Today’s NewsStand — March 13, 2020

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

Iowa News       

Coronavirus in Iowa: How many cases have been confirmed and where are they located?
The coronavirus continues to spread across the United States and the rest of the world, and Iowa is not immune. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the first three cases to be discovered in the state on March 8. The next day, five more cases were announced, with cases reported in both the east and west parts of the state. Nobody in Iowa has died from COVID-19, the disease caused by this strain of coronavirus. (Des Moines Register)

Medicaid testimony encourages oversight leaders in Iowa
An update Wednesday on Iowa’s controversial Medicaid managed care program from the Department of Human Services was encouraging for leaders of the Iowa House Government Oversight Committee. Human Services Director Kelly Garcia and Medicaid Enterprises Director Michael Randol briefed the oversight committee on work they’ve done to address concerns over prior authorization and timely payment issues. They told lawmakers they developed new processes and are meeting regularly with the private managed care organizations to ensure they are living up to the contracts. (Sioux City Journal)

Gov. Reynolds continues push for water quality, mental health action this year
Iowans are demanding action now on a 10-year-old proposal to use a new sales tax to pay for conservation, water quality, trails and public land, an aide to Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday. The governor will extend her string of nearly a dozen town halls about that proposal and other parts of the Invest in Iowa Act until the House and Senate act, said Reynolds communications director Pat Garrett. So far, the full House and Senate haven’t taken up the legislation, considered one of Reynolds’ top proposals for this session. (Oskaloosa Herald)

National News

Hospitals dipping into emergency stocks to combat coronavirus
Hospitals in some of the areas hardest hit by COVID-19 have started to dip into emergency supplies for personal protective equipment. The World Health Organization has said the situation is “very close” to a pandemic as more than 113,600 cases were reported worldwide as of late Tuesday morning. Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the administration’s response to the outbreak, said Monday evening White House officials would be meeting with hospital and health insurance leaders, although he gave no further details. (Healthcare Dive)

Coronavirus prompts hospitals to fast-track telemedicine projects
Hospital chief information officers, no strangers to emergencies, are putting in place new systems and workflows to get ahead of a growing coronavirus epidemic that threatens to tax limited resources and staff. Their tasks include greenlighting telemedicine projects to reduce expected patient gridlock, developing digital dashboards to speed triage, and testing and retesting systems expected to allow staff to work remotely. (Wall Street Journal)

House Democrats introduce multi-billion dollar coronavirus package
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top House Democrats on Wednesday introduced a multi-billion dollar bill in response to the coronavirus outbreak, with emergency provisions that include paid sick leave, widespread free testing, food aid and unemployment insurance. The House is expected to vote Thursday on the sweeping package, which will have broad support from Democrats. Republican leaders and the White House are aware of the provisions in the bill, but have not announced their position on the legislation yet. (Politico