Featuring hospital and health care headlines from the media and the web.
Beginning Thursday, all patients admitted to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics will be tested for COVID-19 — marking an expansion from the campus’ previous protocol to test only symptomatic inpatients. The UIHC inpatient test expansion follows a statewide testing ramp up and opening to anyone who wants one — with more than 197,000 total Iowans tested to date, including 22,182 confirmed positive cases. Previously, UIHC screened all inpatients upon admittance — checking temperatures and asking about symptoms and COVID-19 contacts — but it only ran tests on those with coronavirus symptoms, like cough, fever and other respiratory concerns. (The Gazette)
The coronavirus pandemic could cost Iowa hospitals well over a billion dollars. On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer checks in with hospitals, big and small, urban and rural, around the state to see how they’ve adjusted and to look into the future of health care in Iowa. IPR’s Natalie Krebs checks in to discuss her reporting on the Iowa hospital system. A new report commissioned by the Iowa Hospital Association says Iowa hospitals could lose $1.4 billion in revenue between March and September. (Iowa Public Radio)
We are living in stressful, anxious times. How ironic it is that the social distancing that is helping to slow the spread of the coronavirus has also created psychological distance, which is having an impact on mental health across the country. Amerigroup, together with our parent company Anthem, Inc., recently joined with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to recognize National Mental Health Month. This year’s theme was “You Are Not Alone.” The pandemic, while challenging for all of us, can be especially difficult for the vulnerable Iowans that Amerigroup has the privilege to serve. (The Gazette)
If large-scale shutdown policies — such as ordering people to stay home and closing schools — were not implemented after the coronavirus pandemic reached the United States, there would be roughly 60 million more coronavirus infections across the nation, a new modeling study suggests. The study, published Monday in the scientific journal Nature, involved a modeling technique typically used for estimating economic growth to measure the effect of shutdown policies across six countries: China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, France and the United States. (CNN)
Compounding the hardships of the coronavirus, some nursing homes have demanded that low-income residents turn over their $1,200 economic stimulus checks, a cash grab lawmakers want to halt. On Tuesday, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called on the Health and Human Services inspector general’s office to issue a warning to nursing homes and assisted living facilities that such practices are “improper and unlawful.” In the House, Reps. Richard Neal, D-Mass., and Frank Pallone, D-N.J., asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to spell out to nursing homes that the relief money from Congress is not considered income that facilities can legally claim to defray the cost of care. (WPMI)
The Trump administration announced it would distribute $25 billion to health providers caring for Medicaid patients following weeks of pressure from lawmakers and advocates. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had come under fire for its slow pace in sending out billions of dollars in coronavirus relief funds to providers in the safety net program, even as clinics and hospitals cut back services, lay off staff or shut down altogether. HHS announced $15 billion would go to providers in state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program; another $10 billion will go to safety-net hospitals that serve high volumes of Medicaid patients. (The Hill)