NewsStand, June 22, 2023

NewsStand, June 22, 2023

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|June 21, 2023

Iowa news

Iowa hires consulting firm to help improve health and human services

The state has hired a national consulting firm to study the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services as officials undertake the effort to align what were formerly two departments ― human services and public health ― into a single entity. State officials said Health Management Associates, a Chicago-based consulting firm, will “study the delivery of health and human service programs in our state.” The assessment will take place throughout the summer and early fall. (Des Moines Register)

Ribbon-cutting and 35th anniversary event set for Children’s Cancer Connection

Children’s Cancer Connection will celebrate its 35th anniversary Thursday, June 22. To celebrate this milestone and show off the newly renovated Jeff and Deb Hansen Home for Hope in Johnston, the Children’s Cancer Connection, the Johnston Chamber of Commerce and the Urbandale Chamber of Commerce invite the public to take part in a ribbon-cutting event. Registration is required. The backyard Variety Star Playground will not be open yet for this ribbon-cutting, but guests are welcome to view it in passing. (Children’s Cancer Connection)

Nunn introduces bill to improve broadband access in rural Iowa

Republican 3rd Congressional District Rep. Zach Nunn is introducing legislation to improve broadband access in Iowa’s rural areas. The bipartisan legislation would authorize the U.S. Department of Agriculture to permanently offer loans and grants to improve access to broadband internet nationwide. Rep. Nunn says better broadband access can help alleviate the state’s critical nursing shortage by allowing nurses to connect with patients remotely – and on a more flexible schedule. (Iowa Public Radio)

National news

Why drug shortages might worsen

FDA investigators discovered more quality issues at an Intas Pharmaceuticals factory in Ahmedabad, India, which halted some production after a November inspection found a truck full of shredded documents. In May, the FDA inspected the facility and investigators said they could not ensure the “safety, efficacy, purity and overall quality of drug products manufactured” at the site. Some drug supply experts have pointed to the site’s shutdown in November as a cause of the shortages of cisplatin and carboplatin, two cancer drugs that have seen low supply for months. Intas produced about 20% of the nation’s supply of carboplatin. The latest report could spur worsened drug shortages because the May visit found employees altering recorded data that did not meet U.S. standards for particles, such as black specks, fiber and glass, found in injectable drugs. The FDA also recorded evidence of Intas employees disregarding three years’ worth of more than 1,000 “spore-forming organisms.” (Bloomberg)

The sky is orange and the bottom line is red

The apocalyptic haze over New York City a few weeks ago cast an ominous tone as wildfires in Quebec delivered a thick orange smoke across the area. The Air Quality Index reached the “hazardous” level. Like that index, Kaufman Hall’s Operating Margin Index shows that hospital financial performance remains challenged. Our National Hospital Flash Report reports a breakeven result through the first four months of 2023, which means that half of the hospitals in the sample remain in the red. For many, volume is slow to return. Others report the payer mix is shifting toward government payers and away from commercial. Despite reductions in expensive contract labor, managing salaries and benefits remains a critical component on the journey back to profitability. (KaufmanHall)

Most parents support mental health screening for their kids, study shows

Most parents and caregivers said they supported mental health screening for their children in primary care settings, according to a multinational survey. Among over 900 parents and caregivers from the U.S., U.K. and Canada, as well as 16 other countries, 92.1% said they wanted their child screened for mental health issues at regular intervals, reported Michael Peter Milham, MD, PhD, of the Center for the Developing Brain at the Child Mind Institute in New York City, and colleagues. Annual screening was preferred by 64.9% of respondents, while 23.3% preferred quarterly screening, they noted in JAMA Network Open. (MedPage Today)

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