Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|July 25, 2022

Iowa news

UI Children’s Carmen tabbed as one of 23 great children’s hospital CIOs to know

The CIOs at children’s hospitals are tasked with managing IT operations and digital teams focused on patient and caregiver connectivity. Pediatric patients and their families rely on the latest technology and platforms to diagnose and treat rare diseases besides more-common injuries and issues. Lee Carmen has served as the CIO of UI Children’s since 2001. He has been managing IT in academic medical centers for over 20 years. He provides strategic and operational support for the hospital’s IT services. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Legislation can help prevent fentanyl overdoses

In 2021, 258 Iowans died of opioid overdoses, an increase of 21% over 2020, according to preliminary data from the Iowa Department of Public Health. About 83% of those deaths involved fentanyl or other synthetic narcotics. Story County Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald, who serves as chairman of the Central Iowa Drug Task Force, has seen the dangers of fentanyl use in Iowa first-hand. His office and the drug task force have encountered 10 overdose cases, three of which were fatal. All three who died were exposed to fentanyl. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is calling on legislators to pass bills to prevent fentanyl-related deaths. (The Iowa Standard)

Why Iowa voters are being asked if EMS is an essential service

Many emergency medical services agencies statewide are facing shortages in staff, with rural areas seeing the most impact. Leaders are looking to designate EMS an essential service in their communities. A state law enacted last year would allow counties to do so by holding a referendum. If residents vote to make EMS an essential service, it would allow counties to raise property taxes in order to help pay for the services. Residents in Calhoun County will have a chance to vote on the matter in an upcoming referendum. Recently, the county’s Board of Supervisors changed its pay structure for EMS providers. Because of a lack of funding, the board approved a pay cut of 50% for EMTs covering the overnight shift. (WHO 13)

National news

Hospitals struggle with staff shortages as federal COVID-19 funds run out

Hospitals nationwide are grappling with widespread staffing shortages, complicating preparations for a potential COVID-19 surge as the BA.5 subvariant drives up cases, hospital admissions and deaths. Long-standing problems, worker burnout and staff turnover have grown worse as COVID-19 waves have hit health care workers again and again — and as more employees fall sick with COVID-19 themselves. (Politico)

Inflation to erode nonprofit hospital margins, Fitch reports

Because of inflation and higher labor, supply and capital costs, nonprofit hospital margins will see further erosion, Fitch reports. Nonprofit hospital margins already took a hit during the pandemic, and Fitch does not expect CMS to adjust Medicare or Medicaid rates because of inflation. Additionally, it may take years for providers to return to the margins of 2019, pre-pandemic, with many providers reporting much thinner margins. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Drugmakers are slow to prove medicines that got a fast track to market really work

Confirmatory trials the FDA requires are meant to show either that the drugs were rightly fast-tracked and should stay on the market or that the original decisions were wrong and the drugs should be withdrawn. But many studies aren’t getting done or started at all. Many drugs that made it to market with an accelerated approval are being used – sometimes for years – without patients, doctors or regulators knowing if they really work. NPR analyzed 30 years of FDA and National Institutes of Health data and found that 42% of outstanding confirmatory studies either took more than a year to begin following accelerated approval or hadn’t started at all. Nineteen of those required studies still haven’t started three years or more after accelerated approval. Four of them haven’t started more than ten years later. (Iowa Public Radio)

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