NewsStand, Jan. 23, 2024

NewsStand, Jan. 23, 2024

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|January 22, 2024

Iowa news

Federal fix for rural hospitals has few takers so far

The hospital in Keokuk, which served rural areas of Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, closed Oct. 1, 2022. But new owners plan to reopen the hospital with the help of a recent federal payment system. The rural emergency hospital program guarantees hospitals extra cash if they provide emergency and outpatient services but end inpatient care. Residents would prefer a full-service hospital with inpatient beds, although those beds have been used sparingly in recent years. The revival of the Keokuk hospital would mark a small victory in the nationwide struggle to save rural hospitals, which continue to close because of staffing shortages, low reimbursement rates and declining patient numbers. (MPR News)

CHI Health, Creighton launch long COVID-19 call line

CHI Health and Creighton University School of Medicine have launched a telephone line to help connect patients with care and gather more information about COVID-19’s lingering effects. To access the program, patients experiencing long COVID-19 symptoms can call 402-818-2002. They will speak with someone at a CHI call center who will collect basic information and determine the next steps, including scheduling with participating primary care, infectious diseases, and pulmonary care providers for telehealth visits. The initial call will be free, but the telehealth visit will be billed as a virtual appointment. Iowa callers will be referred to Iowa providers but will not be followed by researchers. (Omaha World-Herald)

Iowa physician drives ATV into snowstorm to deliver baby — and arrives just in time!

A physician in Iowa had the perfect way of getting to the hospital to deliver a baby after a snowstorm blew in. On Jan. 12, Chase Brown, D.O., drove an ATV to the Shenandoah Medical Center and arrived just in time to deliver a baby girl named Birkley. The fantastic medical dash happened after Krystal Gardner went into labor on the morning of Jan. 12. Dr. Brown bought the ATV when he first started working in the area. This is the third delivery Dr. Brown has traveled to on his ATV. Gardner was having a scheduled cesarean section, and pregnancy complications meant that she needed to undergo the procedure that day. (People)

National news

Illinois hospital CEO on private equity hospital acquisition

As private equity firms pick up more hospitals, recent studies have tied these acquisitions to adverse patient outcomes. David Schreiner, Ph.D., president and CEO of Dixon, Ill.-based Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital, an 80-bed independent hospital with 950 employees, said that although the quality of care is essential, one positive aspect of private equity firm hospital acquisitions is access to capital. In early December, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, ranking member and chair of the Senate Budget Committee, launched an investigation into the effects of private equity hospital ownership. (Becker’s Hospital CFO Report)

New cancer diagnoses set to hit a new high in 2024

The expected increase in new cancer diagnoses this year is record-setting, even as overall cancer mortality is anticipated to continue its decline, the American Cancer Society said. The projections are based on the most recent data about population-based cancer occurrences and outcomes collected by central cancer registries through 2020 and mortality data from the National Center of Health Statistics through 2021. The projected number of new diagnoses tops 2 million for the first time, with an increase in six out of 10 top cancers. Notably, new colorectal cancer cases have shifted mortality patterns in adults younger than 50, and colorectal cancer has moved up from being the fourth-leading cause of cancer death to the first in men and second in women. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Why the AMA focuses more on Medicare reimbursement than AI

Although artificial intelligence is top of mind for many health care leaders, the American Medical Association said it’s more focused on Medicare reimbursement. The AMA released its principles for the deployment and use of AI in November but has lately been lobbying to overturn the 3.4% cut in Medicare reimbursement that took effect at the beginning of this year. This shows how many of the latest technology tools are still theoretical while finances are an ongoing, real-world concern. Only a little is happening on the health care AI regulation front anyway, save for new HHS transparency rules for AI developers in December. (Politico)

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