Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|February 3, 2023

Iowa news

13% of U.S. nursing homes that closed in 2022 were in Iowa

Seventeen Iowa nursing homes closed last year. All but two were in rural communities. The Medicaid program pays for the care of over half of Iowa nursing home residents. Gov. Kim Reynolds is recommending an increase in Medicaid’s daily rate for nursing home care. Medicaid reimbursement rate covers about 80% of the daily cost of care for a nursing home resident. About seven out of 10 Iowa nursing homes are holding beds open as a way to deal with the staffing shortages and budget shortfalls. In the past two years, 39 Iowa nursing homes have closed, reducing the number of nursing home beds in the state by more than 800. (Radio Iowa)

As the number of patients increases, St. Ambrose is preparing future health care workers for telehealth services

The need for health care professionals continues to grow even as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes, and those professionals will have to continue to adapt as more and more appointments move to virtual mediums. Telehealth appointments at UnityPoint Health last year totaled more than 30,000 across its clinics, which is seven times more than what it reported in 2018. The master of physician assistant studies at St. Ambrose University was created just eight years ago, but it’s already recognized how important telehealth is when it comes to diagnosing patients. (WQAD)

COVID-19 hospitalizations down once again

COVID-19 hospitalizations and positive tests are down from last week. According to the federal Department of Health and Human Services,131 hospitalized Iowans have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Feb. 1, down from more than 150 last week. Iowa health officials say 2,114 positive tests were reported in the past seven days, down just slightly from last week. (Iowa Public Radio)

National news

Questions hospitals should be asking amid the nurse degree scheme

A coordinated scheme to sell aspiring nurses fake diplomas and transcripts has allowed more than 2,800 individuals to pass the National Council Licensure Examination without proper training, many of whom went on to gain licensure and employment at health care facilities nationwide, federal authorities said. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing and its state regulatory bodies have been working closely with state and federal authorities to identify and monitor people who allegedly purchased the fake nursing degrees. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

U.S. spends most on health care but has worse outcomes

The U.S. spends two to four times as much on health care as most other high-income countries, but the health outcomes lag behind. A report by the Commonwealth Fund compared health care spending and outcomes, health status and health care usage in the U.S. with 12 other high-income nations and the average for all 38 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development members. The U.S. is the only nation in the organization that does not offer universal health coverage despite spending nearly 18% of its gross domestic product on health care. (The Commonwealth Fund)

Confidence in health care plunges as criticism grows louder and larger

Payers, pharmacy benefit managers and drug manufacturers are no strangers to heavy criticism from the public and providers alike. Now another sector of the health care system has found itself increasingly caught in the crosshairs of constituents looking to point a finger for the rising cost of care: hospitals. As sharp words against the industry bubble up more often and encompass a wider variety of issues, it marks an important turn in the ethos of American health care. Most policymakers have historically wanted hospitals on their side, and health systems are often the largest employer within their communities and in many states. Confidence in the medical system as a whole fell from 51% in 2020 to a record low of 38% in 2022. Though the health care system is among several major U.S. institutions facing record-low public confidence, are hospitals ready for an era of widespread distrust? (Becker’s Hospital Review)

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