892 hospitals at risk of closure nationwide; 40 Iowa hospitals included
More than 500 rural hospitals in the U.S. are at immediate risk of closing because of financial losses and lack of financial reserves to sustain operations, according to a report from the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform. Nearly every state has at least one rural hospital at immediate risk of shutting down. In 21 states, 25% or more of rural hospitals were at immediate risk, according to the report. The hospitals identified as being at immediate risk of closure had either low or nonexistent financial reserves and a cumulative negative total margin over the most recent three-year period. Across the U.S., 892 hospitals are either at immediate or high risk of closure. (Becker’s Hospital Review)
Physician responds to lower COVID-19 cases in Iowa
It has been a difficult two years for health care workers, but lower COVID-19 numbers are allowing them to breathe a sigh of relief. COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to drop, reaching their lowest point in six months. The Health and Human Services Department reports 205 patients in Iowa hospitals, down about 40% since last week. MercyOne Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Ravi Vemuri says it’s been a gratifying drop, but he’s hesitant to claim victory. (KCCI)
Vulnerable Iowans grapple with continued COVID-19 risk as society drops pandemic safeguards
As case counts drop and health systems no longer face the dire threat of being overwhelmed, things have begun to relax. Barring any development of coronavirus variants, some see may see this as the sign that the pandemic may be becoming endemic. But vulnerable groups have not left the pandemic behind just yet. As Iowa approaches the second anniversary of COVID-19, the milestone marks a new phase in the pandemic. A year ago, there were fewer treatment options for coronavirus-infected patients and vaccines weren’t available. Recent changes in federal and state public health recommendations signal a “normal” life returning for many, prompting them to drop pandemic safeguards such as wearing masks and physical distancing. (The Gazette)
90% of nurses are considering leaving the profession before 2022 ends
The long-projected nursing shortage is now upon us. To gain a better understanding of the impact it’s having on frontline nurses, Hospital IQ recently surveyed more than 200 registered nurses working in hospitals. Although not completely surprising, the survey results are alarming. Nursing leaders have seen how the mental health of their staff — and their own personal well-being — have been affected by the increased exposure to patient suffering, isolation and death. For many front-line nurses, there is a feeling of hopelessness and a loss of a sense of purpose compounding the impact of the nursing shortages. (Becker’s Hospital Review)
Even a mild case of COVID-19 can cause brain changes. It’s too soon to know if the damage lasts.
A new study provides the most conclusive evidence yet that COVID-19 can damage the brain, even in people who weren’t severely ill. The study, published in Nature, used before-and-after brain images of 785 British people, ages 51 to 81, to look for any changes. About half the participants contracted COVID-19 between the scans – mostly when the alpha variant was circulating – which left many people at least temporarily without a sense of smell. Analysis of the “before” and “after” images from the UK Biobank showed that people infected with COVID-19 had a greater reduction in their brain volumes and performed worse on cognitive tests than those who had not been infected. (USA Today)
Excess health care spending up for primary-care physician turnover in the U.S.
Turnover of primary-care physicians is costly, resulting in about $979 million in excess health care expenditures per year, and a considerable proportion of this spending is attributable to burnout-related turnover, according to a study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Christine Sinsky, M.D., from the American Medical Association in Chicago, and colleagues estimated excess health care expenditures attributable to overall and burnout-specific turnover. To estimate excess expenditures attributable to turnover because of burnout, data relating to burnout and intention to leave one’s practice within two years were obtained from a cross-sectional survey of U.S. physicians. (Valley News Today)