NewsStand, Sept. 19, 2023

NewsStand, Sept. 19, 2023

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|September 21, 2023

Iowa news

Older Iowans encouraged to get new RSV vaccine

Experts are encouraging Iowans 60 and older as well as children under 8 months old to get vaccinated against respiratory syncytial virus. The respiratory virus can cause severe lung infections in young infants and elderly people, and the elderly are more likely to be hospitalized with the virus. A new vaccine for those 60 and older has been shown to prevent severe illness in 85% of people. (Iowa Public Radio)

DMU, UNI enter into health career education partnership

Des Moines University has entered into a partnership with the University of Northern Iowa to create more pathways to medical and health sciences careers for UNI students. DMU will reserve seats for qualified UNI students in doctoral programs in occupational therapy, osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine and physical therapy. The agreement also offers concurrent enrollment to qualified UNI students in DMU’s occupational therapy and podiatric medicine programs and master’s degree programs in health care administration and public health. This will allow UNI students to complete their bachelor’s degree at UNI through coursework at DMU. The partnership agreement takes effect immediately. (Business Record)

UI launches nurse-midwives program to address maternal health care shortage

The University of Iowa has launched a new program to train nurse-midwives. It aims to address the shortage of maternal health care providers in the state, particularly in rural areas. After the five-semester program, students will obtain a master’s degree in midwifery, which will allow them to take the necessary board exam. Lastascia Coleman, a clinical associate professor at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, says that while midwives are often associated with pregnancy and births, they can provide a full spectrum of care. (Iowa Public Radio)

National news

When hospitalizations for ‘tripledemic’ viruses may peak

New forecasting suggests U.S. hospitalizations from COVID-19, flu and respiratory syncytial virus will peak at the end of January. The modeling predicts there will be around 57,000 weekly admissions at that time, compared to last year’s winter peak of around 80,000. Although lower than last year, the respiratory viruses’ combined burden on hospitals is still predicted to be worse than pre-pandemic. The forecasting anticipates total admissions for the viruses will reach 1.15 million this winter, more than three times the level seen during the last pre-pandemic respiratory virus season in 2018-19. (Airfinity)

U.S. hospitals have paid $100M to Russian ransomware hackers

The Justice Department revealed U.S. hospitals have paid millions of dollars in ransom to a cybercriminal network with suspected ties to Russian intelligence. The FBI has been investigating the ransomware gang for years, and the Justice Department indicted nine members on Sept. 7, offering multimillion dollar rewards for tips leading to the alleged criminals, who are still at large. According to the indictment, the men are accused of using TrickBot to hack computers and Conti to lock them until ransom was paid. The group has targeted around 300 organizations in the U.S., including hospitals. (CNN)

Factors that could affect health system performance in 2024

Last year was one of the worst financial years for hospitals and health systems in decades. Many of the same challenges — including staff shortages, inflation and the rising costs of drugs, supplies and services — have continued into 2023, but the good news for hospitals is that patient volumes are rebounding and contract labor expenses are falling, helping operating margins to move in the right direction again. That said, there are several factors that could affect financial performances next year, according to multiple systems’ recently reported financial documents. (Hospital CFO Report)

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