Today’s NewsStand

Today’s NewsStand

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|February 13, 2023

Iowa news

Medicaid rebasing in Iowa and other states may be ‘too little too late’ for SNFs

Medicaid rebasing is driving dealmaking activity for the skilled nursing sector, as enhanced federal funding dries up and operators scramble to account for rising costs of care and a floundering workforce. “Iowa has so far has really proven to be one of the least supportive states in the country for nursing home providers. Unlike other states, they’ve refused to pass on any of the FMAP federal funds,” said CareTrust CEO David Sedgwick. “However, there’s reason for hope. There’s a Medicaid rate increase going into effect this July for Iowa, but for some, it’s just going to be too little too late.” For context, 13% of U.S. nursing homes that closed in 2022 were in Iowa. (Skilled Nursing News)

Area residents feel the sting of medical debt

Millions of Americans incur medical debt every year, with debt disproportionately concentrated among lower-income Americans, the uninsured and ethnic minorities. February 2022 data collected from a major credit bureau for Urban Institute’s Debt In America tracker found 13% of adults had medical debt in collections, including 6% of residents of Dubuque County. Although federal law requires many hospitals to offer financial assistance and debt forgiveness, and many charitable organizations work to offer debt relief, many people still find themselves on the hook for thousands of dollars in medical expenses, often after a single hospital visit. (Telegraph Herald)

Iowa respiratory illnesses in children decline after December peak

After largely avoiding annual spikes in respiratory illnesses like respiratory syncytial virus among children during the first two years of COVID-19 pandemic precautions, the virus started to spike nationwide last fall, overwhelming the pediatric departments of many hospitals. In November, numbers from Iowa’s Respiratory Virus Surveillance Report showed 938 cases of RSV — a sharp increase from 155 cases in the first week of October. In Cedar Rapids alone, the uptick in positivity rates and children’s hospitalizations gave doctors serious concerns about a virus that had spiked over winters for decades. (The Gazette)

National news

HHS releases roadmap out of public health emergency

HHS is planning for the federal COVID-19 public health emergency to end on May 11. On Feb. 9, the agency’s secretary, Xavier Becerra, sent a letter to U.S. governors informing them that effective Feb. 11, he is renewing the PHE for 90 days and that it is anticipated to be the last time. To help with the transition, HHS also attached a fact sheet to the letter with information about what will be affected with the PHE’s end. HHS told governors that access to COVID-19 vaccines and certain treatments, such as Paxlovid and Lagevrio, generally won’t be affected. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Mandatory staffing ratios are the wrong fight for nurses

Mandatory nurse staffing ratios are a temporary solution to a larger issue and will not bring about the respect the profession deserves, Kathleen Bartholomew, M.N., RN, a national speaker and nurse advocate, wrote in an op-ed for Instead, nurses should be advocating for charge nurses to have the authority to set ratios on an hourly basis and get as many nurses as they request. In health care’s business model, the core focus is profit. Billing codes don’t exist for being the only nurse who can get a patient to take his or her medicine, or for intervening just in time to prevent a medical error, Ms. Bartholomew said. (

2023 health care financial trends, digital transformation

CommerceHealthcare has released its fifth annual Healthcare Finance Trends for 2023 report. The report includes an in-depth analysis of research combined with practice experience and identifies consideration for the industry given multiple intersecting challenges in the year ahead. The report’s key insights range across regulatory, financial, technological and supply chain considerations. One trend that will continue to carry importance for health care leaders is the need for a digital transformation, which will be fundamental to health care’s business and care delivery model changes. (Commerce Bank)

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