Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|December 15, 2021

Iowa news

UnityPoint explores selling three hospitals to Carle Health

UnityPoint Health is exploring a deal to sell three of its hospitals in central Illinois to Urbana, Illinois-based Carle Health. Under the nonbinding letter of intent, announced Dec. 13, Carle Health is looking to acquire UnityPoint Health-Methodist, UnityPoint Health-Proctor and UnityPoint Health-Pekin, all based in Peoria, Illinois. The agreement also would transfer ownership of Methodist College in Peoria from UnityPoint to Carle Health. The college offers baccalaureate and master’s nursing degree programs, social work programs and continuing education for medical assistants. (Modern Healthcare)

A year after the first COVID-19 shot, nearly 1.8M Iowans are fully vaccinated, but more work remains to end the pandemic

One year ago, 178 University of Iowa Health Care workers rolled up their sleeves for the state’s first batch of coronavirus vaccines, with the hope that each needle prick represented a step toward the pandemic’s end. Since then, nearly 1.8 million Iowans have been fully vaccinated against a virus that has upended the world. It hasn’t halted the pandemic — the more infectious variants have found too many unvaccinated people, leading to another surge this winter — but it represents a significant chunk of Iowans protected from the worst of COVID-19. (Des Moines Register)

Two communities share the experience of closing their birthing units and how they adapted

When the Fairfield Ledger, the town’s local newspaper, shared the news in July 2000 that families would no longer be able to deliver their children at Jefferson County Health Center, the community wasn’t aware that this closure would be just the start of a series of birthing unit shutdowns across the state in the next 20 years. Dr. Curtis Smith was the hospital’s emergency department manager at the time and is currently the chief operating officer. He said when hospital leaders announced to department managers their intention to close the obstetrical unit around late 1999, the birthing unit was battling the leading cause of closures: not enough births. There were only 50 births in the unit in 1999, the Ledger reported in the news story of the closure. (Fearless)

National news

Omicron is fastest spreading COVID-19 strain

The omicron variant is spreading faster than any other COVID-19 variant, the World Health Organization warned during a Dec. 14 news conference. Preliminary findings from researchers in South Africa, where omicron was first detected, suggest the variant spreads more than twice as fast as delta, currently the dominant strain in the U.S. Omicron has been detected in at least 77 countries. As of Dec. 15, the variant has been identified in at least 35 states. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Supreme Court allows vaccine mandate for New York health care workers

The Supreme Court Monday refused to block New York’s requirement that health care workers be vaccinated against the coronavirus even when they cite religious objections. As is often the court’s practice in rulings on emergency applications, its unsigned order included no reasoning. But Justice Neil M. Gorsuch filed a 14-page dissent saying that the majority had betrayed the court’s commitment to religious liberty. (New York Times)

Current COVID-19 boosters are enough to fight the omicron variant, Fauci says

Booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccines already in use are enough to combat the fast-spreading omicron variant, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, said Wednesday at a media briefing. That is, it is unlikely the shots will need to be reformulated to target omicron specifically. (NBC News)


Become a hospital advocate. Sign up for IHA Action Alerts.

Click here