Today’s NewsStand — June 16, 2020

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

Iowa news

HRSA awards a $1.9 million grant for MercyOne rural family medicine residency program

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a $1.9 million grant to develop a MercyOne Family Medicine Rural Residency Program. The grant, through HRSA’s Residency Training in Primary Care Program, will be used to increase accredited family medicine residency training in rural areas throughout Iowa to address the state’s shortage of such providers. The MercyOne Family Medicine Rural Residency Program will be the first family medicine residency rural track in the state of Iowa. (Des Moines Foundation)

Training providers remotely helps Genesis Health System safely expand telehealth visits

When COVID-19 hit Genesis Health System, IT staff members found creative ways to remotely train nearly 200 providers on telehealth technology in just two weeks. The Davenport, Iowa-based organization began as a testing partner for a telehealth solution more than a year ago, but the pandemic accelerated the need for virtual care. (Cerner.com)

Cedar Rapids organization forms support group for medical professionals during COVID-19

What COVID-19 has shown is that health care providers have always been more at risk for mental health issues and more at risk for suicide. They need to take care of themselves just as much as they’re taking care of other people. That’s why Covenant Family Solutions has developed “Helping the Helpers: A Support Group For Medical Professionals.” The six-week, closed support group provides psycho-education material and talks about compassion, fatigue, burnout and vicarious trauma. (KCRG)

National news

How many have died? Different ways of counting make the COVID-19 tally elusive

No measure of COVID-19 has come under more skepticism than the accuracy of the death toll — a pandemic statistic key in shaping public opinion and policymaking that been widely scrutinized and even the subject of conspiracy theories. The scrutiny centers around when should people who have COVID-19 but who also have other life-threatening underlying health issues, such as cancer or kidney disease, be counted in the COVID-19 death tally. (NBCNews.com)

Health care advocates push back against Trump’s erasure of transgender rights

Health advocates representing American hospitals, medical groups, insurers and civil rights associations condemned the Trump administration on Saturday for rolling back protections for transgender patients, and for doing so amid a global pandemic. The new rule, long sought by conservatives and the religious right, narrows the legal definition of sex discrimination in the Affordable Care Act so that it omits protection for transgender people. It also opens the door for health care providers to refuse to treat patients who have had abortions. (The New York Times)

Bill would make Medicare reimbursement permanent for certain telehealth services

Just days after CMS Administrator Seema Verma said she “can’t imagine going back” to a world without expanded telehealth access, two representatives introduced a bill that would make Medicare reimbursement permanent for certain telehealth services. The bipartisan Helping Ensure Access to Local TeleHealth, or HEALTH Act, would codify Medicare reimbursement for community health centers and rural health clinics for telehealth services. (Health Leaders Media)