COVID-19 and the Health Workforce 11/15-11/30

11/17-11/30 Updates

Vaccine Administration

A federal judge has blocked a federal vaccine mandate for health care workers from taking effect in 10 states.

Many health care workers remain unvaccinated, even as both state and federal vaccine mandates are issued and deadlines draw near.

The state of Washington has lost 2% of its health workforce following vaccination mandates for health care workers. 

Vaccine Administration

(11/29/21) Judge Blocks US COVID-19 Vaccine Rule for Health Workers in 10 States
A district judge in St. Louis has prevented a health care worker vaccine mandate from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to go into effect, following a legal challenge from 10 states. The states impacted by the ruling are Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

(11/18/21) A Look at the Health industry’s Unvaccinated Worker Problem
This article examines the political vax divide debate from all sides. As of this article, 30 percent of health care workers are still unvaccinated despite imposed mandates by providers. Political affiliation plays a major role in who is getting vaccinated. Republicans are 26 percent less likely to be vaccinated than Democrats. The article also looks at the legal battle over Joe Biden’s vaccine requirement.

(11/18/21) Nearly One Third of Healthcare Workers in US Hospitals Are Still Not Vaccinated Against COVID-19, CDC Study Finds, As Vaccine Mandate Looms
New research from the CDC indicates nearly one-in-three workers in hospitals in the US are not vaccinated for COVID-19. This research found that workers at children’s hospitals have the highest rates of vaccination, whereas workers at critical access hospitals have the lowest rates of vaccination.


Health Workforce Shortages

Texas is using federal funds to pay temporary health care workers to keep hospitals open through workforce shortages.

Health care workers in Oregon struggle with chronic staffing shortages through the pandemic.

Many health care workers have quit during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to stress, poor working conditions, and workforce shortages.

Health Workforce Shortages

(11/24/21) Texas Has Spent $7B in Federal Money to Pay Temporary Health Care Workers During COVID Pandemic
Texas has spent approximately $7 billion of federal COVID-19 funds since the pandemic to hire temporary nurses, respiratory therapists, and some physicians to sustain operations at hospitals and alternate care centers. However, the state is trying to close the expensive program. Some health professionals in the state are concerned that the decision may be premature when considering many people who would gather inside and without masks during the forthcoming holidays, including unvaccinated state residents, resulting in a spike in seasonal flu and COVID-19 infections that further strain hospitals to capacity.

(11/24/21) Oregon Health Care Workers Report Long Hours, Insufficient Staffing as COVID-19 Crisis Continues
Health care employees in Oregon report that their work environments have become more difficult in recent months as a result of the surge in the summer. Health care workers have not recovered physically or emotionally from the toll taken by COVID-19 over the last year and a half. Additionally, there is a work culture concern. Healthcare employees feel required to volunteer for shifts in order to assist their colleagues, or they choose to work additional shifts rather than entrusting their patients’ care to a temporary replacement.

(11/16/21) Why Health-care Workers Are Quitting in Droves
This Atlantic article examines the reasons behind ⅕ health care workers leaving the profession during the pandemic. Burn out, salary cuts, health workforce shortages, grueling working conditions extreme exhaustion, and post traumatic stress are some of the factors contributing to workers quitting and making the job of those who stay exceedingly difficult.


New federal relief funding seeks to expand telehealth capabilities for family planning providers.

Advocates call for telehealth regulations to promote the expanded access seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, citing patient and provider utilization and satisfaction.

New research compares telephone and video-based telemedicine delivery from safety-net providers in New York State during the COVID-19 pandemic.


(11/30/21) HHS Dedicates $35M for Telehealth Expansion in Title X Family Planning
Following the expanded use of telehealth services during the COVID-19 public health emergency, the US Department of Health and Human Services is delivering $35 million in relief funding to improve telehealth service from family planning providers. This relief funding was provided following successful widespread and accelerated use of telehealth among family planning programs during the pandemic.

(11/29/21) Telemedicine Will Remain Even As the COVID-19 Crisis Recedes
This article from The National Law Review takes a look at telemedicine as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and many policies that enabled the rapid expansion of the service are expiring. More than half of providers view telemedicine favorably, with utilization stabilized at 38 times pre-pandemic levels.

(11/22/21) Telehealth Should Be Lasting Care Mode, Not a Temporary Measure
An article form the American Medical Association highlights the importance of telehealth services in the long-term for many patients and providers, advocating for telehealth regulation to permanently enable the service in its expanded role following the COVID-19 pandemic.

(11/15/21) Telephone vs Video Visits During COVID-19: Safety-net Provider Perspectives
New research published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine offers a comparison of telephone-based and video-based telemedicine delivery in New York State during the first 9 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The study focused on safety-net providers and found that telephone visits were conducted more frequently than video throughout the study duration.

Health Workforce Resiliency

New research examines health care professionals’ experiences of moral injury prior to vaccine availability.

Providers treating health care workers with Long COVID are often skeptical of their symptoms, causing a breakdown in trust between medical colleagues.

A new federal investment seeks to increase the size and diversity of the health workforce.

Health Workforce Resiliency

(11/26/21) Morally Injurious Experiences and Emotions of Health Care Professionals During the COVID-19 Pandemic Before Vaccine Availability
This article published in JAMA Network Open answers to a question: How did health care workers experience moral injury during the COVID-19 pandemic before the availability of vaccines? In this study focusing on US healthcare workers, the healthcare workers expressed fear of contracting COVID-19 and spreading the infection to family and friends, stigmatization, short-staffing, and inadequate personal protective equipment. They also indicated a growing distrust and fear of patients and coworkers who hid in symptoms ultimately exposing other people, which the authors called moral injury.

(11/24/21) Even Health-care Workers With Long COVID Are Being Dismissed
Following illness with COVID-19, some health care workers are experiencing symptoms long after, a condition called Long COVID. This condition is changing the way many health care workers provide care, forcing some to leave the profession altogether.

(11/23/21) Biden Administration Spending $1.5 Billion to Increase, Diversify Health Workforce
Vice President Harris announced this week that the Biden Administration is issuing 1.5 billion in grants to increase and diversify the health workforce. The funds will support over 22,000 providers and will go to the National Health Service Corps, Nurse Corps, and several other programs.