NewsStand, March 8, 2024

NewsStand, March 8, 2024

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|March 11, 2024

Iowa news

Business Council report shows Iowa’s need to address primary care and mental health

A report by the Iowa Business Council says that closing the gap with other states on access to mental health care providers will need increased public investment and directly affects Iowa’s business climate. The report shows Iowa had 207.4 mental health care providers per 100,000 residents in 2023 compared with 193.8 providers in 2022. The state ranked No. 43 in the nation in this area. Iowa fairs better with active primary care providers, ranking No. 26. Part of the solution could be increased work-based learning programs for health care workers and financial incentives, including more investment in existing loan forgiveness programs to retain and draw providers to Iowa. (Business Record)

Webster County Board of Supervisors declares emergency medical services essential

The Webster County Board of Supervisors declared emergency medical services essential. The proposal passed a third and final hearing last week, making Webster County one step closer to establishing countywide EMS service. This comes as several small towns in the county need help to keep up with EMS demand, and response times become lengthy. The next step is establishing a committee of EMS providers, elected officials and landowners. The committee will determine how EMS should be used in the county and how to fund it best. (KCCI)

GuideLink Center celebrates three years of mental health service

Johnson County’s GuideLink Center is reaching its third year of service, providing mental health and substance abuse treatment. Data shows more walk-ins than expected. Approximately 700 of the facility’s 4,000 admissions came from law enforcement. Over 1,000 came from health care providers. GuideLink’s Faraji Hubbard coordinates recovery and says it’s a “gift” for first responders to connect with struggling people. He says instead of inadequate care, jail time or a trip to the emergency room, the center offers a chance to get more help. Nearly 70% of GuideLink’s visitors reflected in the data were walk-ins. (Iowa Public Radio)

National news

Ransomware group leader told hackers to attack hospitals, FBI, HHS say

The ransomware group linked to the cyberattack on Change Healthcare also targets hospitals, the FBI and HHS warned. The BlackCat hacker gang has been focusing its attacks on the health care sector, with most of its 70 victims coming from that industry since December. The group’s administrator encouraged affiliates to attack hospitals that month after the FBI infiltrated its operations. BlackCat, also known as ALPHV Blackcat, claimed responsibility for the Feb. 21 hack of Optum subsidiary Change Healthcare, which has disrupted its payment and pharmacy processing systems at hospitals and pharmacies nationwide. The group also creates “victim-specific emails.” (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency)

CMS: Care quality, safety ‘worse than expected’ during COVID-19 pandemic

A new CMS report reveals disparities in care quality and patient safety within U.S. hospitals before and during the pandemic, finding “a large proportion of measures had worse than expected performance.” CMS’ National Impact Assessment is released every three years and evaluates the measures used in 26 CMS quality- and value-based incentive payment programs. This report compares quality measure scores pre-COVID-19 with hospitals’ results in 2020 and 2021, the initial years of the COVID-19 public health emergency. (Becker’s Clinical Leadership)

When ransomware strikes, who to call?

Ransomware attacks on health care organizations have cost the U.S. economy nearly $80 billion in downtime. Another expense doesn’t come with a price tag: The sense of stress and helplessness outages cause. As more details emerge about the operational effects of dayslong downtime by Change Healthcare after a cyberattack in February, the psychological impacts of this ransomware incident and others like it are intensifying and increasingly worth noting. As numerous parts of the health care ecosystem are affected, each one turns to another for answers, but with limited results. (Becker’s Health IT)


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