Today’s NewsStand — Oct. 6, 2020

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

Iowa news

Iowa COVID-19 hospitalization count highest in five months

The COVID-19 hospitalization total in Iowa rose to its highest count in five months on Tuesday, according to the latest data provided by the state. At 10 am Tuesday, 413 Iowans were hospitalized because of the disease caused by the coronavirus, per the state’s data totals on its coronavirus.iowa.gov website. That figure is up from 389 on Monday and the highest daily report since a count of 417 on May 6. In the past 24 hours, 61 patients have been admitted. Also, there are 104 patients in the ICU, up from 99 on Monday. (Des Moines Register)

Tom Harkin: Health care is on the ballot in 2020

Tom Harkin, a former Iowa senator integral to passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, implored voters to think of the November elections not only as political contests, but as a referendum on health care in the United States. When the Affordable Care Act was crafted during the Obama Administration, Harkin served as chair of the Senate Finance Committee and as a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, providing him the opportunity to lead hearings drafting the monumental health care law. (IowaStartingLine.com)

Citing COVID-19 financial impact, Mercy Iowa City to close inpatient mental health unit

Mercy Iowa City plans to close its psychiatric inpatient unit at the end of the year due to financial losses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Outpatient services will continue to be offered through its Behavioral Health Clinic. (Iowa City Press-Citizen)

National news

New uses for telehealth: How virtual care has extended its reach

Telehealth isn’t just for urgent care. Consumers’ growing comfort with the platform — coupled with the demands of a public health emergency — has helped broaden the use of virtual visits to support a wide range of specialties that manage chronic illness. Some connections may seem surprising. (HealthTech Magazine)

HHS releases rural action plan

Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its Rural Action Plan. The plan details the challenges rural communities endure, provides an assessment of current and upcoming rural healthcare efforts, lays out a “Four Point Strategy” to address the disparities between rural and urban communities, and lays out an action plan featuring 71 action items for remediating the disparities consistent with the Four Point Strategy. (The National Law Review)

Move over, Teladoc: Are Google and Apple the Future of Telehealth?

In international relations, a proxy war is an armed conflict between two smaller groups each representing the interests of larger nations. Two recent examples saw the U.S. and Iran supporting opposing factions in Iraq in the mid-2010s and the U.S and Russia doing the same in Afghanistan during the early 1990s. (NASDAQ)