Today’s NewsStand — April 29, 2020

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

Iowa news

Coe College partners with UnityPoint-St. Luke’s to offer housing to health care workers

A local college is partnering with a nearby hospital to offer its healthcare workers temporary housing, if needed, while fighting the spread of the novel coronavirus. Coe College and UnityPoint-St. Luke’s Hospital announced the partnership Tuesday, April 28. University officials said that it builds on the existing relationship between Coe and St. Luke’s which are located adjacent to one another in Cedar Rapids. Healthcare workers at St. Luke’s will be eligible to use college-owned housing if they are looking for a way to protect their families from accidental spread of COVID-19. (KCRG)

Surge in cases batters Cedar Valley hospitals

Normally a bubbly, optimistic presence at county briefings, Peoples Clinic co-medical director Sharon Duclos, MD, took to the podium Monday on the verge of tears. Dr. Duclos, along with medical directors from Black Hawk County’s two hospital systems, MercyOne and UnityPoint, described the surge in COVID-19 patients who have to be hospitalized and the health care workers on the front lines, wearing raincoats instead of medical gowns and cloth masks over their scarce N95 masks. But it is the patients not allowed to have their family by their sides, even as they lay dying, that is most devastating to Dr. Duclos. (The Courier)

First Iowan to receive plasma from recovered COVID-19 patient is home recovering

The first Iowan to receive plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient during treatment, is now recovering at home. Lance Becker spent nearly one month at UnityPoint in Des Moines after testing positive for the coronavirus. Doctors say despite the fact that he was 41 years old with no health conditions, the virus nearly suffocated him. Becker spent two weeks on a ventilator before getting plasma from a recovered COVID-19 patient. In just three days, his X-rays showed his chest was clearing up. But, doctors at UnityPoint say while the treatment made a huge difference, it’s too early to call it a cure for everyone. (KCRG)

National news

American hospitals and health systems, businesses, health insurance providers unite to ask congress to keep America covered

Today, a coalition led by the US Chamber of Commerce, the American Hospital Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans, and comprising nearly 30 other organizations, sent a letter to Congress urging swift action to protect Americans’ health care coverage in its response to the COVID-19 crisis. Stable health insurance coverage is essential to providing American families with the security they need, particularly as the nation comes together to overcome this global health crisis, and no one should hesitate to seek testing or treatment for COVID-19 due to concerns about costs. (US Chamber of Commerce)

Hospitals face financial hardship as COVID-19 continues to surge

Hospitals on the front lines of treating the coronavirus pandemic are projecting staggering losses, some as high as $50 billion a month, according to an NPR report on Thursday. The American Hospital Association and several other national hospital groups sent a letter to Health and Human Services asking the agency to make improvements to the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program. Most hospitals can get up to six months of Medicare payments in advance. (Pymnts.com)

A creative approach to rural, community health care

Alaska’s Community Health Aide Program was founded in the 1960s as a way for far-flung villagers to access basic medical services without traveling far. To become a community health aide, villagers attend an intensive program that includes classroom instruction, hands-on training and in-clinic practice. The training program gives aides the skills to provide a number of services, including eye exams, diagnosing ear infections, setting broken bones, and responding to emergencies. Other programs train aides to provide dental and behavioral health care. Once certified, the aides head back to their villages to start seeing patients, assisted by an interactive manual on their iPad and close communication with physicians. The community health aide program recently caught the attention of some in the lower 48. (Crosscut)