Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|February 16, 2022

Iowa news

Richard O. Jacobson Foundation gives $70 million to expand health care for Iowans

The Richard O. Jacobson Foundation has committed a transformational $70 million gift to the University of Iowa to support a new patient care building for University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The gift, the largest in the 175-year history of the university, will help UI Health Care expand service to Iowans by increasing patient capacity while modernizing its care facilities. The new building will help UI Health Care meet the complex care needs of all Iowans, allowing them to receive high-quality care without leaving the state. (

Entering year three of COVID-19, two Central Iowa physicians reflect on what’s changed, and what remains the same

One year ago, vaccinations against COVID-19 were just becoming widely available. Health care workers were optimistic that the public would largely accept the vaccine and the light at the end of the tunnel was nearing. Close to 500,000 Americans had died from COVID-19 – 5,000 of them Iowans. Now, the national death toll is more than 900,000, and the death toll in Iowa is more than 8,600. Just over 60% of Iowans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and the omicron variant led to an increase in hospitalization numbers not seen since the latter half of 2020. Staffing shortages spurred by positive COVID-19 tests and an increase in health care workers quitting have pushed hospitals nationwide to near-breaking points. (Fearless)

UnityPoint mental health program helps health care workers

A nationwide survey shows some health care workers are struggling with their mental health. So, while Iowa is shifting to a new pandemic response, they’re still dealing with the pandemic’s direct effects. The survey, conducted by IntelyCare Research Group, found that while 72% of nurses have access to some type of mental health care, only 10% use it. The survey also found that 56% of responding nurses are sacrificing their mental health for their job, and 41% said they have considered a career change. More than a quarter, 29%, say they didn’t take a vacation in 2021. (KCCI)

National news

Sharp drop in patient safety, infection control amid pandemic

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, metrics tracking health care-associated infections and other complications of care indicate significant deterioration of multiple patient safety measures, according to an analysis published Feb. 12 by The New England Journal of Medicine. The health care industry has struggled to understand exactly how patient safety and care quality have been affected amid the pandemic, with national data often lagging by several quarters to a year. The first hint came in September 2021, when the CDC published a report that found health care-associated infections increased significantly in 2020 after years of steady decline. Now, multiple studies cited by The New England Journal of Medicine offer a clearer picture of the pandemic’s impact on patient safety and infection control — and it’s not pretty. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

AMA survey: 34% of physicians say prior authorizations harmed patients

Excessive insurer-imposed approval processes can actually increase health costs for employers, according to the American Medical Association. The association has released data from a new survey that details the adverse impacts that prior-authorization requirements can have. According to the AMA survey, 51% of physicians who care for patients in the workforce reported that prior authorization had interfered with a patient’s job responsibilities. Additionally, 34% of physicians reported that prior authorization led to a serious adverse event, such as hospitalization, disability or even death, for a patient in their care. On the clinical side, 88% of physicians surveyed describe the burden associated with prior authorization as high or extremely high. On average, practices complete 41 prior authorization requests per physician per week, according to the survey, with 13 hours spent each week completing authorizations. (Physicians Practice)

Babies get COVID-19 protection from mothers vaccinated during pregnancy, CDC says

Expectant mothers who get a COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant pass immune protection on to their newborns, findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed. The chances a baby 6 months old or younger is hospitalized because of COVID-19 are 61% lower if the mother received two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine while pregnant, the CDC said. Researchers studied newborns at 20 pediatric hospitals across 17 states from July 1, 2021, through Jan. 17. The results showed that 84% of the babies hospitalized with COVID-19 had been born to unvaccinated mothers. The study included 43 infants admitted to an ICU with COVID-19, and found that 88% of them had mothers who did not get vaccinated before giving birth. (NBC News)

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