COVID-19 and the Health Workforce 12/1-12/14

12/1-12/14 Updates


Vaccine Administration

Some vaccination mandates are continuing while others are paused following legal challenges.

Health care workers in Michigan are struggling with surge capacity, largely attributed to low vaccination rates.

Vaccine Administration

(12/13/21) Court Rejects Religious Challenge to New York’s Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers
The United States Supreme Court rejected to block New York’s vaccine mandate for health care workers, which does not allow for religious exemptions to vaccination.

(12/10/21) CMS Suspends Vaccine Mandate Enforcement for Healthcare Workers
This article from The National Law Review covers the recent decision by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to suspend enforcement of the vaccine mandate for health care workers who receive funding from CMS. This decision comes following injunctions from federal courts to halt the mandate.

(12/10/21) Low Vaccination Rates Are Driving Michigan’s Worst COVID-19 Surge. Healthcare Workers Anticipate It Will Only Get Worse
Michigan has seen the greatest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations since the pandemic began. While vaccines have been accessible for a year, the majority of people hospitalized are unvaccinated. While cases and hospitalizations have increased in the state, it continues to have one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the country, with just 56% of persons receiving full vaccination.

(12/06/21) CMS Suspends COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced it will halt a vaccination mandate for workers receiving funding from CMS, citing injunctions from federal courts. While this federal mandate is paused, health systems may have their own vaccination mandates that are not subject to injunction.

Health Workforce Shortages

New York plans to halt elective procedures in hospitals with low capacity due to increased COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Health Workforce Shortages

(12/06/21) Gov Hochul Will Order Some NY Hospitals to Halt Elective Surgeries
Following sustained issues maintaining capacity, the governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, has announced new COVID-19 regulations that will halt certain elective procedures in an effort to maintain capacity. New York has previously paused elective procedures as a tool to address COVID-19 surges.


New research explores telehealth user experience at an outpatient cardiovascular clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New proposed legislation aims to maintain pandemic-related expanded access to telehealth services for those on Medicare.

COVID-19 has fallen from the list of top-5 diagnoses over telehealth, despite increased use of the service compared to earlier in 2021.


(12/10/21) Telehealth User Experiences During COVID-19: A Case Study of Outpatient Cardiovascular Clinics Affiliated With a Large Academic Practice
New research published in the American Journal of Accountable Care studies the user experience of patients accessing telehealth services from an outpatient cardiovascular clinic. The study found that barriers to successful telehealth use for patients were related to using the technology, whereas practitioners struggled with obtaining diagnostic information necessary for care. Patients, however, planned to continue using telehealth services.

(12/10/21) US Reps Introduce Bill to Ensure Permanent Access to Telehealth
A bipartisan bill endorsed by multiple telehealth advocacy groups has been introduced to the United States House of Representatives Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. The focus of the legislation is to allow access to telehealth regardless of location by lifting Medicare’s geographic and site restrictions on the services, something temporarily allowed in COVID-19 emergency response legislation.

(12/07/21) COVID-19 Drops Out of Top Telehealth Diagnoses in September Even As Virtual Care Use Rises
The use of telehealth has recently been rising following initial drops in utilization earlier in 2021, however COVID-19 diagnoses have fallen from the top-5 most diagnosed conditions.

Health Workforce Resiliency

The Utah Department of Health has partnered with health care organizations and health care workers of color to improve access to health care services and COVID-19 vaccination among communities of color.

Health care workers are experiencing increased incidents of violence from patients during surges in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

New surveys look at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on various health care professions.

Health Workforce Resiliency

(12/09/21) Frontline Health Care Workers of Color Bridge Racial Gap in Time of COVID-19
Lack of trust and access to health care services caused extensive damage on Utah’s communities of color during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare attempt to address this challenge by collaborating with local health workers by launching the COVID Communities Partnership. The community health workers bridge the language and cultural gap and mitigate vaccine hesitancy among people in communities. The Utah Department of Health reports that, “since the program began last March, they have referred 19,875 to COVID testing and 40,704 to vaccine clinics.”

(12/09/21) Healthcare Workers Face Increasing Violence From Patients Amid COVID-19 Surge
A spike in COVID-19 cases and workforce shortages have strained Michigan hospitals. On top of those concerns, hospitals say that they are currently dealing with an uptick in violence directed at their employees. According to health officials, the situation is escalating as hospitals get overcrowded and wait times lengthen.

(12/03/21) New Survey Reveals the Significant Impact of COVID-19 on Nurse Satisfaction Levels
A recent survey conducted by Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and Cross Country Healthcare Inc found that nearly 37 percent of nurses feel they are burned out, stressed and overworked. Only 32 percent of nurses surveyed feel that they are very/completely satisfied with their occupation, which is an 20 percent decrease from before the pandemic. 29 percent of nurses desire to leave the profession due to the the nursing shortage and inadequate staffing. 85 percent of nurses believe national licensure would be a benefit to the country during the pandemic.

(12/02/21) The Psychological Toll of the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Hit Mental Health Providers Hard, Too
A new Penn Medicine study finds that the COVID-19 pandemic has effected mental health providers noting a concerning trend of burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and financial strain. The study surveyed 49 public mental health clinicians in Philadelphia. All the clinicians surveyed specialize in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy.

(12/02/21) Marshfield Leaders Tackle Pandemic’s “Brutal” Impact on Morale
After surveying their staff and finding widespread reports of burnout and exhaustion,
leadership at Marshfield Clinic Health System in Wisconsin has taken great measures to boost morale and provide financial and mental support. Marshfield now offers more flexible working options to cut back on physician burnout and focus on the well being of their staff.