Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|July 20, 2022

Iowa news

Polk County Health Department warns of climbing COVID-19 cases

Polk County is seeing another spike in COVID-19 cases this summer. The health department shared the omicron B.A. 5 subvariant is causing the rise. This strain is highly contagious and is quickly becoming the dominant strain in Iowa as well as the U.S. Polk County has seen over a thousand positive tests within the last seven days. The health department says an increase in cases is typically indicative that a surge is coming to hospitals. (KCCI)

Self-reporting positive COVID-19 home tests

Polk County health officials are urging residents to self-report their positive at-home COVID-19 tests. The request comes as the number of new cases continues to climb as the highly contagious BA.5 omicron subvariant spreads. Officials say reporting positive cases will help track the virus. (Polk County)

Iowa co-ops use federal loans to help hospital handle record births

As more rural health care systems close, one north-central Iowa hospital is experiencing an unprecedented baby boom, and local electric cooperatives have stepped in to help it finance a much-needed maternity center expansion. Prairie Energy Cooperative in Clarion and power supplier Corn Belt Power Cooperative in Humboldt recently passed through $2.4 million in federal loans to Iowa Specialty Hospital to boost its maternity services. The money comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, which provides zero-interest loans and grants for projects that create and retain jobs in rural areas. (America’s Electric Cooperatives)

National news

Where health tech should focus next

Chief information officers are looking to the future of health care technology and its vendors to include better ecosystems and improved usability to deliver additional value to hospitals and health systems. The current tech can force them to either pick best-of-breed for each function of the organization or settle for a large mega-suite software that does everything, but not quite as well. In the past, this led to most CIOs switching from the best-of-breed approach, where integration and ongoing care and feeding is hard, to a large mega-suite approach, which is at the mercy of a single large vendor and whatever functionality and price they want to push out. (Becker’s Health IT and CIO Report)

Millions of kids qualify for Medicaid. Biden funds outreach to boost enrollment

The Biden administration has announced $49 million in grants to help community groups sign more families and children up for health insurance – especially the more than half of the country’s 4 million uninsured children who qualify for free coverage through Medicaid or CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program. (National Public Radio)

Nasal vaccines may stop COVID-19 infections. Will we get them soon?

In the early days of the pandemic, the federal government launched Operation Warp Speed, the public-private initiative aimed in part at speeding up the development of vaccines. It proved to be a success, bringing the first COVID-19 vaccines to the market in about nine months, an unheard-of time frame for a process that normally takes years or even decades. But that same kind of effort has not been given to developing the next generation of vaccines, which experts believe will provide even greater protection. Nasal vaccines, in particular, may hold a lot of promise; many scientists consider such an approach to have the potential to prevent infections entirely. (NBC News)

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