Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|September 9, 2022

Iowa news

UnityPoint Health noted by Fitch and Moody’s as among 14 systems with strong finances

Reports from Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service have identified UnityPoint Health as one of 14 health systems with strong operational metrics and solid financial positions. According to the reports, UnityPoint Health has an AA- rating and stable outlook with Fitch. The health system has strong leverage metrics and cash position, Fitch said. The credit rating agency expects the health system’s balance sheet and debt service coverage metrics to remain robust. (Becker’s Health IT and CIO Report)

Virtual nursing helping one Iowa hospital retain staff

Some hospitals in Iowa are using virtual nurses to help tackle the shortage of workers. The program is working at MercyOne’s Des Moines Medical Center. The virtual nurse program started at MercyOne during the pandemic. It worked so well, two floors at the hospital now have virtual staff 24/7. From patient and family communication, to reviewing charts and calling for lab results, a lot of work can be done behind the screen. That’s why there’s less burden for the provider at the hospital and reducing burnout for the boots-on-the-ground. (KCCI)

Hospitalizations continue to inch upward

Newly reported COVID-19 cases in Iowa dropped to their lowest point in two months, but hospitalizations rose — albeit slightly — for the third consecutive week, according to data released this week. The decline in new cases could be short-lived, based on the amount of virus concentrated in the Des Moines metro area’s wastewater — historically an indicator of case trends. As of Aug. 31, the effective virus concentration in the city’s sewage had more than doubled week-over-week, reaching its highest point since early 2022. (Des Moines Register)

National news

CVS makes $8 billion bet on the return of the house call

The drugstore giant CVS Health said it would acquire Signify Health, which runs a network of doctors making house calls, for roughly $8 billion in a deal that cements the pharmacy chain’s move away from its retail roots. The deal, if approved by shareholders and regulators, would give CVS, which has nearly 10,000 stores nationwide, a new avenue to reach its customers: at home. (The New York Times)

The new COVID-19 booster could be the last you’ll need for a year, federal officials say

Federal health officials say that going forward, COVID-19 could be treated more like the flu. They say that’s an important milestone, characterized by annual shots offering year-long protection against severe illness for most people. Much like the latest round of vaccines, doses could be tweaked again if new variants become dominant in the future, just like flu shots, says White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha. (Iowa Public Radio)

Stress, anxiety and depression may increase the risk of long COVID-19

People who felt stressed, anxious, lonely, depressed or worried about COVID-19 before getting infected were at higher risk of developing long-term symptoms from their illness, a new study found. For the research, a team at Harvard looked at survey responses from nearly 55,000 people in the United States and Canada from April 2020 to November 2021. Of that group, more than 3,000 participants said they’d had COVID-19, and around 1,400 said they had long COVID-19, defined as COVID-19-related symptoms lasting four weeks or longer. (NBC News)

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