Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|November 16, 2022

Iowa news

Manchester hospital joins program aimed at reducing opioid misuse

Manchester’s Regional Medical Center is one of the first four rural health care facilities in the state to join a program designed to reduce opioid misuse in Iowa by implementing altered surgical protocols. Manchester’s Regional Medical Center is participating in the Billion Pill Pledge, a program that aims to reduce the misuse of opioids by shifting postsurgical pain relief away from addictive medicines. The initiative was designed by Iowa City-based Goldfinch Health and supported by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office with funds from an opioid settlement. (Dubuque Telegraph Herald)

RSV cases are on the rise in Iowa. When could we see a vaccine?

Wintertime respiratory viruses have returned with a vengeance this year, including one virus that poses a greater risk to the very young and very old. Health care officials in Iowa have seen an unusually early uptick in RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus. Patients have largely avoided infection the past two years during the pandemic, but local hospitals now say infected young children have been arriving in their pediatric wards in recent weeks at rates not typically seen until later in the year. Federal health experts have speculated the virus is having an outsized impact because many of the children infected have not been exposed over the past two years, when many were isolating or social distancing. (Des Moines Register)

OpenLoop Health partners with BlueJeans by Verizon to expand access to quality, reliable virtual visits

Des Moines-based OpenLoop, a leader in white-label telehealth support services powering virtual care nationwide, is partnering with BlueJeans by Verizon to propel anytime, anywhere virtual care delivery. OpenLoop Health has signed a teaming agreement with BlueJeans to provide its clients access to BlueJeans Telehealth, an intuitive, HIPAA-ready virtual care platform designed to to help drive better patient interactions from beginning to end. The partnership also will give BlueJeans customers access to unrivaled provider staffing services through OpenLoop’s NCQA-certified network of clinicians in all 50 states, with payer coverage across 250 million patient lives. (Associated Press)

National news

Google collaborates with Mayo, Highmark, others on ‘health care data engine accelerators’

Google Cloud has partnered with health systems including Hackensack Meridian Health, Highmark Health, Lifepoint Health and Mayo Clinic on data-powered projects to improve health equity, patient flow and value-based care. The so-called health care data engine accelerators aim to better collect and analyze social determinants of health data, provide patient flow metrics to reduce bottlenecks, and merge claims and clinical information to identify population health indicators. (Becker’s Health IT and CIO Report)

The right health care acquisition could make CVS a competitive player against Amazon, Walgreens

On Sept. 5, CVS entered into an agreement to acquire Signify Health, a home health company, for about $8 billion. The deal, which brings Signify’s nationwide value-based provider network with more than 10,000 clinicians into CVS Health’s portfolio, is expected to close in the first half of 2023. But, shortly after CVS entered into the agreement, primary care disruptor VillageMD, which is majority-owned by Walgreens Boots Alliance, entered into an agreement to acquire physician practice group Summit Health in a transaction worth roughly $8.9 billion. This deal would give Walgreens Boots Alliance access to about 750 primary care providers, 1,200 specialty-care providers and roughly 150 urgent care locations throughout New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Oregon. (The Wall Street Journal)

Health system cash reserves plummet

Cash reserves, an important indicator of financial stability, are dropping for hospitals and health systems nationwide. Both large and small health systems are affected by rising labor and supply costs while reimbursement remains low. St. Louis-based Ascension reported days cash on hand dropped from 336 at the end of the 2021 fiscal year to 259 as of June 30, 2022, the end of the fiscal year. The system also reported accounts receivable increased three days from 47.3 in 2021 to 50.3 in 2022 because commercial payers were slow, especially in large dollar claims. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

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