NewsStand, Oct. 5, 2023

NewsStand, Oct. 5, 2023

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|October 5, 2023

Iowa news

Iowa hospitals among recipients of Variety’s $3.5 million investment in Iowa children

Variety – the Children’s Charity has invested over $3.5 million into Iowa’s children during 2023 through grants and programming. Variety has provided over 100 pieces of specialized mobility equipment to children living with special needs, given hundreds of students a new bike, lock and helmet, and helped hundreds of children and families experiencing long hospital stays with financial assistance from the Variety Compassion Fund. Variety also has provided sleep sacks designed to reduce sudden infant death syndrome to babies born at Blank Children’s Hospital, Broadlawns Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center. (Variety – the Children’s Charity)

State still assessing the number of people affected by Medicaid error

Thousands of people were mistakenly dropped off Medicaid since the spring. In Iowa, state officials say they’re still assessing the number of people affected by the error. System glitches were behind the massive loss of coverage. States have been sifting through their rolls to check who still qualifies for Medicaid after pandemic-era federal protections expired last spring. One way they’re doing that is through computer systems that draw on information from reliable sources like state wage data to see if a person still qualifies for government insurance. (Iowa Public Radio)

Iowa Board of Regents targets campus and rural mental health

The state Board of Regents has voted to seek an extra $1 million from the state to address mental health needs across college campuses and in rural Iowa. The board is asking to increase the fiscal 2025 state appropriations request to support efforts at Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa to expand mental health services for students. The motion and the appropriations request, totaling $620 million with the addition, were approved unanimously. The University of Iowa is also working to address mental health needs among all Iowans with its rural health care partnership. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)

National news

Mayo Clinic, Microsoft roll out generative AI project

Mayo Clinic is deploying generative artificial intelligence technology from Microsoft to automate tasks for clinicians. Mayo is rolling out the Microsoft 365 Copilot, which combines large language models with organizational data to streamline administrative work, such as filling out forms for physicians. Hundreds of clinicians and other health care workers at Mayo are testing out an early access version of the program. It can be used across emails, meeting transcripts, chats, calendars and documents. (Mayo Clinic)

Hospital margins inch up to 1.1% in August

Hospital margins are moving in the right direction, as the median year-to-date operating margin improved in August to 1.1%. August’s median of 1.1% marked an upswing from the 0.9% median margin recorded in July, according to Kaufman Hall’s latest “National Hospital Flash Report” — based on data from more than 1,300 hospitals. Increased revenue offset hospitals’ increased supply and drug expenses in August. Decreased reliance on contract labor helped labor expenses decline on a volume-adjusted basis, while average lengths of stay also fell, by 4% month over month. (Kaufman Hall)

AHA: HHS should withdraw health-data tracking rule

The American Hospital Association is asking Congress to urge HHS to “immediately” rescind a rule restricting the use of third-party tracking technologies by hospitals and health systems. HHS’ Office of Civil Rights released the rule in December after several hospitals and health systems were found to be sharing patient information with Big Tech companies via the consumer tracking tools. The Office of Civil Rights and the Federal Trade Commission later sent letters to 66 hospitals and health systems warning them about use of the so-called pixel technology. (Becker’s Health IT)

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