NewsStand — March 20, 2020

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

Iowa news

Iowa poll: Majority of Iowans support three-eighths cent sales tax increase to fund water quality
A majority of Iowans would like to see a three-eighths of a cent sales tax increase to fund water quality and outdoor recreation projects, a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows. The poll’s findings come as Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has pushed this year to raise the state’s sales tax by a full penny to fund water quality efforts, boost state funding for mental health and cut income and property taxes to offset the sales tax increase. (Des Moines Register)

Wellfare reform bill set for discussion when legislature resumes
The current Iowa legislative session is on an indefinite hiatus, but public debate on some of the more contentious bills continues during the interim. One such topic is welfare reform legislation, proposed by Senate Republicans. State Senator Jake Chapman, (R) District 10, says Senate File 2366 has two components. The first seeks to correct overpayments through the food stamp program, as Chapman says the state has been fined by the federal government for misappropriation of funds in the past. The second aspect has drawn ire from opponents, as it requires individuals in the Iowa Health and Wellness Program to be employed in order to be eligible for Medicaid. (Raccoon Valley Radio)

Mental health tips for coping with COVID-19 fear
Without the freedom to socialize and go to work as we could mere weeks ago, focusing on our mental health and developing some simple habits now is more important than ever. There are a few key ways to maintain a sense of calm, according to Dr. Laura L. Fuller, a clinical associate professor at the University of Iowa Department of Psychiatry.  A licensed psychologist, Fuller said in addition to following the everyday basics of maintaining mental health we should also establish what we each individually would consider our “new normal.” (Iowa City Press Citizen)

National news

Match day celebrations go virtual amid COVID-19 outbreak
Since its first class graduated in 2013, Match Day at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine has been celebrated pretty much the same way every year. The senior medical students — along with their loved ones and faculty — gather in the lobby of the school where they all simultaneously open letters at noon informing them where they’ll spend their residency training. After a few seconds of silence, applause and cheers erupt from the crowd. Tears are usually shed, too. “For every medical school in the country it’s the biggest day of the year,” said Dr. Steven Scheinman, dean of the Scranton, Penn.-based school. “There is four years of anxiety leading up to it and the students worked very hard leading up to this moment.” (Modern Healthcare)

Rural health care providers brace for outbreak surge
Rural hospitals and clinics are “vigorously preparing” for the possibility of an outbreak of intense respiratory disease in their communities as a result of coronavirus, according to Brock Slabach, senior vice president for member services for the National Rural Health Association. (West Central Tribune)

“Do this for me”: How to convince older loved ones to socially distance
The group text came in from a concerned and well-meaning relative on Friday morning: a list of tips for keeping yourself safe from the coronavirus purporting to be “from Stanford,” (Stanford has since responded to the widespread email, saying the information is inaccurate and not from them) including self-testing for breathing difficulties by holding your breath (debunked), and sipping water every 15 minutes (sorry, no). (Vox)