Today’s NewsStand — March 16, 2020

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

Iowa News       

Iowa Legislature leadership has no plans to shut down over coronavirus
Republican leaders in the Iowa Legislature say there are no plans currently for the body to restrict its activities or restrict access to the public next week in light of the coronavirus. Lawmakers are heading toward a procedural deadline next Friday, March 20, and have plans to continue a normal debate and committee schedule. (Des Moines Register)

State revises revenue estimates based on coronavirus
State revenue estimators took a measured view Thursday of the economic turmoil caused by stock volatility, an oil price war and a global coronavirus pandemic in setting cautious projections for slow, stable economic growth at least in the short-term outlook. There’s fear, but there’s no need to panic, cautioned Holly Lyons, one of a three-member Revenue Estimating Conference that predicted state tax collections would grow by $76.1 million above the current expectation but would slow to 1.8 percent growth next fiscal year before rebounding to 4.1 percent in fiscal 2022. (KPVI)

Medicaid work requirements target poor Iowans but will hurt all of us
Republican state lawmakers want to impose work requirements on many Medicaid recipients. These politicians say the goal is to encourage people to enter the workforce — even though the vast majority of the beneficiaries being targeted already work. The more likely goal is one seen over and over with the GOP: placing more obstacles between government health insurance and poor people. But all Iowans who pay taxes and rely on this state’s health care infrastructure would feel the pain of work requirements. (Des Moines Register)

National News

US hospitals face major challenges as coronavirus spreads
William Olson, the chief of operations for eight Oregon hospitals, grew worried when he was shown a heat map of coronavirus cases and flulike symptoms among patients across seven Western states. The maps captured trends for patients of Providence, which owns 51 hospitals and shared the results early Monday with its hospital executives. Seattle’s outbreak, depicted in blue dots, was already ballooning. And now Portland had its own blue specks. If the pattern held, his hospitals were about to be severely tested. (Wall Street Journal)

Trump expected to sign order unleashing coronavirus funding
President Donald Trump is expected to sign a declaration that would unlock billions of dollars to offset fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, according to three people familiar with the situation. But aides gave conflicting signals on Thursday about when, exactly, he’ll do it — and what precise shape the president’s announcement might take. And Trump himself signaled that he had yet to make up his mind. A White House aide said Wednesday that it will be a limited declaration under the Stafford Act that would tap funding to pay for small business loans and missed paychecks for hourly workers, among other things. (Politico)

Drive-through COVID-19 testing launched by hospitals in parking lots, garages
As the number of U.S. COVID-19 cases expands, some healthcare providers are rolling out drive-through testing to help protect patients and healthcare workers from contracting the virus. Tenet Healthcare Corp. said Wednesday it’s prepared to perform drive-up testing for COVID-19 where patients could get tested without leaving their cars. The Dallas-based hospital chain’s CEO explained Wednesday at the virtual Barclays Global Healthcare Conference that the company has launched external triage centers at all of its 65 hospitals. (Modern Healthcare)