The Newsstand

Today’s NewsStand — Jan. 25, 2021

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

Iowa news

An Iowa hospital ‘under siege’: Courage, sorrow, exhaustion and worry inside an ICU fighting the coronavirus

Julie Scebold said a prayer as she tried to find calm at the bottom of her coffee cup. Her nurses had just lost their seventh COVID-19 patient in about as many days. He was a 30-something with a young family. So much potential, she thought, so much left undone. Dr. Tamim Mahayni, the ICU’s medical director, was on shift, guiding the patient’s family through their final decisions. At 36, Mahayni is basically the patient’s age, a harsh reminder that the coronavirus is an indiscriminate killer. No one, no matter how healthy, is entirely resistant. The man died on the first Sunday in December at the tail end of Mary Greeley Medical Center’s late fall surge, a crushing wave of patients that started around Thanksgiving. (Des Moines Register)

Report finds 40 rural Iowa hospitals at high risk of closing

More than 500 rural hospitals in the US were at immediate risk of closure before the COVID-19 pandemic because of financial losses and lack of reserves to maintain operations, according to a report from the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform. In 22 states, 25% or more of rural hospitals were at immediate risk. The hospitals identified as being at immediate risk of closure had a cumulative negative total margin over the most recent three-year period, and their financial situation has likely deteriorated because of the pandemic. In Iowa, 40 hospitals (44% of all hospitals in the state) are at high risk. (Becker’s Hospital CFO Report)

‘It’s not enough’: Too many people are declining to get a COVID-19 vaccination

If nearly all of us don’t get the vaccination, we are not only ignoring the power of science and the dedicated work of scientists, we are dishonoring the sacrifices of health care providers, and dismissing patient suffering, and the deaths of over 400,000 Americans. We are also ignoring the harm it has done to our economy, and the lives otherwise impacted. It means 40% of us don’t care about these sacrifices, or have been fed misinformation. (Des Moines Register)

National news

Study finds health care workers file most COVID-19 comp claims

Health care workers pose the greatest risk of developing COVID-19 infections and have been most likely to submit workers compensation claims, according to the results of a study published in Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and conducted by AF Group and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The study revealed that 83.7% of the 21,336 COVID-19-related workers compensation claims submitted and accepted by AF Group between Jan. 1-Aug. 31, 2020, from 11 Midwest states were from those working in health care. (Business Insurance)

Telehealth is not just technology

The COVID-19 pandemic has advanced the use of telehealth throughout the country, but the need to reach more patients, improve quality and efficiency, and cope with growing clinician shortages should continue to drive the expansion of telehealth even after the pandemic is over. (MedPage Today)

US to track COVID-19 variants, study whether vaccines remain effective

The US is increasing efforts to track the several coronavirus variants emerging as the virus continues to spread throughout the world, a health official said. The plan is to monitor “the impact of these variants on vaccines, as well as on our therapeutics,” as the virus continues to mutate while it spreads, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Voice of America)