NewsStand — March 19, 2020

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

Iowa news

‘We’re getting ready’: Iowa City hospital staff is limiting elective care, preserving supplies in preparation for COVID-19

The head of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics had a message for his staff, and it would have ramifications. In an email sent Monday, Suresh Gunasekaran, CEO of UIHC, said he was postponing “elective and non-urgent surgeries” because of the coronavirus. “Critical and emergency surgeries” would take priority. (Des Moines Register)

SBA’s Iowa office seeks submissions to gain state eligibility for Economic Injury Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Iowa office is asking small businesses in the state facing economic losses from the COVID-19 pandemic to submit information to their County Emergency Management offices to declare counties eligible for disaster loans. (Business Record)

Iowa Governor Reynolds signs bill expanding roles for physician assistants

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill that will expand the roles of physician assistants in the state, enabling them to better serve patients. The bill allows physician assistants full prescriptive rights, legal protections similar to other health care professions, the ability to be reimbursed by Medicaid and a range of other changes designed to better enable them to serve patients. (KCAU 9)

 

National news

U.S. state coronavirus curves show many could be close behind New York

The state of New York now leads the nation in people confirmed to have COVID-19. “I don’t believe we’re going to be able to flatten the curve enough to meet the capacity of the health care system,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo warned in a press conference Monday. While the state contemplates more extreme measures to combat the rising flood that is beginning to overwhelm the state’s hospitals, other states with fewer confirmed cases may be just days or weeks behind New York. (Des Moines Register)

California turns to vacant hospitals, hotels to prep for surge of COVID-19 patients

California is preparing for worst-case scenarios resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, and its hospitals are bracing for a huge influx of patients, according to NBC Los Angeles. At a news conference March 17, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that the 415 hospitals in the state have about 88,000 beds. Health officials ran models to determine if the number of beds is sufficient for estimated hospitalizations and found that in the worst-case scenario, the state would be short 20,000 beds. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Influx of telehealth requests leading to long delays at Jefferson Health, Cleveland Clinic and more

With the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic leading many health care providers to direct their patients to seek care virtually, existing telehealth services are straining under the new and sudden flood of users. Though the newfound attention was initially seen as a boon for telehealth as a whole, providers and telehealth companies have changed their tune in just a matter of days, as that attention has resulted in major backlogs in requests. These delays are reportedly due in large part to shortages on the provider side. (STAT)