Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|May 18, 2021

Iowa news

Iowa Senate passes bill cutting taxes, shifting mental health care funding to the state

Iowa lawmakers have reached a deal on a sweeping plan to move funding for mental health services from county property taxes to the state while cutting income taxes, ending Iowa’s inheritance tax and boosting a range of tax credits for affordable housing and child care. The Iowa Senate passed the bill Monday on a vote of 29-15 with every Republican and Sens. Kevin Kinney, D-Oxford, and Tony Bisignano, D-Des Moines, voting yes and every other Democrat voting no. The measure now goes to the House, which is expected to pass it and send it to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk. (The Des Moines Register)

The other side of virtual care

A digitally enabled health care system should be good news all around. Providers can see more patients, patients can avoid unnecessary in-person visits and physical facilities can be downsized. Telehealth companies are ramping up their lobbying efforts to push for payment parity and protect their COVID-19-era gains. As long as there is payment parity between in-person and virtual visits, health care providers shouldn’t care. So it would seem like a win-win. Except it isn’t. (Damo Consulting)

Here’s how Cedar Valley hospitals rate, according to the federal government

Some hospitals in northeast Iowa fared better than others when it comes to the annual quality ratings released by the federal government. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the star ratings late last month, taking into account mortality, safety of care, readmission, patient experience and timely/effective care into their measurement. MercyOne Cedar Falls Medical Center was the only acute care hospital in the Cedar Valley to receive a five-star rating, the top rating a hospital could receive. It was one of 12 in Iowa receiving the highest rating. (Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier)


National news

U.S. to ship 20 million additional COVID-19 vaccine doses overseas

President Biden has announced his intention to ship surplus doses of the coronavirus vaccine to needy nations abroad, including millions of doses of the U.S.-authorized Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. Most of the planned shipments will be of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which does not yet have authorization for use in the U.S. The president plans to have 80 million doses of the vaccine distributed overseas by the end of June, by which point Biden says the U.S. will have produced enough doses of the vaccine to cover its citizens. (Iowa Public Radio)

Survey details extent of deferred medical treatment by Americans during pandemic

From the beginning of the pandemic, health experts were concerned that millions of Americans would defer treatment of existing illnesses — including cancer — and postpone routine preventive screenings given the justifiable fear of contracting COVID-19. Now, more than a year after COVID-19 forced the country to a complete halt, a clearer picture is starting to emerge surrounding Americans’ approach to care during this time: Health care was put on the back burner for a variety of reasons. (Business Journal)

COVID-19 vaccine trials underway for kids 5 and younger

Phase 1 of a clinical trial for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is underway for kids 5 and younger. Although there is some general hesitancy, many families are willing to participate in Phase 2, which will enroll thousands more children into the trials. Pfizer is planning to apply to the Food and Drug Administration in September for emergency authorization of the vaccine for children 2 to 11. (Iowa Public Radio)

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