Today’s NewStand

Today’s NewStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|January 21, 2022

Iowa news

MercyOne Richard Deming Cancer Center opens with focus on patient-centered cancer care

MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday to mark the opening of the MercyOne Richard Deming Cancer Center. The new center will be central Iowa’s first cancer care center where patients are seen within 48 hours to one week of their diagnosis, and will allow patients to meet with their cancer team at the same time and place. Expanded services will aim to help patients at all stages of treatment, starting with integrative medicine options like acupuncture, massage therapy, and music and art therapy. Support after a patient completes treatment is available through the center’s survivorship program. Those continuing their treatment as outpatients can also receive support services. (Business Journal)

State officials and health experts are concerned over rise in fentanyl-related overdose deaths

Iowa health experts and officials are concerned over the sharp increase in fentanyl-related overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths nationwide surpassed 100,000 last year, setting new records. The federal agency reported 434 Iowans were reported to have died from drug overdoses between June 2020 and June 2021, an increase of 4% from the previous year. (Iowa Public Radio)

How two Iowa respiratory therapists weather the crush of COVID-19

Mira Blum, a respiratory therapist at Iowa Methodist Medical Center’s critical care unit, cries during a recent shift as she recounts the past two years. The initial overwhelming fear. The ongoing trauma. The thought of her two young children at home, too young for a vaccine. Tears well up in her eyes, and her voice cracks behind a pink surgical mask as colleagues hustle through their rounds around her. Sealed, darkened rooms line the floor, either full of or available for Iowa’s sickest, most vulnerable patients. (Des Moines Register)

National news

Some states are still pushing outdated COVID-19 treatments

As the omicron variant completes its sweep across the U.S., states with scarce supplies of monoclonal antibody therapies continue to use two treatments that federal health officials warn no longer work against the highly contagious version of the virus that causes COVID-19. The antibody treatment now most recommended is sotrovimab from GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology, and it’s in short supply. (NBC News)

Why don’t hospitals just pay full-time nurses more?

Hospitals’ reliance on travel workers is nothing new. The pandemic intensified it and highlighted the gap between full-time workers’ pay and lucrative temporary contracts. Although the average salary for a travel nurse can vary based on location, regional demand, hospital type and specialty, the compensation for a travel nurse has increased significantly compared to pre-pandemic. Meanwhile, hospitals and health systems have offered bonuses, increased wages and made other investments in employee retention for their staff workers. Still, the compensation gap between hospital employed nurses and travel or agency nurses remains stark. The gap poses the seemingly simple question: Why aren’t hospitals paying full-time staff more instead of paying higher prices for travel workers? (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Is omicron really less severe? ICUs more slammed than ever, doctors say

Intensive care units nationwide were already overwhelmed with chronically ill patients — many sick with COVID-19 and related illnesses — when omicron hit. Though the highly contagious variant has proven to spare most people the most severe forms of illness, the sheer number of those infected has led to a greater number of people sickened severely enough to need ICU treatment. (NBC News)

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