Today’s NewsStand — Jan. 11, 2021

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

Iowa news

Yes, vaccines are on the way. No, this is not the time to let your guard down.

The novel coronavirus doesn’t care that a new year is supposed to offer a new start. It doesn’t care about our pandemic fatigue. It is as deadly as ever. That means now is not the time to gather in restaurants, attend gun shows, board airplanes, meander through malls or convene a state legislature. Now is not the time to let our guard down. Just the opposite. We should be extra vigilant about physical distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and not sharing air. December was a national nightmare in this country by every measure of the pandemic. (Des Moines Register)

Iowa State research shows where most people contract COVID-19

New research from Iowa State University studied the spread of the coronavirus with hopes of predicting where it transmits most. We are familiar with the warnings about limiting social interactions in large public groups and keeping personal interactions to a minimum. Iowa State’s research backs that up. By studying people who died from the coronavirus, ISU researchers found more deaths connected to random public encounters versus small, more-controlled groups. (KCCI)

UI Health Care participating in new COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial
University of Iowa Health Care will participate in a large, Phase 3 clinical trial for a new COVID-19 vaccine made by Novavax. The multisite clinical trial, which aims to enroll 30,000 participants, will further validate the safety, tolerability, immunogenicity and efficacy of the vaccine against COVID-19. The University of Iowa site started vaccinations Monday, Jan. 4, and plans to enroll 250 participants. (Corridor Business Journal)

National news

Hospital prices just got a lot more transparent. What does this mean for you?

Hospitals face the new year with new requirements to post price information they have long sought to obscure: the prices negotiated with insurers and the discounts they offer their cash-paying customers. The move is part of a larger push by the Trump administration to use price transparency to curtail prices and create better-informed consumers. Yet, there is disagreement about whether it will do so. (Kaiser Health News)

Amid ongoing PPE crisis, physician-led efforts focus on needs of smaller health care entities

In March 2020, with reports of hospitals being overwhelmed amid the COVID-19 pandemic came news of facilities being woefully under-resourced as well. Not only were hospitals struggling to get access to equipment like ventilators, but they also were lacking basic personal protective gear like masks and gloves. Though dire reports, like health care workers being forced to use garbage bags as personal protective equipment, have died down, groups on the ground report that the problem has not gone away, with smaller health care facilities and physician offices still struggling to get the PPE they need. In fact, requests to one collection group, Get Us PPE, increased by more than 200% between November and December. (MedCity News)

Hospital price transparency took effect New Year’s Day — but, where is it?

In this brand-new year, imagine you’ve found your most-desired showroom vehicle at a local dealership. After haggling with the salesperson and the backroom manager, a process similar to playing ‘Let’s Make a Deal,’ you’re handed the following purchase agreement that reads (in short): “This negotiated price is an estimate only and is not a quote or a guarantee of the amount that you will eventually owe …” Now, wouldn’t that be a twist on the old way of doing things? But in health care, this is precisely the norm. (David P. Lind Benchmark)