Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|June 8, 2021

Iowa news

Yearlong project aims to improve Iowa’s COVID-19 vaccination rates ‘one step at a time’

University of Iowa researchers and public health groups have received a $500,000 federal grant to find ways to improve the COVID-19 vaccination rates in Iowa’s smallest communities. The yearlong project will focus on 17 communities, with researchers working with community residents in creating strategies that overcome barriers and encourage residents to seek the vaccine. (The Gazette)

‘Our stories are shared stories:’ Project to archive Latino COVID-19 history

A statewide project, ‘Voces of a Pandemic,’ has launched in an effort to record and archive Latino experiences in Iowa as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. The project initially started at the University of Texas at Austin at its Voces Oral History Center, led by professor Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez. It was Rivas-Rodriguez’s idea that inspired Iowa State University professor Lucía Suárez to start an Iowa version of the project. She learned about it at the Latinx Studies Association conference in Washington DC. (Iowa Public Radio)

Wellmark announces plans to offer Medicare health coverage

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced it is seeking federal approval to offer Medicare Advantage plans beginning in 2022. If approved by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the state’s largest insurance carrier would offer plans under a new affiliate — Wellmark Advantage Health Plan — to Iowans and South Dakotans during this fall’s annual enrollment period. Officials did not specify when they anticipate federal approval could arrive. This year’s annual election period takes place Oct. 7 through Dec. 7 for coverage that begins Jan. 1, 2022. (The Gazette)


National news

UnitedHealthcare may not cover ER care it deems nonemergent

UnitedHealthcare will begin denying some emergency department claims for its commercial members if an internal evaluation finds the services were nonemergent. The policy, which takes effect July 1 in most states, is similar to Anthem’s policy, under which the insurer reviews diagnoses after members’ emergency room visits. If the condition is determined to be nonemergent, UnitedHealthcare may not fully cover the ER visit. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

US sending 1 million coronavirus vaccines to Mexico border cities, resort spots

One million Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are heading to Mexico from the US, with most of the shots set to service resort areas and spots along the border in an effort to boost the country’s economy. The batch of vaccines are part of the 25 million excess doses the White House announced would be shipped to other countries. Much of the vaccine distribution will be through COVAX, an international system aimed at helping vaccinate people in the world’s poorest countries. (Iowa Public Radio)

The CDC’s No. 2 official says the US isn’t ready for another pandemic

Dr. Anne Schuchat, who is retiring as the No. 2 official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this summer after 33 years at the agency, is warning that the US isn’t ready for another pandemic. She points to a lack of preparedness, but says there may be more political will to change that today than when the COVID-19 pandemic took over. Dr. Schuchat also says she supports further investigations into the origins of the pandemic, which President Biden has been pushing to review. (Iowa Public Radio)

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