COVID-19 and the Health Workforce 12/15-12/29

12/15-12/29 Updates


Vaccine Administration

New state COVID-19 vaccination mandates are being put into place even as challenges to the federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate continue.

Vaccine Administration

(12/23/21) Supreme Court to Hear Challenges to Biden’s COVID-19 Vaccine Rules for Health Care Workers, Large Companies
The Supreme Court announced that it will take up legal challenges to President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination mandates for healthcare workers and big firms with more than 100 employees. These requirements were part of a series of initiatives proposed by the Biden Administration in September to combat the spread of the Delta variant, however, these have been challenged in court. The court has scheduled oral arguments in two sets of claims for January 7, 2022.

(12/22/21) California to Require Boosters for Healthcare Workers
California’s governor Gavin Newsom has announced a requirement for health care workers in the state to receive their third dose of COVID-19 vaccination by February. This rule also impacts workers in high-risk settings such as nursing homes, and any health care worker who has not currently received their booster will be required to be tested for COVID-19 twice weekly until they have received their booster.

(12/15/21) Court Revives Health Worker COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate in 26 US states
A federal appeals court has authorized a COVID-19 vaccination mandate to be reinstated in 26 states, following a nationwide injunction weeks ago. The 14 states that initially sued to prevent the mandate from taking effect will have the requirement halted for the meantime.

(12/15/21) Explaining the New COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Health Care Provider Staff
This issue brief from Kaiser Family Foundation tracks the federal COVID-19 vaccination requirement for health care workers from its initial publishing in November to the current impact. Legal challenges and reissuance have changed the mandate and its effectiveness.

Health Workforce Shortages

The Biden administration has announced plans to provide free COVID-19 at-home testing kits and emergency support for hospitals in select states.

Due to labor shortages, hospitals in some states are removing their COVID-19 vaccination requirement in efforts to attract and retain staff.

Health Workforce Shortages

(12/21/21) Biden Announces Free Home COVID Testing, Emergency Hospital Support to Head Off Winter Omicron Surge
President Joe Biden announced this week that his administration plans to provide half billion COVID-19 at home rapid-tests that will be distributed to Americans for free. In addition to opening new testing sites, the Biden administration is directing an additional 1,000 medical personnel from the armed services to assist at hospitals as needed starting in January and February 2022. The president has also ordered to deploy six emergency response teams (more than 100 clinical personnel and paramedics) to hard hit states including, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona, New Hampshire and Vermont.

(12/13/21) Some Hospitals Drop Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates to Ease Labor Shortages
Several of the largest hospitals in the US have dropped vaccine mandates for hospital staff after a federal judge halted a Biden administration that health workers get vaccinated. The mandates are being dropped due to rising labor costs, nurse shortages, and burnout.

Health Workforce Resiliency

Health care workers are experiencing difficulties treating COVID-19 patients that are requesting unapproved therapies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have decreased the mandatory isolation time for health care workers following COVID-19 infection.

Federal health care worker protections have lapsed as OSHA fails to continue its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard.

Following more than a year and a half of continual pressure and stress throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study finds many clinicians considering leaving health care altogether.

Health Workforce Resiliency

(12/26/21) Healthcare Workers Say Some COVID-19 Patients and Their Families Are Demanding Unapproved Therapies
Some healthcare workers report that some COVID-19 patients and their families are requesting unproven treatments and, in some instances, threaten healthcare workers. Healthcare workers say that there is still a lot of misinformation among patients, and it’s really difficult to communicate with patients who are unvaccinated, have caught COVID-19, and are looking for some instant relief.

(12/24/21) CDC Shortens Isolation Time for Health Care Workers With COVID-19
In response to the Omicron variant, the CDC is shortening the isolation period for healthcare workers who test positive for COVID-19. According to a new guideline released Thursday, healthcare workers with COVID-19 may return to work after seven days if they are asymptomatic and test negative. The agency says that the isolation period can even be shorter if there are staffing shortages. To return to work after the infection, healthcare workers should obtain a negative test result within 48 hours.

(12/21/21) First Health-care Worker COVID-19 Rule Ends As OSHA Goes Mum
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard rule for health care workers has lapsed, with no word yet on a replacement. No permanent regulation change has been implemented, even as COVID-19 infection and hospitalization continue to plague health care systems.

(12/21/21) ‘Great Resignation’ Could Be Coming for Healthcare As Clinicians Face Mounting Burnout and Stress, Study Finds
As the COVID19 pandemic continues to surge, data suggests that the US is on the brink of a turnover wave in the health workforce. A recent study published by American Medical Association (AMA) found that one in 5 physicians and 2 in 5 nurses plan to leave their current practice within 2 years. Another recent study by the Mayo Clinic found that about one-third of physicians and nurses plan to work fewer hours in the next year.