Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|June 1, 2021

Iowa news

Opinion: To mask or not to mask? The answer isn’t simple right now.

You’re fully vaccinated. The CDC says you don’t need to wear a mask during routine outings. So you head to the grocery store with a bare face for the first time in more than a year. This is one of those moments you’ve been looking forward to. But the employees are wearing masks. Most of the customers are, too. And, boy, do you feel awkward. You don’t want fellow customers to think you’re an anti-masker. You don’t have a sign around your neck that says you were injected with a second dose of Pfizer weeks ago. You don’t want to make others uncomfortable. You fear now being on the receiving end of dirty looks. (Des Moines Register)

Workplaces have important role to play in employee mental health

Following a year of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects, discussions about mental health are happening more frequently around kitchen tables, board rooms and in circles of friends. That’s because perhaps more of us than ever are experiencing symptoms of mental illness ourselves: In January 2021, about four in 10 adults in the US reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, according to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. That’s up from one in 10 before the pandemic began. COVID-19 has thrust mental health into the spotlight, and Iowa employers are in a position to continue the conversation. Data from Businessolver’s 2021 “State of Workplace Empathy” argues that employees today have larger expectations around mental health in the workplace, especially post-pandemic. (Telegraph Herald)

Bumpy road ahead in shift on mental health care funding

With little input and limited notice, parents, advocates, providers and local government officials are beginning to piece together a revamped mental-health service delivery system that will be financed by state dollars rather than property tax levies. In the closing days of the overtime 2021 legislative session, Gov. Kim Reynolds and most GOP lawmakers passed a major tax-policy package that included a provision to shift funding of Iowa’s regionally based mental-health system from county property tax levies to the state’s general fund over a two-year transition. (The Daily Nonpareil)

National news

Scripps’ EHR back online nearly four weeks after ransomware attack

Scripps Health’s Epic EHR system and online patient portal were restored May 27, nearly four weeks after a ransomware attack knocked the San Diego-based health system’s network offline. Scripps President and CEO Chris Van Gorder penned a letter to patients May 24 updating them on the situation, but wrote that Scripps is limited in the amount of information it can share with patients because it could put the system “at an increased risk of coming under further attack, and of not being able to restore [its] systems safely and as quickly as possible.” In the update, Mr. Van Gorder confirmed that the May 1 cyberattack involved ransomware, and he told patients that Scripps would have its EHR back online this week. The health system restored its website May 20. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Employers can (mostly) require vaccines for workers returning to the office

With more than half of adult Americans now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, many employers have started laying the groundwork to get back to the office. Returning to a post-pandemic workplace can be daunting — even more so as employers attempt to navigate safety and consider the sometimes-thorny issue of vaccine mandates. A large number of Americans still say they are hesitant to get a COVID-19 vaccine, leaving employers to decide about how to handle employee health and safety. (Iowa Public Radio)

Hopeful Futures Campaign calls on American schools to have comprehensive student mental health plans

Millions of school-age children spent the past academic year trying to learn at home as the COVID-19 pandemic raged around them. For many, it wasn’t easy, and when they return to buildings in the fall, they are going to need extra support, experts say. That’s why an alliance of 11 nonprofits have banded together, calling for schools to be ready. The Hopeful Futures Campaign aims to ensure every US school has a comprehensive mental health plan in place for students when they return. (USA Today)

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