Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|September 7, 2022

Iowa news

Levy proposed in Jones County would help fund rural EMS

Funding emergency medical services is a concern in many rural parts of the state. It’s what’s prompting leaders in Jones County to propose a new levy. They’re asking voters to approve 35 cents per $1,000 in valuation. An ambulance is a sight people expect to see when calling 911 for a medical emergency, but they aren’t a guarantee. EMS is not funded the same way as police and fire departments. The proposed levy in Jones County would create a steady and consistent flow of money for the county’s nine EMS departments. Jones County has already designated EMS as an essential service. That’s something counties can do under a bill signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds last year. Being designated as ‘essential’ allows local communities to seek funding in this way. (KCRG)

Rural midwife program continues to grow and provide in Muscatine

It is often recommended that women who are pregnant should schedule around a dozen checkups to keep track of their progress as well as any at-risk indicators. But not all women can attend as many checkups as they should because of a lack of immediate access and the barriers that come with distance. In 2020, UnityPoint Health–Trinity Muscatine shut down its birthing center because of staffing issues, forcing expectant mothers to travel to the Quad Cities or Iowa City to give birth. But when it came to prenatal services and checkups, the University of Iowa’s American College of Nurse-Midwives decided to offer its services in an effort to cut down on some of the now-present barriers that may have prevented Muscatine mothers from scheduling or attending these checkups. (Muscatine Journal)

ChildServe breaks ground for Ames expansion

ChildServe marked the beginning of a new chapter at a Sept. 7 groundbreaking for a $9 million expansion project to double the size of its Ames campus. Since opening an Ames facility in 1995, ChildServe has been a staple in the community for families raising a child with special health care needs. When the organization built its current Ames facility in 2000, ChildServe was serving 125 children; now the nonprofit serves nearly 900 children and families from Story County and 22 surrounding counties. The expansion project will allow ChildServe to expand its signature programs, with additional treatment space for complex medical services and rehabilitative therapies, as well as new treatment space for autism and behavioral health services. (Business Record)

National news

U.S. life expectancy falls again in ‘historic’ setback

The average life expectancy of Americans fell precipitously in 2020 and 2021, the sharpest two-year decline in nearly 100 years and a stark reminder of the toll exacted on the nation by the continuing coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, the average American could expect to live until the age of 76. The figure represents a loss of almost three years since 2019, when Americans could expect to live, on average, nearly 79 years. The reduction has been particularly steep among Native Americans and Alaska Natives, the National Center for Health Statistics reported. Average life expectancy in those groups was shortened by four years in 2020 alone. The cumulative decline since the pandemic started, more than six and a half years on average, has brought life expectancy to 65 among Native Americans and Alaska Natives — on par with the figure for all Americans in 1944. (New York Times)

Hospitals that share public health data will get better Medicare rates

Hospitals are eligible for increased financial incentives if they share data with public health authorities as part of a new CMS rule. Under the provision that goes into effect Oct. 1, hospitals taking part in the Medicare Promoting Interoperability Program will avoid cuts in Medicare payments if they electronically report information about patients’ illnesses, injuries and care to state or local public health agencies. The initiative could help with earlier identification of public health threats such as COVID-19 or monkeypox. With the new rule, hospitals will earn points toward the calculation of Medicare reimbursement rates if they move toward using EHRs to share data with public health departments, sending real clinical information beginning in 2024 and reporting it to CMS. (Pew)

Hospitals brace for rollout of modified COVID-19 boosters

With the FDA authorizing Pfizer’s and Moderna’s omicron-targeted vaccines Aug. 31 and the CDC meeting last week, hospitals and health systems are preparing to administer the shots. With vaccine efficacy waning with every new iteration and mutation of the virus, federal regulatory agencies asked vaccine manufacturers at the end of June to create an updated booster shot tailored for omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5. At the time, both roughly accounted for the same number of cases, but now BA.5 makes up nearly 90% of cases. For the past two months, hospital supply chain, pharmacy and clinician teams have worked to prepare for the rollout as vaccine-makers sprinted to prove the shots’ efficacy. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

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