Shenandoah Medical Center CEO pleased with population health improvement
Shenandoah Medical Center officials revealed the results of their 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment. The study and survey are conducted every three years to gauge progress in addressing the area’s health needs cited in previous assessments. SMC CEO Matt Sells says nearly 300 community members participated in the evaluation, and some common themes similar to the needs in the 2019 survey came through. Sells says the hospital is working with stakeholders to put together implementation processes. (KMA Land)
Syphilis, other STIs increasing in Iowa
Preliminary data from the Iowa Department of Public Health shows an increase in the number of sexually transmitted infections in Iowa last year, with the most prominent increases seen in syphilis, which has spiked 55 percent in 2021 compared to the year before. Most alarmingly, public health officials say there were 11 cases of congenital syphilis in Iowa this past year — more than the past 20 years combined. (The Cedar Rapids Gazette)
The growing crisis with Black maternal health
In 2020, the maternal mortality rate for non-Hispanic Black women was 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births — that’s 3 times the rate for white women and the disparity is worse in Iowa. Black mothers in Iowa are six times more likely to die than white mothers. On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe and her guests explore what some of the reasons for that statistic and the work being done to change that reality. (Iowa Public Radio)
Pandemic’s end could surge the number of uninsured kids
The formal end of the pandemic could swell the ranks of uninsured children by 6 million or more as temporary reforms to Medicaid are lifted.
Why it matters: Gaps in coverage could limit access to needed care and widen health disparities, by hitting lower-income families and children of color the hardest, experts say.
The big picture: A requirement that states keep Medicaid beneficiaries enrolled during the public health emergency in order to get more federal funding is credited with preventing a spike in uninsured adults and kids during the crisis. (Axios)
The case for testing Pfizer’s Paxlovid for treating long COVID-19
Reports of two patients who found relief from long COVID-19 after taking Pfizer’s antiviral Paxlovid, including a researcher who tested it on herself, provide intriguing evidence for clinical trials to help those suffering from the debilitating condition, experts and advocates say. The researcher said her chronic fatigue symptoms, which “felt like a truck hit me,” are gone after taking the two-drug oral therapy. (Reuters)
HHS secretary: Cures Act enforcement ‘long overdue’
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said that the federal government has made “extraordinary progress” over the past year when it comes to advancing health technology. Becerra pointed to the launch of TEFCA, enforcement of Cures Act provisions and the launch of Helios FHIR Accelerator as just a few examples. At the same time, he said at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT Annual Meeting this week, the agency has several goals that have yet to be fulfilled. Among them are what he referred to as the Cures Act penalty enforcement gap. Namely, as Becerra explained, civil monetary penalties for not complying with information-sharing requirements have only been established for technology developers and health information networks. “It left the provider penalty up to me: the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services,” he said. (Healthcare IT News)