Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|February 7, 2022

Iowa news

MercyOne’s top Des Moines area leaders abruptly resign ‘to pursue other opportunities’

MercyOne Central Iowa’s top two leaders are stepping down, the hospital system confirmed Monday. Karl Keeler, who was president, and Phil Harrop, who was interim chief operating officer, “will be leaving the MercyOne system to pursue other opportunities,” according to a brief statement released by the nonprofit company. “We thank Karl and Phil for their contributions and wish them the best in their new endeavors.” Keeler was hired in 2017 to lead the Des Moines area portion of the MercyOne system, including its flagship medical center in downtown Des Moines. Harrop had been a MercyOne executive since 2018. Both men had previously worked in hospital administration for the St. Alphonsus system in Idaho. (Des Moines Register)

From the frontlines: An inside look at a Des Moines hospital as it handles the recent COVID-19 surge

Local 5 followed doctors and nurses on the frontlines in the emergency room and intensive care unit at UnityPoint Health-Iowa Methodist Medical Center as they battled the most recent COVID-19 surge. “If you are not critically ill, you can oftentimes expect wait times from three to 12 hours,” said Dr. Clint Hawthorne, the medical director for UnityPoint’s emergency departments. After that wait is over, he said many patients can expect to experience yet another delay. “You can wait 12 to 24 hours, sometimes you have 48 hours to get a bed in the hospital,” Hawthorne said. “We don’t have beds. We have staffing challenges.” (

MercyOne oncologist sees potential in Biden’s ‘moonshot’ cancer initiative

President Joe Biden is reinvigorating the “moonshot” cancer initiative first implemented when he was vice president under the Obama administration. “The goal was to cut the cancer death rate in half in the next 25 years, at least by 50%,” Biden said. “And to turn more cancer death sentences into chronic diseases that people can live with to create a more supportive experience for patients and their families.” Dr. Richard Deming, Medical Director, MercyOne Richard Deming Cancer Center, said focusing on cancer research is critical. “This year alone in the United States, 1.9 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer,” Deming said. “And this year alone in the United States, 600,000 Americans will die of cancer.” (WQAD-TV)

COVID-19 strains emergency departments, prompting ambulance diversions

Because of the most recent spike in COVID-19 cases that have strained area hospitals, some patients were experiencing longer wait times at emergency departments. The pressure on its facilities prompted hospital officials to enact mitigation measures to preserve capacity for emergencies. Those included, in some cases, boarding patients within the emergency department, turning away patient transfers and diverting ambulances to other hospitals. The spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant has caused record new cases across the state, driving total COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide to surpass 1,000 total patients this month. (The Gazette)

National news

What makes a hospital a ‘best place to work’? Three hospital leaders weigh in

Amid the pandemic and nationwide staffing shortages, workplace culture and strong leadership have never been more important for hospitals when it comes to recruiting and retaining employees. Four hospitals and health systems recently made Glassdoor’s list of “Best Places to Work”: Houston Methodist; Memphis, Tenn.-based St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; Cincinnati Children’s Hospital; and Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic. Glassdoor’s rankings are based on the input of employees, who voluntarily complete a review of their job, work environment and employer over the past year. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

CDC data through December show boosters offer fewer gains for those under 65

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published new data about the risks of hospitalization and of death from COVID-19 among people who are unvaccinated and vaccinated, with or without booster doses. The figures confirm that booster doses are most beneficial to older adults. But the numbers for younger Americans are less compelling. In these age groups, vaccination itself decreases the risk of hospitalization and death so sharply that a booster shot did not seem to add much benefit. (The New York Times)

How to navigate COVID-19 vaccine misinformation with fellow parents

Kids as young as 5 have been able to get a COVID-19 vaccine since November. But parents are finding themselves wading through a confusing landscape of COVID-19 misinformation. And some are wondering how to responsibly have conversations about the vaccines with those around them. Online parenting groups and “mom blogs,” in particular, have become a “common vector for anti-vaccine content and vaccine hesitancy content since before the pandemic,” said Kate Starbird, associate professor in the department of human-centered design and engineering and co-founder of the Center for an Informed Public at the University of Washington. (NBC News)

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

Click here