Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

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|October 29, 2021

Iowa news

Iowa COVID-19 cases rise slightly as pediatric vaccine rollout nears

Iowa’s COVID-19 cases rose this week, with the average number of daily cases once again teetering around 1,000. On Wednesday, Iowa recorded an average of 999 new cases per day over the last seven days, according to the New York Times. The daily average dipped below 1,000 for the first time in nearly two months last week, with an average of 965 new cases per day. Still, cases have dropped from a mid-September surge. At its peak, Iowa was recording nearly 2,000 cases per day. SW Iowa News

MercyOne North Iowa inpatient hospice care unit to temporarily pause accepting new patients

Changes in staffing are impacting a North Iowa hospice care facility. In a statement to KIMT, MercyOne North Iowa President Rod Schlader said MercyOne’s in-patient hospice unit has temporarily paused accepting new patients. Home care will still be provided when appropriate. The decision comes as MercyOne North Iowa is trying to balance the increase of patient volumes, and the inability to transfer patients to long-term care facilities. The move allows MercyOne to transition hospital nurses and caregiving team members to other units within the hospital to ensure they continue to meet the needs of COVID-19 patients. KIMT

Iowa City VA Health System has 91% staff vaccination rate

Though the final deadline for all Veterans Affairs staff to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus still is weeks away, no employee at the VA Health Care System in Iowa City has left their role as a result of the federal directive, local officials say. Approximately 91% of all staff at the Iowa City-based VA health system are fully vaccinated as of this week, with the potential for the total to increase by next month. The Gazette

National news

The rise of hospital at home

Hospital at Home, a trademarked name of Johns Hopkins Medicine, has been in practice in that health system’s hospitals since at least 2002. The concept is not new, but, like telehealth, at-home hospital-level services became a necessity for all health systems when acute-care beds filled during the first surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare Finance News

Medicare punishes 2,499 hospitals for high readmissions

The federal government’s effort to penalize hospitals for excessive patient readmissions is ending its first decade with Medicare cutting payments to nearly half the nation’s hospitals. In its 10th annual round of penalties, Medicare is reducing its payments to 2,499 hospitals, or 47% of all facilities. The average penalty is a 0.64% reduction in payment for each Medicare patient stay from the start of this month through September 2022. KHN

Washington health system invests $53.5M in employee retention, retainment

MultiCare Health System is offering a 2.5 percent wage increase for all non-union employees, including those who are salaried and paid hourly, part of a $53.5 million investment to reward and retain employees amid historic patient volumes and workforce shortages. Becker’s Hospital Review

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