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Davis County Continues to Monitor Whooping Cough Outbreak

PRESS RELEASE
June 28, 2019

Davis County Continues to Monitor Whooping Cough Outbreak

Bloomfield, IA – The Davis County Public Health Department continues to monitor and track cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis. Pertussis is a very contagious disease caused by a bacterium. Although it can be prevented through vaccination, pertussis is one of the most commonly occurring diseases in the U.S. The disease begins like a common cold, with runny nose or congestion, and maybe a mild cough or fever. After one to two weeks, however, pertussis can evolve into a series of coughing fits that continue for weeks.

“Adults often have a milder version of pertussis, and don’t realize they are spreading the disease – this can have serious and even deadly consequences if a child who is too young to be vaccinated, or is not properly vaccinated is infected,” said Davis County Public Health Director Lynn Fellinger. “Pertussis can also result in serious consequences for adults with underlying lung conditions, like asthma. This is why pregnant women (during each pregnancy) should receive a pertussis vaccination to protect their newborn, and why teenagers and adults (especially those who are around infants) should check with their health care provider to ensure their vaccinations, including those for pertussis, are up-to-date.”

The most common symptoms of pertussis in children are fits of coughing, followed by vomiting, a ‘whooping’ sound as air is inhaled, and difficulty sleeping. In adults, however, only a lingering cough that can last months is often seen. This is why many adults do not realize they have pertussis. While treatment with antibiotics will prevent an individual from spreading the disease further after being diagnosed with pertussis, the cough may continue to last for weeks.

Davis County residents who believe they or a family member may have pertussis should contact their health care provider. Individuals who believe they may have been in contact with someone with whooping cough can contact the Davis County Public Health Department at 641-664-3629 for additional guidance.

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DCH Provides $2,197,224 in Community Benefits

Davis County Hospital provided $2,197,224 in community benefits to Davis County, according to a recently completed assessment of those programs and services. That amount, based on 2017 figures, includes $706,818 in uncompensated care and $1,490,406 in free or discounted community benefits that Davis County Hospital specifically implemented to help Davis County residents.

Community benefits are activities designed to improve health status and increase access to health care. Along with uncompensated care (which includes both charity care and bad debt), community benefits include such services and programs as health screenings, support groups, counseling, immunizations, nutritional services and transportation programs.

The results for Davis County Hospital are included in a statewide report by the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) that shows Iowa hospitals provided community benefits in 2017 valued at more than $880 million, including more than $224 million in charity care.

“This data demonstrates Davis County Hospital’s commitment to making our community healthier,” stated Sue Pankey, Chief Nursing Officer. “We will continue to provide healthcare services to our community to help those who need it and to ensure that we are working towards improved health and access to care in Davis County.”

The programs and services accounted for in the survey were implemented in direct response to the needs of individual communities as well as entire counties and regions.  Many of these programs and services simply would not exist without hospital support and leadership, said IHA President and CEO Kirk Norris.

Uncompensated care (which is made up of both charity care and bad debt) also plays a role in overall community benefit for services provided by hospitals. Total uncompensated care in 2017 was valued at $502 million. The survey also showed total Medicare and Medicaid losses (at cost) of $226 million.

More patients have been able to obtain services due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but many of the plans have high deductibles and as patients have services, we see an increase in Charity Care and Bad Debt expense. The ACA changes has provided insurance to thousands of individuals who are now able to seek health care.

Davis County Hospital has experienced an increase in Charity Care and Bad Debt expense largely due to changes in healthcare insurance plans,” commented Kendra Warning, Chief Financial Officer.  “As insurance premiums increase, patients are electing plans with higher deductibles to lower premiums but increases the patient’s out-of-pocket expense for services.  We had a 15% increase in gross patient revenue between fiscal year 2016 and fiscal year 2017, which also contributed to the increase in Charity Care and Bad Debt expense.”

Iowa hospitals, which employ more than 74,000 people, continue implement strategies that increase value to their patients and communities by offering high-quality care to individuals, addressing the health needs of communities and implementing process improvements that bend the cost curve. By seeking out ways to raise quality, reduce waste and increase safety, Iowa hospitals have become value leaders, as shown in multiple studies by the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, the Commonwealth Fund and others.

These efforts, along with IHA’s ongoing advocacy to create fairer payment methodologies from Medicare and Medicaid, help ensure the financial stability of hospitals, making it possible for them to provide the services and programs most needed by their communities.

Davis County Hospital Launches eEmergency Service

Patients who arrive at Davis County Hospital’s emergency department will now be treated by local medical providers, with assistance from an online team of board-certified emergency physicians and critical care nurses.

The new eEmergency telemedicine program, funded by a $176,091 grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Rural Health Program, went online recently at Davis County Hospital (DCH). The facility’s medical staff is now connected with Avera Health in Sioux Falls, S.D., where emergency professionals are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Using high-definition live video and sound equipment, Avera’s eEmergency virtual team can guide nurses and emergency staff until a local physician arrives. They can also consult with doctors on difficult cases.

“Davis County Hospital is committed to providing high quality, compassionate healthcare to our patients and their families,” says Sue Pankey, Chief Nursing Officer. “The addition of eEmergency technology allows us to continue this commitment and add a new benefit of Board Certified Emergency Physician oversight and support. With this grant, DCH will be able to continue improving emergency care and has the potential to reduce unnecessary transfer to distant tertiary care centers by having oversight of Board Certified Emergency Physicians readily available via telemedicine technology. We are grateful to the Helmsley Charitable Trust for their generous support in this endeavor.”

This type of hub-and-spoke health delivery, pioneered by Avera and Helmsley, is also being used to bring pharmacy services and intensive care specialty access to rural hospitals and patients across the seven-state region.

“In rural areas such as our seven-state region, a full complement of medical services is difficult to provide, especially in emergencies,” said Walter Panzirer, a Helmsley trustee and rural South Dakota resident. “The goal of the Helmsley Charitable Trust is to make quality healthcare available regardless of geography. eCare technology can help us do that.”

The eCare programs are part of the ongoing efforts of Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program to improve the lives of rural residents in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. Other efforts include training, emergency medical care, diagnostics, cardiac care, cancer care, and research into innovations that specifically address the challenges of healthcare delivery in rural America.

 

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $2 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $320 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, and Montana. For more information, visit www.helmsleytrust.org.

DCH Now Offering 3-D Mammography Exams

Beginning December 14, Davis County Hospital is excited to offer a new 3-D Mammography exam option that could improve early detection of breast cancer. Designed from the ground up with the input from women, the GE Senographe Pristina 3-D Technology, is the first mammography system to provide women with the “three Cs”: comfort, confidence, and clarity. Utilizing advanced breast tomosynthesis technology (also known as 3-D Mammography), these exams are clinically proven to significantly increase the detection of breast cancers, while also decreasing the number of women asked to return for additional testing (compared to 2-D mammography).

“Davis County Hospital is committed to the fight against breast cancer. Bringing this new technology to our patients will help us diagnose breast cancer even earlier, increasing the chances of good outcomes” states Kirby Johnson, CEO of Davis County Hospital.  “Our investment in this 3-D Mammography technology, allows us to provide the most cutting edge technology for our community, keeping people close to home for their medical needs.”

3-D Mammography exams create multiple images or “slices” that step through the breast tissue. This allows the radiologist to see more clearly and helps reduce the impact of overlapping breast tissue. The process is performed at the same time as a traditional 2D mammogram, on the same machine with no noticeable difference in the experience or time expended for the patient.

“All women may benefit from a 3-D Mammography exam; however, there is an increased benefit to women with dense breast tissue because dense breast tissue may look similar to cancer tissue. 2-D mammography can’t always differentiate between cancer and dense breast tissue” says Susan Haskell, Manager of Medical Imaging Services at DCH. “For example, if a 2-D mammogram detects an area of concern, the radiologists may want to further investigate with a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound or biopsy. Looking at the same breast tissue in 3-D, the radiologist may now see that the tissue is in fact normal breast tissue. In this scenario, the patient likely avoided a callback for an additional mammogram, giving patients a greater peace of mind.”

Not only does this system offer patients a greater peace of mind, it delivers the superior diagnostic accuracy at the same low dose as a 2-D mammography exam, the lowest patient dose of all FDA-approved 3-D mammography systems.

“We are excited to offer our patients this procedure, and we believe it’s important to broaden our geographic reach so that women across Southeast Iowa, have the option of choosing the lowest dosage exposure as possible, while receiving accurate results,” said Haskell.

If you’re interested in a 3-D Mammography exam at Davis County Hospital, please contact your primary care provider as well as your insurance to verify coverage of 3-D exam services. 3-D Mammography exams are offered at Davis County Hospital, located at 509 N Madison in Bloomfield, five days a week. Patients are able to be seen for Mammography appointments within two days of scheduling at Davis County Hospital.