Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|September 16, 2022

Iowa news

Iowa health system receives $753K grant for Epic EHR install

Washington County Hospital and Clinics has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for approximately $753,000. All the funds will go toward implementing a new electronic health record system from Epic Systems. The grant is not only a significant win for the hospital but also for the Washington community as this advancement will help enhance the care provided to residents in southeast Iowa. The project is set to begin in November and be completed in November of 2023. (KCII)

Grassley relays concerns of Iowa rural hospitals to CMS as deadline approaches for new rural emergency hospital program

Sen. Chuck Grassley is calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to finalize regulations for the new rural emergency hospital designation, a voluntary Medicare payment for rural hospitals that ensures minimal administrative burden, maximum flexibility and timely implementation. His letter contains several recommendations for CMS to consider, which are based on concerns Sen. Grassley has heard directly from Iowans during these meetings. In 2020, Sen. Grassley was instrumental in getting the new designation signed into law. It offers a financial lifeline for providers by allowing certain rural hospitals to customize their health care infrastructure and provide services that better align with the specific needs of their patients. (KIOW)

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to end inpatient eating disorder care

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is set to make some changes to their Eating Disorder Program this fall. These changes have motivated some Iowans to create a petition claiming the university is phasing the program out completely. The “Save the Eating Disorder Program” petition currently has over 6,500 signatures. The program says it will continue to offer a wide range of services for those who are struggling with an eating disorder, but there are changes to come. Beginning this fall, the program will no longer be admitting new patients to the inpatient residential care sector of the eating disorders program. Instead, resources will be relocated to provide access to the growing number of Iowans with a acute mental health care needs. (WOI)

National news

WHO says ‘the end is in sight’ for COVID-19 pandemic as global deaths hit lowest since March 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic may be nearing a close, the World Health Organization has said. New weekly deaths reached their lowest point last week since March 2020. The WHO recorded around 11,000 deaths globally the week of Sept. 5-11, a 22% decrease from the previous week. New weekly cases also fell by 28% in that time, from nearly 4.2 million during the week of Aug. 29 to Sept. 4 to around 3.1 million last week, according to the WHO. But U.S. COVID-19 deaths have stayed relatively flat, with little change over the last two weeks. (NBC News)

Average weekly travel nurse pay declines

The average weekly travel nurse pay in August in the U.S. was $3,045, down 7.4% from $3,270 during the same month in 2021, according to a report from Vivian Health, a national health care hiring marketplace. The report is based on proprietary data of job postings on Vivian Health in August. When taking a broad month-over-month view of 2022, average travel nurse pay is declining and coming back to last year’s levels. Vivian Health cited two reasonings: a shift away from travel roles and toward permanent nursing roles, and less federal funding toward hospitals and health systems for large travel contracts. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Telehealth fraud cost Medicare $128M in first year of COVID-19 pandemic

The federal government eased telehealth requirements at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic so more Americans could get remote care with fewer obstacles. A report by government investigators last week found that more-permissive remote care has come at a price. During the first year of the pandemic, 1,714 providers billed Medicare nearly $128 million in “high risk” claims. Investigators said less than 1% of the 742,000 Medicare-certified providers of telehealth services submitted roughly a half million problematic claims. Yet the billings are concerning enough that government investigators urged the Biden administration to tighten oversight to ensure millions of Americans can access remote care while safeguarding taxpayer dollars. (Des Moines Register)

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