Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|December 14, 2022

Iowa news

Jasper County expands program using reserve deputies as paramedics

Throughout the last year, KCCI investigates has uncovered the struggles that Iowa’s emergency medical services face in our series Essential: Iowa’s EMS Emergency. In Iowa, EMS is not essential, meaning there’s no guarantee an ambulance will show up. Sixteen departments have closed since the start of 2020, most because no one was available to volunteer. In Jasper County, leaders are getting creative in who responds to emergencies as a paramedic. Two reserve deputies are trained as paramedics and work six shifts a month that are 12 hours each to fill in the gaps when volunteer EMS workers are at their paying jobs. (KCCI)

Iowa gets $70 million in opioid crisis agreement with CVS, Walgreens

Iowa will receive more than $70 million as part of a multistate agreement with CVS and Walgreens over the companies’ role in the opioid epidemic, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced Monday. The agreement comes following accusations from state attorneys general that the pharmacy chains contributed to the opioid epidemic by “ignoring red flags” about opioid prescriptions, and not taking action to prevent abuse of the drugs. Iowa was also part of a national $3.1 billion settlement with Walmart announced in November, after states accused the company of the same failed oversight. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Health providers urge Iowans to take extra precautions amid high numbers of children with respiratory virus infections

Iowa hospitals and urgent care facilities say pediatric beds remain tight as this year’s respiratory virus season shapes up to be severe. Experts are asking Iowans to make sure their family members are vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu, and to stay home from work or school if they are sick. Additionally, health officials say those who are sick should contact their providers as soon as possible to potentially get antiviral medication, which is more effective if taken early in an infection. (Iowa Public Radio)

National news

Merck, Moderna detail potential skin cancer vaccine progress

Moderna’s stock has soared after the COVID-19 vaccine maker detailed progress in developing a preventive shot for a deadly form of skin cancer. The company said a possible melanoma vaccine it is studying with pharmaceutical giant Merck fared well in a small study of patients who had the cancer surgically removed. The drugmakers said a combination of the vaccine and Merck’s immunotherapy Keytruda led to a statistically significant improvement in survival before the cancer returned in patients with advanced melanoma. Phase 3 is generally the largest and most expensive stage of clinical research before regulators review a potential drug for approval. (The Courier)

Hospitals have not been this full since omicron’s height

More than 80% of the nation’s hospital beds are in use, the highest rate throughout the pandemic, according to a CNN analysis of HHS data. But COVID-19 is hardly the sole factor straining hospital capacity. The rates are higher because hospitals are seeing many patients with the flu nationwide, and that’s brought more older adults and some young children into hospitals. Additionally, RSV is filling many pediatric beds and cribs. Care delays from earlier in the year and the inability to make timely discharges because of workforce shortages at post-acute facilities are other factors pushing up bed use. (CNN)

HHS warns of Royal ransomware threat targeting health care providers

HHS has released a warning about a human-operated ransomware group known as Royal that is increasingly becoming a threat to the health care sector. Royal-based attacks have steadily increased over the last three months, with ransom demands ranging from $250,000 to more than $2 million. Royal ransomware and the group appears to operate as a private group with no known affiliates. Royal is financially motivated and has been exfiltrating sensitive data. The group uses Cobalt Strike tactics to harvest credentials from victims’ networks. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)


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