Today’s NewsStand — June 4, 2020

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

Iowa news

UIHC brings back hospital visitors with required face coverings

University of Iowa Health Care says its loosening some of its restrictions on hospital guests, which had been in place since March to protect the facility from COVID-19. Adult inpatient, surgical and procedural patients will be allowed one visitor or support person per day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For children, two parents or legal guardians will be allowed per day. Guests are required to wear a face mask. They are encouraged to bring their own but hospital staff can provide them if need be. (KWWL-TV)

Lawmakers, please don’t lose momentum on mental health

The past two months have been stressful for all Iowans, particularly for children and families and that has put stress on our mental health resources. Clinic mental health care services have been reduced and even eliminated in some Iowa communities due to the need to devote resources to patients with COVID-19. Telehealth video counseling sessions are only available to those with Wi-Fi or unlimited data, and not all insurance companies reimburse providers the same rate for telehealth as for in-office visits. (Oskaloosa Herald)

Iowa must do more to foster health of mothers and new babies, especially during pandemic

The policies intended to reduce COVID-19 enacted by our area hospitals have a detrimental impact on the health and well-being of mothers, babies, and their families. COVID-19 is one crisis placed on top of another — the well-documented US maternal health care crisis. We must do all we can to limit exposure and stop the spread of COVID-19, but we cannot do that at the expenses of human rights, informed consent, and the health and well-being of mothers and babies. While we have limited evidence on the spread of COVID-19 from mother to baby, we have ample evidence of the harm separating babies from their mother has on both mother and baby. (Des Moines Register)

National news

Why rural hospitals may not survive COVID-19

To reach North Sunflower Medical Center from any direction, travelers must first drive through miles of open fields filled with cotton, corn and soy. Eventually, they’ll land in the center of Ruleville, Mississippi, whose population of 2,800 is smaller than the number of monthly visitors the clinic sees ordinarily. Some patients travel from as far as 45 miles away to receive care here. But the past couple of months have not been ordinary. Since March, when the World Health Organization labeled COVID-19 a pandemic, almost 50% of North Sunflower Medical Center’s patients have stopped showing up. (National Geographic)

One-fifth of nursing homes not reporting COVID-19 data

One-fifth of the nation’s nursing homes are failing to comply with federal regulations requiring them to report COVID-19 data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of May 24, only 12,500 nursing homes — approximately 80% of the 15,400 Medicare and Medicaid nursing homes in the nation — had reported the required pandemic data to the CDC. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, those facilities have reported over 60,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and almost 26,000 deaths. (Bellevue Herald-Leader)

AHA asks HHS for $52B in emergency funding

The American Hospital Association this week pressed the federal government for an additional $52 billion in “expedited” emergency funding to help the nation’s hospitals stem losses accrued during the coronavirus pandemic. Hospitals across the nation have all but shuttered most elective and outpatient services for the past two months to contend with COVID-19. The AHA estimates a total four-month financial impact of $202.6 billion in losses for hospitals and health systems, an average of $50.7 billion per month. (Health Leaders)