Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the web.
Hy-Vee announced Friday it is seeking to hire 1,000 pharmacy technicians across its eight-state region. The company seeks to increase its pharmacy workforce as it expands it’s COVID-19 testing services and prepares for a distribution of a vaccine. Hy-Vee plans to hire both full and part-time pharmacy technicians at its more than 270 pharmacies to provide additional support to the pharmacists to care for patients as the pandemic increases demand on health care professionals. On Nov. 12 the US Dept of Health and Human Services named Hy-Vee one of its national COVID-19 vaccine providers once its available. (KTIV)
US hospitals slammed with COVID-19 patients — including the University of Iowa — are trying to lure nurses and doctors out of retirement, recruiting students and new graduates who have yet to earn their licenses and offering eye-popping salaries in a desperate bid to ease staffing shortages. With the virus surging from coast to coast, the number of patients in the hospital with the virus has more than doubled over the past month to a record high of nearly 100,000, pushing medical centers and health care workers to the breaking point. Nurses are increasingly burned out and getting sick on the job, and the stress on the nation’s medical system prompted a dire warning from the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (WHBF)
This year, more than 20% of Iowa children are missing routine vaccinations that protect against highly contagious and preventable diseases including measles, whooping cough and polio, according to new data released by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The trend in Iowa is similar to nationwide data from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, which shows children are on track to miss an estimated 9 million vaccination doses in 2020, a decline of as much as 26% from 2019. (Business Record)
President-elect Joe Biden has tapped leaders to oversee his administration’s COVID-19 response and asked Anthony Fauci, MD, to serve as his chief medical adviser and help his administration with its COVID-19 response plan. Dr. Fauci also will stay as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (Becker’s Hospital Review)
The US saw highs for COVID-19 cases this week, but the increases do not yet reflect expected increases from Thanksgiving weekend exposures, according to the COVID Tracking Project. The US reported 210,161 new COVID-19 cases Dec. 3. Leaders with the Project noted before the holiday that Thanksgiving infections are unlikely to be clearly visible in official case data until at least the second weekend in December given what is known about the virus’s progression and delays in reporting systems. (Becker’s Health IT)
America’s poor track record vaccinating people against the flu spells trouble for the coming effort to immunize the nation against COVID-19, particularly in rural areas where the virus is raging out of control. An analysis of flu vaccine rates among Medicare participants shows rural counties from West Texas to northern Nebraska to the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula had some of the country’s lowest vaccination rates in 2017, the most recent year with data. It’s a pattern that holds true nationwide. The more rural the county, the lower flu vaccination rates tended to be. (USA Today)