Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|May 19, 2021

Iowa news

Why long-term care facilities are working to vaccinate more staff

CMS is expanding efforts to grow vaccine confidence by providing more education to those in nursing homes. The long-term care facilities also must report the vaccination status of residents and staff weekly. Long-term care facilities were among the first to get the vaccine, but some continue to be hesitant. Friendship Village in Waterloo has all residents vaccinated but only about 60% of their employees. Bickford Senior Living in Cedar Falls has gone 131 days free of new COVID-19 diagnoses, and 30 out of 33 residents are fully vaccinated. (KWWL)

COVID-19, ‘baby bust,’ demographic changes: Iowa may soon see fewer births than deaths

The coronavirus pandemic may have hastened Iowa’s shift toward an unwanted milestone — fewer births than deaths each year. The state, and much of the nation, have been going through a “baby bust” for more than a decade, and the decline accelerated during 2020 and the first two months of 2021. Meanwhile, Iowa deaths spiked 16% last year, to 35,651, as a wave of COVID-19 infections accelerated a yearslong increase in deaths. The death total nearly equaled the 36,057 children born last year to Iowa parents. (Des Moines Register)

Massive tax proposal, with changes to mental health funding, passes House and Senate

Iowa lawmakers sent a sweeping tax proposal to Gov. Kim Reynolds that will accelerate income tax cuts, eliminate the inheritance tax and fund the state’s mental health and disability services system through state appropriations rather than county property taxes. Shifting the system over the course of two years will eliminate $116.8 million in property taxes statewide. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)


National news

Can the COVID-19 vaccine protect against virus variants?

The news about coronavirus variants can sound like a horror movie, with references to a “double-mutant” virus, “vaccine-evading” variants and even an “Eek” mutation. One headline warned ominously: “The devil is already here.” Although it’s true the virus variants are a significant public health concern, the unrelenting focus on each new variant has created undue alarm and a false impression that vaccines don’t protect us against the various variants that continue to emerge. (The New York Times)

The impending challenges of telehealth systems in 2021 and the coming years

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of the remote patient encounter was a matter of a business decision. Major insurance companies, including those of the government-run programs, were very stringent about appropriating telehealth reimbursement. Before the pandemic, regulations were more rigid, and the medical community very stagnant in accommodating a remote patient visit to their practices unless there would be a clear financial incentive. (Medium)

600,000 children, ages 12-15, have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose

At least 600,000 children, ages 12 to 15, have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a media briefing. The count comes just over a week after the Food and Drug Administration greenlighted it for emergency use in this age group, a total of 17 million in the U.S., though many major pharmacies and hospitals did not start administering the shots until last Thursday, after the CDC also signed off on it. (NBC News)

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