NewsStand, Dec. 14, 2023

NewsStand, Dec. 14, 2023

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|December 13, 2023

Iowa news

How to sort through the noise about RSV, flu and COVID-19 vaccinations

One of the most-frequent queries I hear is what to do about vaccinations. Given the recent pandemic, confusion is not surprising. What is surprising is the confusion in the advice. So let’s sort out some of the chaos. There are national experts; they do really important work in really faraway places. The places and work seem so distant as to be irrelevant; they are, at the individual application level. These national experts are supposed to get information to the state level, full stop. State-level people then interact with county-level people; given that circumstances differ by county, the state cannot reasonably give precise advice to the county. (Compare the needs of Polk County with, say, Ringgold County’s.) (Des Moines Register)

COVID-19 admissions up for fourth week straight

New COVID-19 admissions were up nearly 18% nationally for the week ending Dec. 2, marking the fourth straight week of increase. In Iowa, 315 new admissions were reported for the week. Compared nationally, Iowa has the eighth most new COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents. The increase comes as JN.1 — an offshoot of BA.2.86 — has grown to account for more than 21% of U.S. cases from less than 1% in just a week. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Portion of former DMU campus to house shared regional health care training facility

Des Moines University and the Polk County Board of Supervisors, along with other educational partners, are collaborating to establish a shared regional simulation center on DMU’s former Grand Avenue campus that will provide advanced health care training opportunities to health care education institutions across central Iowa. The new center will be in a 90,000-square-foot facility, and offer medical simulation technology and training spaces for the region’s post-secondary and higher education health sciences programs. The collaboration will focus on engaging Des Moines Public Schools students, maximizing and increasing capacity in local health care programs, incentivizing graduates to stay in Iowa. (Business Record)

National news

40% of physicians plan to cut clinical hours

A recent survey connected with 1,344 physicians between Dec. 9, 2021, and Jan. 24, 2022, and found that more than 40% of physicians said they plan to reduce their clinical work hours, nearly double of the number in 2014 (19.8%). Researchers also found that 25.6% physicians said they would “likely” or “definitely” leave their practice in the next 24 months. Burnout and high emotional exhaustion or depersonalization were significant factors in the choice to reduce hours. (Mayo Clinic Proceedings)

Flu cases rise for a fifth week

Flu activity is continuing to rise across the country for a fifth week in a row, with 5,753 patients admitted to hospitals because of confirmed flu cases. The new number of weekly hospital admissions went up by 1,485 from a total of just 4,268 the week prior. Outpatient respiratory illness visits are also above the baseline average for the fifth straight week. Updated seasonal estimates show at least 2.6 million illnesses, 26,000 hospitalizations and 1,600 deaths from flu this year. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Burnout climbs its way to boards

Board members are a professional group less often linked to the chronic exhaustion and emotional fatigue of burnout. But governing bodies are now increasingly feeling the strain. Board members are noting longer meetings, more-rigorous prep work and more-frequent calls between meetings. One contributing factor to boards’ burnout is C-level turnover. As CEOs and C-suite leaders exit organizations, boards are forced to step up and take on a wider range of issues. In health care, CEO changes have ticked upward. U.S. hospitals saw 126 CEO exits through the first 10 months of the year, a 62% increase from the same time period in 2022. (Fortune)

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