Today’s NewsStand — Feb. 27, 2020

Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the Web.

Iowa News       

No coronavirus cases in Iowa, monitoring seven
Seven people are being monitored for novel coronavirus in Iowa, according to state officials. The Iowa Department of Public Health reports the patients are asymptomatic, or showing no symptoms, of coronavirus, or COVID-19. Thirty people have completed public health monitoring and two have tested negative for the virus in Iowa since Feb. 3, according to the department’s website. (Mason City Globe Gazette)

Eastern Iowa Mental Health and Disabilities Region considers cuts to peer-to-peer services
he Eastern Iowa Mental Health and Disabilities Region took its first look at a fiscal year 2021 budget that is $3 million less than this year’s budget. The budget, which was for discussion purposes only, is $7,797,992, down from $10,861,905 this year.  Muscatine County is set to leave at the end of the fiscal year, so the budget reflects four member counties rather than five. Mental Health Board CEO Lori Elam said the budget could be altered as the board saw fit. (Quad City Times)

MercyOne Clinton program aims to reduce falls
More than one-third of people aged 65 or older fall each year. The threat of falling can be a barrier to safely doing all of the things they normally do or would like to do. That’s why preventing falls is crucial to maintaining independence. To help with this, MercyOne Clinton Medical Center offers Stepping On. Stepping On is a program that has been researched and proven to reduce falls in older people. It consists of workshops held for two hours each week for seven weeks, led by two health professionals. Local guests also provide expert information on exercise, vision, community safety and medications. (Clinton Herald)

National News

Study begins in US to test possible coronavirus treatment
The first clinical trial in the U.S. of a possible coronavirus treatment is underway in Nebraska and is eventually expected to include 400 patients at 50 locations around the world, officials said Tuesday. Half of the patients in the international study will receive the antiviral medicine while the other half will receive a placebo. Several other studies, including one looking at the same drug, are already underway internationally. (Associated Press)

America’s mental health crisis hidden behind bars
New inmates with a mental illness arrive daily in the LA County jail system. It now holds more than 5,000 inmates with a mental illness who’ve had run-ins with the law. Some 3,000 are held in the jail’s Twin Towers. Across the country, there are dozens of places like Los Angeles’ Twin Towers, warehousing people in settings with inadequate staff, services and support. It’s a culmination of decades of policies affecting those with a mental illness. Many of the nation’s asylums and hospitals were closed over the past 60-plus years. (Iowa Public Radio)

HHS releases strategy for reducing EHR administrative burden
HHS on Friday acknowledged that electronic health records pose a significant burden on clinicians and suggested tactics the federal government can pursue to ease the pain. The strategy, published by the CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, was mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act. The agencies have been working on the strategy since mid-2017. A draft strategy was released in late 2018 and elicited more than 200 comments from the public. (Modern Healthcare)