Lessons learned in real time at rural hospitals during pandemic

Quicker planning. Working together as networks. Focused staff deployment. The COVID-19 pandemic is giving hospital administrators and their healthcare providers ample opportunity in real time to learn new best practices to delivering medical care. 

The quick fixes they’ve tried since the pandemic broke have included more reliance on telemedicine, communicating frequently with the public and an old standard: getting government money. This story is part of a nationwide collaboration of Institute for Nonprofit News members examining the effect COVID-19 is having on rural health care.

Stimulus money was only a short-term fix as rural hospitals brace for the next COVID-19 surges

One by one, COVID-19 outbreaks popped up in April and May at meatpacking plants across the country, fanning fears that the infectious coronavirus could spread rapidly into rural states. Plants closed temporarily in small metro areas like Waterloo, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but also smaller Iowa towns like Tama, Columbus Junction and Perry. 

Leaders at Buena Vista Regional Medical Center in Storm Lake, a northwest Iowa town of 10,500 with a Tyson Foods packing plant, knew their time would come. “We just didn’t know to what degree,” Rob Colerick, the hospital CEO and administrator, said. “I mean, you saw it in Columbus Junction. You saw it in Waterloo.

Health and Human Services provider relief fund allocations in Iowa as of Oct. 15, 2020

This story is part of a nationwide collaboration of Institute for Nonprofit News members examining the affect COVID-19 is having on rural health care. IowaWatch reporting in this project was made possible by support from the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems.

Relief payments distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Health Resources and Services Administration have gone to the following Iowa health care providers, as of Oct. 15, 2020. The funds come via the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. These data show updates from previous databases IowaWatch has published.

‘A disjointed system’: Policing policies fuel criminalization of youth

“I thought Des Moines, Iowa, was gonna be better. But, you know, if you don’t change something, you’re going to still fall into the same thing you’ve been doing.” Melvin Gaye, Iowa juvenile offender. The history of police in America is a story of repeated promises to change from its gatekeepers, yet people of color, adolescents and other vulnerable populations say they continuously bear the brunt of its shortcomings. This report is part of Kids Imprisoned, an investigation of juvenile justice in America produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program. For more stories, visit kidsimprisoned.news21.com.21 special report

Youth in America are criminalized every day, with racial and socioeconomic disparities further increasing their likelihood of being policed, arrested or killed by law enforcement.

The ununited state of juvenile justice in America

As a child in the United States, justice often depends on where you live, the color of your skin, which police officer arrests you, or which judge, prosecutor or probation officer happens to be involved in your case. Juvenile courts across the country processed nearly 750,000 cases in 2018. About 200,000 of these cases involved detention – removing a young person from home and locking them away, according to data from the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. 

This report is part of Kids Imprisoned, an investigation of juvenile justice in America produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program. For more stories, visit kidsimprisoned.news21.com.21

Depending on where a young person lives, a crime like simple assault or gun possession could lead to a customized rehabilitation program with help from mentors. It also could mean confinement in a group home, where kids wear their own clothes and counselors call them by their first names.