Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|March 21, 2022

Iowa news

Some major workforce-related bills stall but may survive past funnel deadline

Several Republican priorities stalled ahead of a legislative deadline last week, but negotiations on the bills will continue with the help of legislative workarounds. Last Friday marked the end of the 10th week of the 2022 legislative session. It was the second “funnel” deadline to sideline policy bills that haven’t advanced far enough through the legislative process. In theory, a bill must make it all the way through floor debate in one chamber, and through committee in the other. A handful of priority bills, including proposals from Gov. Kim Reynolds on private school scholarships and unemployment, did not meet that benchmark. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)

MercyOne North Iowa surgeon completes more than 500 robotic surgeries

MercyOne North Iowa has reached a big milestone in its time with robotic surgeries. The Mason City medical center is celebrating 10 years of robotic surgery. Dr. Roberto Velez has completed more than 500 robotic surgeries in about nine and a half years at MercyOne. Instead of holding the instruments by hand, the robotic arms hold the instruments for the surgeon. Instead of just two arms, the robotic system has four. The surgeon sits at the machine and sees into the patient through a screen that displays 10 times the normal human vision in 3D. (KAAL)

As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year, health officials grapple with pandemic’s lingering questions

Amy Thoreson was the assistant director of the Scott County Health Department on March 12, 2020, when the COVID-19 virus arrived in the Quad-Cities. She and other public health officials met with school superintendents nationwide to discuss the possible courses of action. For many people across the Quad Cities, it was a time of unknowns and increasing anxiety. Twenty-four hours before the meeting in Scott County, the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa suspended in-person classes for two weeks. On March 13, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker closed all schools until at least the end of March. (Quad-City Times)


National news

Health care organizations now must report cyberattacks to DHS

Health care organizations will be required to report cyberattacks to the Department of Homeland Security. The new law, which is part of a broader government funding package, requires organizations in “critical sectors,” or sectors considered vital to the U.S. economy, public health and safety, to inform the government of any ransomware or hacks. These organizations must make the attacks known within 72 hours of discovery and 24 hours of ransom payment. But which specific companies within each sector are affected by this law is unknown yet. (Becker’s Health IT)

Moderna seeks FDA authorization for a 4th COVID vaccine shot for all adults

Moderna has requested emergency-use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for a fourth dose of its COVID-19 vaccine as a booster for people 18 and over — a broader request than Pfizer made days ago for its vaccine. Currently, a single booster dose of Moderna’s mRNA vaccine is authorized for emergency use on top of its two-dose vaccine. The biotech company’s request comes two days after Pfizer and its collaborator BioNTech requested federal permission to provide an additional booster dose of their COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty to people 65 and older. (USA Today)

The caveats of COVID-19 forecasting right now

U.S. health officials are closely monitoring COVID-19 activity in the U.K., where cases and hospitalizations are simultaneously rising because of omicron subvariant BA.2, though many experts say it’s too soon to accurately predict if or when a similar uptick in virus activity may hit the U.S. “We’d better be careful, because history has taught us that what’s gone on in the U.K. generally happens to us three or four weeks later,” Dr. Fauci said during a March 17 meeting among House Democrats. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

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