Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|November 4, 2022

Iowa news

MercyOne restores all hospital and clinic information systems

MercyOne Central Iowa has said that all hospital and clinic systems are back online, including the payroll platform and patient records, following a ransomware attack on its former parent company CommonSpirit Health. The outage lasted more than two weeks, during which time staff followed downtime protocols created by the Des Moines-based health system. MercyOne’s systems started coming back online Oct. 21. Online appointment scheduling remains unavailable for MercyOne patients. (Business Record)

Voters in Kossuth County hear EMS essential service pitch before Election Day

Voters in Kossuth County join seven others to vote on emergency medical services essential funding on Nov. 8. In Kossuth County, voters will be asked if the county can increase property taxes by 75 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to fund EMS. If passed, the tax increase will bring in roughly $1.15 million to fund the service. Tuesday night in Algona, Kossuth County EMS Administrator Phil Albers spoke to voters for the 13th time ahead of Election Day. He was joined by Algona City Administrator Jacob Tjaden to answer questions from voters and explain where the money would go and what it would be used for if passed. (KCCI)

Report shows 24% of Iowa’s rural hospitals at risk of closure

A report from the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform shows that 24% of Iowa’s rural hospitals are at risk of closing in the immediate or near future because of persistent financial losses on patient services, inadequate revenues to cover expenses and low financial reserves. The report shows two Iowa rural hospitals are at immediate risk of closure. Nationwide, a total of 631 rural hospitals — or about 30% of all rural hospitals — are at risk of closing. (Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform)

National news

Medicare fines for high hospital readmissions drop, but nearly 2,300 facilities are still penalized

The federal government has eased its annual punishments for hospitals with higher-than-expected readmission rates in an acknowledgment of the upheaval the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, resulting in the lightest penalties since 2014. The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program has been a mainstay of Medicare’s hospital payment system since it began in 2012. Created by the Affordable Care Act, the program evaluates the frequency with which Medicare patients at most hospitals return within 30 days and lowers future payments to hospitals that had a greater-than-expected rate of return. Hospitals can lose up to 3% of each Medicare payment for a year. (Kaiser Health News)

Fact check: No evidence of a link between COVID-19 vaccines, cancer spike in people under 50

As new COVID-19 variants gain momentum in the U.S., health officials are urging the public to get vaccinated. But a recent social media post making the rounds links the vaccine to cancer. There is no link between COVID-19 vaccines and cancer, said Dr. Patrick Jackson, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Virginia Health. None of the active ingredients in the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccines are carcinogenic, according to Jackson. Medical experts and state health officials also said in February that there has been no significant uptick in cancer rates during the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. (USA Today)

Thousands of babies and children are hospitalized by RSV every year. Why that could soon change.

Nationwide, pediatric hospital wards are filling up with young children fighting a virus few adults know much about. Respiratory syncytial virus, which infects nearly everyone by the age of 2, usually goes unnoticed because it mostly causes a common cold. But RSV is a leading cause of hospitalizations among newborns and young children; 58,000 in a typical year. (USA Today)

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