Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|December 7, 2022

Iowa news

Patient surge prompts UnityPoint Health to require appointments for urgent, express care

An early and unusually high surge of respiratory illnesses is packing waiting rooms with sick patients at local emergency rooms and urgent cares, resulting in long wait times and a strain on health care facilities. As a result, UnityPoint Health has implemented a new scheduling process for its urgent cares and express care locations in central Iowa, requiring all patients to reserve a time online rather than walk in for care. (Des Moines Register)

Financial impact of telehealth: Rural chief financial officer perspectives

Telehealth has been promoted as a solution to the financial challenges facing rural hospitals; however, interviews with chief financial officers did not support that assertion. Although CFOs believed telehealth has some financial advantages, they did not believe that telehealth improved their hospitals’ financial situations. According to a CFO from Iowa, “Telehealth models are just new expenses without return on investment. It’s a little harder to get your arms around the exact dollar amount. But telehealth does results in major, major improvements in the quality and safety of our care.” (American Journal of Managed Care)

UnityPoint launches virtual exam option as telehealth interest expands

Dubuque-area residents with an earache or upper respiratory infection now can receive treatment simply by filling out a questionnaire. UnityPoint Clinic recently launched statewide a new virtual care option called SmartExam, through which providers use patient answers in a screening tool to develop treatment plans for low-acuity illnesses. SmartExam is among the latest ways that health care providers serving the area have developed their virtual care offerings. (Telegraph Herald)

National news

Myocarditis after COVID-19 vaccine low among teens and young adults, large study finds

The incidence of myocarditis and pericarditis after COVID-19 vaccination is low and most patients make a full recovery, a large international study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital found. Most of the cases occurred in male teens and young adults and usually after the second dose of a primary series of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. Although most of the people recovered quickly, 93% of the cases required hospitalization and 23% of the cases were serious enough to require admission to the intensive care unit. No deaths were observed. (NBC News)

Flu shots are a “very good match” to this season’s strains, CDC says

Health authorities say this year’s influenza vaccines appear to be a “very good match” to the strains circulating nationwide so far this season. The new data comes as officials are redoubling their calls for Americans to get vaccinated as this year’s flu season gets off to an early and worrisome start. Every year, the CDC tests hundreds of samples collected from Americans with the flu to track if the virus could be evading the season’s vaccines. The CDC reported Friday that most of the viruses tested so far this season are similar to the strains that were picked out by officials for this year’s updated vaccines. (CBS News)

New coronavirus variants rendered the last remaining monoclonal antibody treatment useless

No more monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 are available in the U.S.: The Food and Drug Administration rescinded its authorization of bebtelovimab, a drug previously given to patients who faced a high risk of severe disease. Over the last two years, the FDA authorized six monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19, but omicron’s many subvariants rendered the drugs less effective so the FDA gradually revoked each of those authorizations. Bebtelovimab, made by Eli Lilly, was the last one standing. (NBC News)

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