Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|November 14, 2022

Iowa news

What is the rural emergency hospital designation? Does it work with CMS?

Federal officials have finalized rules on a new payment model for hospitals that aims to preserve access to certain medical services in rural areas. With the increase in the number of rural hospital closures over the past decade, and with more likely on the way, the rural emergency hospital designation was created to provide a new way to pay for these facilities. Federal officials hope it will provide relief to struggling hospitals on the verge of closure. Converting to this new provider type will dramatically change the way hospitals operate, eliminating inpatient services to focus instead on emergency medical services and outpatient care. It’s unclear how many hospitals in Iowa will consider converting to this new provider type, even as the state still grapples with its first hospital closure in more than two decades. Blessing Health Keokuk closed its doors Oct. 1. (Oklahoma News)

UnityPoint Health hosting virtual and in-person hiring events

UnityPoint Health – Waterloo will host a series of hiring events for candidates interested in health care careers. A virtual hiring event in partnership with is scheduled Thursday, Nov. 17. Open positions are patient care technician, emergency medical technician (Marshalltown), medical assistant/phlebotomy and instrument technician/sterile processing. The minimum pay rate for all positions is $15.50 per hour. On-site hiring fairs are scheduled Dec. 7 at UnityPoint Health in Marshalltown and Dec. 14 at Allen Hospital in Waterloo. (Indeed)

Mercy acquires additional tool for screening and diagnostic colonoscopies

Mercy Medical Center is now offering screening colonoscopy patients a new technology to aid in the detection of colorectal polyps. The new module uses artificial intelligence to help physicians as they screen for colorectal cancer. Mercy is the first hospital in Iowa to acquire this technology. The module uses advanced AI software to highlight suspicious polyps with a visual marker in real time, thereby assisting the gastroenterologist in the detection of lesions. Studies have shown that AI-assisted colonoscopy can increase polyp detection rates. (Mercy Medical Center)

National news

Hospitals losing billions to rising costs, denials and takebacks

Many hospitals and health systems are facing their toughest financial year in decades as they simultaneously address revenue and expense issues, with rising costs, payer denials and takebacks costing them billions of dollars, according to Crowe Revenue Cycle Analytics. The rate of claims payers are denying increased from 10.2% in 2021 to 11% in 2022, which equates to 110,000 unpaid claims for an average-size health system. Prior-authorization denials on inpatient accounts were a significant driver behind the dollar value of denials rising to 2.5% of gross revenue in August, up from 1.5% of gross revenue in January 2021. To deal with this spike, providers are spending more time and energy on denials. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

HHS to maintain COVID-19 public health emergency past January

The U.S. will extend the COVID-19 public health emergency past Jan. 11, 2023. A 12th extension of the PHE since the first in January 2020 is also likely because of a lack of public statement from HHS warning about a termination. The agency last renewed the PHE Oct. 13 for an additional 90 days to Jan. 11, 2023 β€” it also told says it would provide a notice 60 days before if it did decide to end it, or Nov. 11. The PHE allows the country to continue operating under pandemic-era policies, which led to a complete overhaul of telehealth and who can use it, fast-tracked approvals of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, and preserved healthcare coverage for millions of Medicaid beneficiaries nationwide. (CNBC)

14 states report ‘very high’ flu activity

The nation’s flu positivity rate and hospitalizations continue to climb, with southeastern and south-central states reporting the highest levels of activity. Fourteen states reported very high flu activity. Three flu-associated deaths were reported to the CDC for the week ending Nov. 5. This brings the total number of influenza-associated pediatric deaths to five for the 2022-23 season. The overall cumulative hospitalization rate is 5 per 100,000 β€” the highest it’s been this early in the season since the 2010-11 flu season. So far this season, the CDC estimates there have been at least 2.8 million flu cases, 23,000 hospitalizations and 1,300 deaths. (FluView)

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