Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|February 6, 2023

Iowa news

Long-term care access at risk in rural Iowa

Nursing homes in Iowa are under tremendous financial pressure because of a number of factors that have occurred during the nearly three years of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, at Whispering Heights in Rock Valley, total expenses have increased 41.2% during the past three years, while the state Medicaid reimbursement rate has remained the same during that time. This growth in expenses is a direct result of significantly higher wage costs to recruit and retain employees; overtime and premium pay for those willing to work extra shifts and wages for the use of temporary staffing to fill open positions to provide the care required. Additionally, inflation has driven significant cost increases in supplies and consumables of every kind. (Sioux City Journal)

Iowa among top 10 states with largest decreases to travel nurse pay

Iowa saw the fourth largest drop among states in average weekly travel nurse pay in January according to a report from Vivian Health, a national health care hiring marketplace. Iowa hospitals’ average weekly travel nurse pay in January was $2,982, down 27.62% from $4,120 during the same month in 2022. This trend reflects a continuation of travel nurse wage stabilization at lower, post-omicron rates. Nationally, the average weekly pay decreased month over month by just 3% — a big change from the dramatic swings in pay seen during COVID-19 surges. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

University of Iowa Hospitals website possibly hit by cyberattack

A Russian hacking group has claimed to have taken down the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics website, along with the websites of dozens of other hospitals nationwide. UIHC confirmed its website was down for a few hours last Tuesday and its IT staff was investigating the cause but could not confirm whether it was the result of a cyberattack. But Better Cyber, a cybersecurity company that monitors attacks worldwide, included UIHC in a list of sites taken down by the Russian group KillNet. It said the group is targeting hospitals and medical facilities nationwide. It’s unclear if any of the attacks hampered hospital operations or exposed patient data. (KCRG)

National news

House bill seeks to end CMS’ COVID-19 vaccine rule for health care facilities

The House has passed a bill that would invalidate the Biden administration’s rule that requires employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 if they work in health care facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding. The Freedom for Healthcare Workers Act — introduced by Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina with about 70 Republican co-sponsors — passed in a 227-203 vote. The measure calls for nullifying the health care worker COVID-19 vaccination rule issued by CMS earlier in the pandemic, and would ban the issuance of any substantially similar rule. President Joe Biden has indicated he would veto the Freedom for Healthcare Workers Act if it were to pass Congress. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Who’s most likely to save us from the next pandemic? The answer may surprise you

A slew of disease hunters from middle- and low-income countries are now racing to spot new pathogens before they can balloon out of control. When it comes to stopping the next brewing pandemic, the world’s best hope is to look to scientists from this part of the world – what’s often called the “Global South.” Although this is a global collaboration with plenty of partners and funding from wealthy countries as well as big companies such as the diagnostics powerhouse Abbott, scientists from the Global South countries – South Africa, Brazil, Senegal, India, Thailand – are the most central players. (Iowa Public Radio)

29 physician specialties ranked by 2022 burnout rates

Last year, 53% of physicians reported burnout. Among them, emergency medicine specialists had the highest rate at 65%, according to Medscape’s latest report on physician burnout and depression. Across the board, physician burnout has jumped 11% from 2018, when 42% of physicians said they were burned out. Medscape’s Physician Burnout and Depression Report 2023 is based on survey responses from more than 9,100 physicians across 29 specialties, which were collected between June and October 2022. At least one third of respondents in all specialties said they were burned out. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

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