Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|March 8, 2021

Iowa news

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opens to Iowans with chronic health conditions, but counties say demand still outstrips supply

Roughly half of Iowa adults could become eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations this week, now that the state has decided to make the shots available to people with certain health conditions. But health officials in several Iowa counties, who were surprised by the state’s announcement, said they don’t expect to have enough vaccine to handle the influx right away. (Des Moines Register)

Local EMS staff pushing for House bill to make service “essential”

In Iowa, if a person needs police or fire protection, those agencies are required to respond. But that’s not the case if you need an ambulance. That’s because emergency medical services or EMS are not considered essential, and Tripoli’s EMS Director says because of that, the industry in is a state of crisis. “In Tripoli, we do about 175 calls a year,” said Tripoli EMS Director, Kip Ladage. That’s a substantial number for the department of at most 6 people responding to calls. (KCRG)

‘Iowa’s COVID Year’ series examines the pandemic’s ongoing impact and how it has transformed our lives

In a rare Sunday evening news conference on March 8, 2020, at the Iowa Capitol, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that three Iowans had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The three Johnson County residents, one between 41 and 60 years old, the two others between 61 and 80, had been on a cruise that traveled through Egypt. (Des Moines Register)

National news

Open spaces, no pharmacies: rural US confronts vaccine void

As the nation’s campaign against the coronavirus moves from mass inoculation sites to drugstores and doctors’ offices, getting vaccinated remains a challenge for residents of “pharmacy deserts,” communities without pharmacies or well-equipped health clinics. To improve access, the federal government has partnered with 21 companies that run freestanding pharmacies or pharmacy services inside grocery stores and other locations. More than 40,000 stores are expected to take part, and the Biden administration has said that nearly 90% of Americans live within five miles of one, from Hy-Vee and Walmart to Costco and Rite-Aid. (ABC News)

Senate narrowly passes COVID-19 package that includes ACA subsidy boost, rural hospital money

The Senate narrowly approved a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that includes new funding for rural hospitals but not as much as hospital groups have asked for. The Senate passed the package in a 50-49 vote on Saturday and the package is expected to go to the House for a vote early next week. If approved there, it would advance to President Biden, who is expected to sign it into law. The package includes several healthcare-related provisions including a temporary two-year boost to ACA subsidies. (FierceHealthcare)

Digital disparities: designing telemedicine systems with a health equity aim

The use of telemedicine has grown immensely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Telemedicine provides a means to deliver clinical care while limiting patient and provider exposure to the COVID-19. Telemedicine is finding applications in a variety of clinical environments including primary care and the acute-care setting, and the array of patient populations using telemedicine continues to grow. Yet, as telehealth becomes ubiquitous, it is critical to consider its potential to exacerbate disparities in care. Challenges accessing technology and digital literacy, for example, disproportionately affect the elderly and those living in poverty. When implemented with the consideration of health disparities, telemedicine provides an opportunity to address these inequities. (DocWire News)

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