Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.
IDPH announces first flu-related deaths of the 2019-2020 influenza season
The Iowa Department of Public Health announced Friday the first flu-related deaths of the 2019-2020 influenza season: an older adult, 61-80 years of age, Central Iowa woman, and an 81+-year-old Northwest Iowa woman. Both women had underlying conditions or contributing factors, according to IDPH officials. This week flu activity in Iowa has increased to local spread, indicating that the virus is present in Iowa communities. IDPH Medical Director Dr. Caitlin Pedati says these deaths are an unfortunate reminder that flu can be a serious illness. (SkyStatement)
A roof and four walls, part 1: Why are physicians turning to housing for patients?
In his three decades as a psychiatrist, Dr. Michael Flaum said he has seen a significant change in his profession. Today, groups like local Shelter House are intent on getting people connected with stable housing as a first step. While working to connect people experiencing homelessness with homes can seem like an obvious solution, it hasn’t always been a priority. Flaum practiced psychiatry at the University of Iowa for three decades. He is the president of American Association of Community Psychiatrists. (Iowa City Press-Citizen)
UIHC cardiologists provide new option for high-risk heart patients
Cardiologists at University of Iowa’s Heart and Vascular Center are the first in the state to use a new procedure that makes heart valve replacement safer for some high-risk patients, many of whom had no other options before. The new procedure, called BASILICA—or bioprosthetic aortic scallop intentional laceration to prevent iatrogenic coronary artery obstruction—will increase the options for patients for whom traditional valve replacement procedures are too risky or simply won’t work. (University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics)
Hospitals — and now insurers — to reveal secret rates under latest Trump admin pitch
The hospital and payer lobbies are sure to fight back against what would be a landmark shift in health care. Industry has argued the rule exceeds the government’s authority and would actually increase prices. Starting in 2021, hospitals would be required to release negotiated rates in a machine-readable format with accompanying CPT codes, while making a second version that’s more consumer-friendly and includes data for 300 “shoppable” services, like X-rays and imaging and lab tests. (Healthcare Dive)
Hospitals waste billions on bad supply chain management, Navigant says
In the ever-competitive hospital business, facility managers are always trying to find an edge. Better supply chain management may provide it, but there is still much room for improvement, according to Navigant’s annual survey of the process. Just between 2017 and 2018, wasteful spending on supplies rose 11.8%, or $2.7 billion. Some hospitals have begun turning to automation to make their supply chain more efficient, but that is often in response to potential supply shortages. And while Amazon has tried to make a big splash in that arena, it has had uneven performance to date. (Healthcare Dive)
Startup seeks to hold doctors, hospitals accountable on patient record requests
Federal law requires that health care providers make copies of medical records available within 30 days after patients request them and, when possible, in the format they desire. But many patients, who may have records scattered across doctors’ offices, labs, hospitals and clinics, say responses from health care providers can range from sluggish to churlish. A Silicon Valley startup called Ciitizen requests medical records on behalf of cancer patients and redacts them for clarity and legibility. (Kaiser Health News)