NewsStand, Feb. 13, 2024

NewsStand, Feb. 13, 2024

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|February 12, 2024

Iowa news

Analysis shows Iowa ED wait times are fourth-lowest

CMS data shows patients in Iowa had the fourth lowest median time spent in emergency departments. Washington, D.C., patients had the longest time, while North Dakota had the shortest. The agency’s “Timely and Effective Care” dataset tracks patients’ average time in the emergency department before leaving. Data was collected from April 2022 through March 2023. Averages include data for Veterans Health Administration and Department of Defense hospitals. Nationwide, the median time patients spent in the ED was 162 minutes, up from 159 minutes in the 12 months ending in March 2022. In the same period ending in 2021, this figure sat at 149 minutes. (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)

How Des Moines plans to reduce ambulance trips to the ED

People who use ambulance services the most will be the focus of a new city program designed to reduce unnecessary emergency room transports. The fire department reviewed its 2022 data and found that 85 of the highest ambulance users amassed about 1,450 transports to area emergency rooms. That averages to just over 17 transports per person, and most involved issues that weren’t life-threatening. The fire department responded to a record number of calls in 2023 — just over 33,350, up more than 800 from 2022. People who overuse ambulance services often don’t have vehicles. Many have mental or physical disabilities that can complicate their care or decisions for calling. (Axios Des Moines)

ChildServe to relocate, expand Des Moines location

ChildServe’s Des Moines location on Woodland Avenue will move to a new site that will more than double the square footage of the current space. The location is pending final approval from the city of Des Moines. To support the expansion, ChildServe also launched in October a $10 million capital campaign titled “Growing Together: The Des Moines Campaign.” Tom Mahoney, ChildServe board member and past president and ITA Group board chairman, is chairing the campaign. ChildServe CEO Teri Wahlig, M.D., said the organization has “simply outgrown” its current facility. (Business Record)

National news

Health care job growth hits 32-year high

Throughout 2023, health care saw a rate of employment growth that it hadn’t seen in more than three decades. The finding is from an Altarum analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Jan. 31. Health care employment expanded by 3.9% in 2023, more than 2.5 times faster than all other industries, which grew by 1.5%. The last time health care experienced employment growth above 3.9% was in 1991, when the rate was 4.8%. Overall, 1 in 4 jobs created in the economy last year were in health care. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Can health systems afford AI talent?

Health systems are rapidly incorporating artificial intelligence into their operating models and clinical care delivery. Many are partnering with digital health companies or pioneering AI-driven electronic health records applications with external tech support. Others are building internal teams to set their AI strategy and propel their organizations into the future. Many AI positions garner six-figure salaries, which can be challenging for hospitals and health systems to manage with tight margins and multiple strategic priorities. But as AI becomes more ubiquitous in health care, can systems afford not to invest in it? Health systems at AI’s forefront are appointing chief AI officers and bringing on AI engineers. (Bloomberg)

Flu hints at another uptick

Although COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus metrics continue to decrease, flu activity remains high. It is rising again in some parts of the country, especially in the Midwest and South-Central regions. Flu metrics, including hospitalizations, had been falling for several weeks. But in the latest CDC update, flu admissions remained stable, with 12,186 new hospitalizations reported. Meanwhile, 16.2% of samples tested for influenza at clinical labs across the U.S. were positive, up from 14.2% a week earlier. Flu-related emergency department visits also rose slightly after several weeks of decreases. Eight flu-related pediatric deaths were reported this week, bringing the season’s total to 65. (Becker’s Clinical Leadership)

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