Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|October 21, 2022

Iowa news

New reported COVID-19 cases decline in Iowa for seventh consecutive week

COVID-19 hospitalizations and new reported cases both dropped again this week in Iowa, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The number of Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19 in Iowa dropped by 30 to 144 this week, the federal health and human services department reported. That’s the fewest hospitalized in one weekly update since May, and it’s the second consecutive week that number has declined. At this time in previous Octobers during the pandemic, the state had around 500 COVID-19 patients in hospitals. Of those patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Iowa, 12 required intensive care for complications from the disease, down by more than half from 26 last week. (Des Moines Register)

Hy-Vee providing free Medicare plan comparisons

Hy-Vee Medicare Aisle is providing free Medicare plan comparisons during Medicare’s Annual Open Enrollment Period, which began Saturday, Oct. 15, and ends Wednesday, Dec. 7. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommends all Medicare participants review their coverage each year to ensure their plan is the best fit based on health conditions, doctors and specialists who participate in the plan, prescription coverage and budget parameters. Not all Medicare recipients take this important step, the retailer points out, and as a result they may find themselves stuck with a plan that may no longer fit their specific needs. (RetailWit)

MercyOne says it has begun restoring systems following ransomware attack

More than two weeks after a ransomware attack crippled its parent company, MercyOne health system is beginning to restore certain systems that were taken offline. MercyOne Central Iowa region officials have announced they are restoring access to key systems, including its electronic health record system and the payroll system, that were taken offline following the cyberattack earlier this month at CommonSpirit Health. Patients still can’t schedule appointments online, officials said. Instead, patients should call their providers’ offices to schedule appointments. (Des Moines Register)

National news

Move aside, BA.5: These new COVID-19 variants are gaining ground in the U.S.

The omicron subvariant BA.5 is beginning to lose its grip on the U.S., making room for other strains to compete for dominance. At one point in August, the highly transmissible variant made up over 99% of new coronavirus infections. But now, BA.5 only accounts for about 67% of new cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health experts say it’s difficult to accurately capture how prevalent these new variants are as most Americans test at home and fewer samples are available for genetic sequencing. Even so, it’s clear there are a handful of strains pulling ahead. (USA Today)

FDA panel recommends revoking the approval of controversial drug for preterm births

An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration has voted to take a drug intended to prevent premature births off the market, saying that it remains doubtful that the drug works. The recommendation, in a 14-1 vote, from the agency’s Obstetrics, Reproductive and Urologic Drugs Advisory Committee closed a three-day meeting on the clinical trial evidence supporting Makena, the only drug approved in the U.S. to prevent preterm births. The meeting included emotional testimony, including from advocates who said removing the drug could deepen maternal health inequities. (NBC News)

No rating fallout from CommonSpirit cyberattack

The cyberattack on CommonSpirit Health highlights increased risks to health care providers as such attacks become more common. CommonSpirit is working with a number of cybersecurity firms and is working diligently to quickly restore operations. Fitch believes the credit impact is minimal at this time. Although there will certainly be some lost revenue because of the cyberattack requiring some systems be taken off line, the depth and breadth of the losses are expected to be minimal compared to CommonSpirit’s total operating base. In addition, CommonSpirit has cybersecurity insurance, and Fitch believes that recovery of costs should be manageable. (FitchRatings)

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