Seventy-seven Iowa hospitals collected $928.3 million in accelerated and advance Medicare payments that were available as a government stimulus to cover expenses in the COVID-19 pandemic’s early days last spring, an IowaWatch analysis of Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services data shows.
In 2015, the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy lacked training on implicit bias. As a cadet there then, Natasha Greene sought discussions on her own about some of the mistaken beliefs officers might hold of others, such as expecting a black person to be dangerous or more crime prone from stereotypes, ideas that could come from television or passed from family and friends. Now an Iowa State Police Department officer, Greene said these conversations were uncomfortable, as awkward as telling someone the zipper on their pants is down but you still do it.
“If I’m talking to somebody I care about and their fly’s down, of course I’m going to tell them their fly’s down because it would be more harmful for me to just let them carry on without knowing,” Greene said. Today those discussions are more serious and more uncomfortable as the May 2020 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police brought the Black Lives Matter movement and calls for defunding police. Implicit bias and training officers became part of the national conversation.
Iowa counties with the highest rates of COVID-19 infection are home to large meat packing plants. Part of a collaborative reporting project called “Lesson Plans: Rural schools grapple with COVID-19” in partnership with the Institute for Nonprofit News and several member newsrooms.
ByDean Russell and Jamie Smith Hopkins / Columbia Journalism Investigations and Center for Public Integrity |
In 2019, flooding hit the small Mills County, Iowa, town of Pacific Junction. Recovery is slow, Mayor Andy Young said in August 2020, a year after the waters rose 7 to 11 feet in nearly all homes. Three generations of his family live in “PJ.” The town will not be the same — and neither will the people. Young expects 125 to 135 families who were flooded will go for buyouts that are being offered.
Some rural Iowa hospitals will not survive the COVID-19 outbreak, industry leaders said Wednesday. That dire warning came as the Iowa Hospital Association revealed projections that show the state’s 118 hospitals, collectively, could lose as much as $2.17 billion in revenue by the end of this year.
Voters in one Iowa county of 9,000 cast their ballots the same way people purchase a Big Mac: in the drivethrough. The Bloomfield Fire Department, the usual polling location for Bloomfield, served all of Davis County’s eight sites this year. Cars could pull into the emptied equipment bays — where the firetrucks normally sit — and drivers could vote behind the wheel and then pull forward to exit. All across Iowa, COVID-19 precautions changed the 2020 primary with a huge vote-by-mail push and other steps like curbside or drive-through options happening Tuesday. Rural counties, with fewer options for buildings, got creative.
Iowa hospitals received $190.3 million in CARES Act relief fund payments in April and were expecting as much as $360 million more in a second round of federal relief aid, interviews and documents shared with IowaWatch show. Part of a special national collaboration, “Slammed: Rural Health Care and COVID-19”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared an Iowa hand sanitizer company of making misleading claims about its product’s ability to “mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19.” Prefense LLC, of Muscatine, faced an April 23 FDA complaint that made the company the nation’s first manufacturer to get an FDA warning letter claiming the firm marketed a hand sanitizer with unproven COVID-19-related claims.
ByGunnar Davis, Daria Mather, Tanner Krueger, Ann Haakonson and Jonathan Facio, Simpson College |
Paige Marsh went through five interviews before getting a job offer from a national insurance company, headquartered in Des Moines, back in January. “I have been in touch with the company every month since I signed my offer letter,” Marsh, a senior business administration major at Wartburg College, said. “And then I just got the call about the company freezing all new hires until 2021.”
She will continue to search for work in the meantime. College students, like Marsh, who are ready to hit the job market, now find positions hard to find or internships have been postponed or canceled. The jump to the “real world” is typically full of anxiety and uncertainty for seniors — and this year is no different with COVID-19 unsettling the job market.
An Iowa-based hand sanitizer manufacturer the Food and Drug Administration cited in April for saying its products could “mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19” says the federal agency is wrong. An attorney for Prefense LLC, of Muscatine, also said the company told the FDA that before the agency announced its April 23 complaint against the firm on April 27, and that the FDA hasn’t acknowledged that response.