Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|August 30, 2021

Iowa news

Des Moines hospitals reimpose visitor restrictions amid COVID surge

Des Moines hospitals have reimposed visitor limits as COVID-19 cases and other illnesses continue to spark a surge of patients. The Polk County Health Department announced all eight of the area’s hospitals would restrict most patients to having one visitor per day. Some exceptions will be made. For example, women in labor and delivery areas will be allowed to have one “support person,” such as a family member, plus a designated birthing coach or doula. Also, patients younger than 18 may have up to two visitors at a time. (Des Moines Register)

Iowa schools shore up mental health services with CARES Act funds

Principal Chris Myers sought to make mental health counseling available to students in the rural district of Graettinger-Terril for nearly four years. But each time he thought he might be close, money, or lack thereof, got in the way. Myers’ luck changed in July 2020, when Iowa received $50 million in federal funds through the CARES Act. Of that $50 million in CARES Act money, $30 million was allocated per capita, at $9.50 per Iowan. The funds went to Iowa’s 14 mental health and disability services regions. School leaders in the 330 public districts and dozens of private schools statewide are in the same boat as Myers’ — looking to help students with struggling mental health. (Des Moines Register)

COVID-19 vaccine mandate draws protesters at Des Moines’ MercyOne Medical Center

About 200 protesters picketed outside Des Moines’ MercyOne Medical Center last Friday, decrying the decision by MercyOne and the area’s seven other hospitals to require workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Protesters’ signs demanded that people be allowed to choose whether to accept the vaccine. “Stop medical tyranny,” one sign said. Others read, “Let me call my own shots,” “My body, my choice,” and “Honk for medical freedom.” (Des Moines Register)

National news

Staff shortages riskier than unvaccinated workers, hospital CEOs say

The CEOs of Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland-based University Hospitals and Johnson City, Tenn.-based Ballad Health said they are concerned that COVID-19 vaccine mandates may lead to an employee exodus that would affect patient care. Tomislav Mihaljevic, MD, CEO, and president of Cleveland Clinic, and Cliff Megerian, MD, CEO, University Hospitals, said they are considering a vaccine requirement for employees, but a potential loss of staff is a concern. The CEOs said they worried that some health care workers would rather quit or be fired than get inoculated. Dr. Mihaljevic said hospitals are already understaffed, and losing health care employees during a public health crisis would jeopardize the clinic’s ability to provide care. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Delta’s extra $200 insurance fee shows vaccine dilemma for employers

Delta Air Lines is the first large US employer to embrace an idea that has been widely discussed but is mired in legal uncertainty: Charging unvaccinated employees more for health insurance. Starting Monday, Nov. 1, Delta employees who have not received the vaccine will have to pay an additional $200 per month to remain on the company’s health plan. It is part of a series of requirements that unvaccinated workers will face in the months to come. Legally speaking, insurance surcharges are more complicated than simple employment mandates, which are widely considered legally sound. (The New York Times)

Mississippi now has at least 2,000 fewer nurses than it did at start of year

Mississippi is grappling with an exodus of nurses amid the overwhelming circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kim Hoover, PhD, RN and COO of the Mississippi Hospital Association, reported a decrease of 2,000 licensed registered nurses in the state in the first seven months of 2021. She said 80% of nursing leaders nationwide have reported an increase in nurse turnover because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rate of stress and burnout facing health care workers during the public health crisis is a contributing factor to the turnover. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

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