expansions

House health subcommittee chair Rep. Anna Eshoo said Tuesday it’s time to make telehealth flexibilities enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic permanent to help close gaps in care. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services waived many telehealth payment policies during the public health emergency, which helped open up access to virtual care. It drove 10.6 million Medicare beneficiaries to use telehealth visits by the end of July, Eshoo said during a Committee on Energy and Commerce health subcommittee hearing. (FierceHealthcare)

Rural Americans in pharmacy deserts hurting for COVID-19 vaccines

As the Biden administration accelerates a plan to use pharmacies to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, significant areas of the country lack brick-and-mortar pharmacies capable of administering the protective shots. A recent analysis by the Rural Policy Research Institute found that 111 rural counties, mostly between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, have no pharmacy that can give the vaccines. That could leave thousands of vulnerable Americans struggling to find vaccines, which in turn threatens to prolong the pandemic in many hard-hit rural regions. (Kaiser Health News)


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

Click here