Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|February 28, 2022

Iowa news

Iowa to net $174 million over 18 years from settlement with opioid pill distributors

Iowa expects to net $174 million over 18 years from a national legal settlement with distributors of addictive painkilling pills. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced the details after a final $26 billion settlement was reached in a national case against four drug distribution companies, Cardinal, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Johnson and Johnson. (Des Moines Register)

Hospitals offer incentives, but nursing shortage remains a problem

As patients fill beds in the midst of the pandemic and the baby boomer generation gets older, the demand for nurses and other health care professionals is only expected to increase. But in the Cedar Valley, and in Iowa and the rest of the country, a nursing shortage is being felt intensely by health care providers. High turnover rates at the start of the pandemic were certainly a contributor, but there are also issues with lower pay averages and a slower growth in the number of high school graduates entering nursing programs. It’s something that Chief Nursing Officer Sarah Brown and her colleagues UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital have seen coming for some time. The numbers, she said, already were unfavorable as a generation got older, but the outbreak of COVID-19 has only served to heap on to their burden. (The Courier)

‘The cavalry is not coming’: Iowa nurse creates virtual mental health service with focus on rural schools

Tricia McGregor remembers the 40-minute drive from her home in Albert City, Iowa, to the neighboring town of Spencer. It was the closest available option where her children could get mental health appointments. (Des Moines Register)

National news

CDC debuts new mask guidelines

The CDC eased indoor mask guidance Feb. 25, now relying on how COVID-19 is affecting a community’s health care system — rather than transmission rates alone — as a guide for mask recommendations. Under the new framework, an area falls in one of three COVID-19 community levels, with recommended prevention measures varying by level. A community’s COVID-19 level is determined by a combination of three pieces of information: new hospitalizations for COVID-19, hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients or hospital capacity and new COVID-19 cases. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Labor costs push Trinity Health’s operating income down 58%

Higher labor costs put pressure on Trinity Health’s margins in the first six months of fiscal year 2022, according to financial documents released Feb. 25. Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health posted revenue of $10.22 billion in the six months ended Dec. 31. That’s down less than 1% from $10.28 billion in the same period of fiscal year 2021. Excluding provider relief fund grants, the system’s revenue was up 3.5 percent year over year. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Hospitals plan to continue mask wearing, regardless of updated CDC guidance

Health systems are looking forward to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new focus on hospital beds and admissions to determine a community’s COVID-19 risk level, though they are concerned about pulling back safety precautions amid an ongoing pandemic. The CDC said Friday that hospital capacity and pandemic-related hospitalizations will be factored into local mask guidelines, as part of the Biden administration’s long-term pandemic strategy. Under the new guidance, around 70% of the U.S. population is categorized as residents of low- or medium-risk areas and can go indoors without masks. The CDC still recommends individuals use masks in communities where serious COVID-19 cases are constricting the local health system. (Modern Healthcare)

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