COVID-19 and the Health Workforce 12/30-1/11

12/30-1/11 Updates


Vaccine Administration

As the US Supreme Court continues to evaluate various vaccination mandates, they are considering allowing the mandate for health care workers to remain.

New York is now mandating health care workers receive their COVID-19 booster shot within 14 days of eligibility, with only medical exemptions allowed.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have announced new guidance for 25 states impacted by the federal health care worker mandate.

Vaccine Administration

(01/07/22) Court Seems Poised to Block Vaccine-or-test Policy for Workplaces but May Allow Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers
Oral arguments were held in two sets of challenges to the Biden administration’s authority to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. The judges were skeptical of the administration’s effort to impose a vaccine-or-test mandate on large employers. In the second case, the justices were more open to the administration’s attempts to enforce a vaccination requirement for health care workers at federally funded institutions.

(01/07/22) Hochul: Health Care Workers Will Need COVID-19 Booster Shot
New regulations for health care workers have been announced by New York governor Kathy Hochul. Health care workers in the state of New York will now be required to receive a COVID-19 booster shot within 14 days of eligibility, with only medical exemptions allowed. Nursing homes will also be required to test visitors for COVID-19.

(01/03/22) CMS Releases Guidance on Healthcare Worker Vaccination Mandate
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued guidance to state agencies on how to assess compliance with the federal health care worker vaccination mandate. This mandate is only in effect in the 25 states where the mandate is not blocked by legal action.

Health Workforce Shortages

Hospitals throughout the US are asking COVID-19-positive health care workers to return to work, sometimes while symptomatic.

International and temporary workers are seeing widespread use as hospitals and health care facilities attempt to deal with staffing shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

New research looks at the labor market for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nursing assistants through the first 15 months of the pandemic.

Health Workforce Shortages

(01/10/22) Health Care Workers Are Panicked As Desperate Hospitals Ask Infected Staff to Return
This article from Politico discusses the current reality of COVID-19-positive health care workers who are asymptomatic, and sometimes even symptomatic being forced to return to work. Hospitals and health facilities across the United States are experiencing unprecedented outages of staff due to COVID-19, with the highly-vaccinated workforce still becoming sick.

(01/07/22) Hospitals Recruit International Nurses to Fill Pandemic Shortages
This article, jointly published by NPR and Kaiser Health News, covers the demand for international health care workers in the struggle to meet staffing requirements to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, one-sixth of the nursing workforce in the United States is foreign born, and a backlog exists of thousands of nurses seeking visa approvals to begin working in health care facilities in the United States.

(01/04/22) Nurse Employment During the First Fifteen Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic
New research published in Health Affairs evaluates the labor market for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nursing assistants through the first 15 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, ending evaluation in June 2021.

(01/03/22) 16 States Where Hospitals Are Experiencing Workforce Shortages
This list from Becker’s Hospital Review offers insight on 16 states with critical staffing shortages in at least 25% of their hospitals. Beyond these sixteen states, another twenty-one states expect critical staffing shortages in the coming week.

(12/29/21) 75% of Healthcare Facilities Need Temp Workers, Survey Finds
A recent survey by AMN Healthcare finds that three-fourths of health care facilities in the United States are seeking temporary health care workers, especially allied health professionals, in an effort to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. The most in-demand workers include respiratory therapists, laboratory technologists, and radiologic technologists.


The White House is seeking input on the use of digital health technologies throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to inform further policy considerations.

A recent survey investigates medical provider training in relation to telehealth utilization during the COVID-19 pandemic.


(01/05/22) Federal Government Asks for Examples of Digital Health Use During the Pandemic
The White House Office of Science Technology Policy (OSTP) wants input from “community health stakeholders, technology developers, and other interested parties about how digital health technologies are used, or could be used in the future, to transform community health, individual wellness, and health equity. OSTP says they are looking for “information about: successful models of strengthening community health through digital health technologies within the United States and abroad, barriers to uptake, trends from the COVID-19 pandemic, how user experience is measured, need for tools and training, ideas for potential government action, and effects on health equity.” Responses are due to the OSTP by March 5.

(12/30/21) Telehealth Utilization in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Current State of Medical Provider Training
The COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase of telehealth utilization, as well as a need for telehealth education and training support. This article examines a national survey sent to organizational representatives evaluating the current state of telehealth. Questions are related to education and training. The survey found that 30 percent of organizations reported no telehealth training before the pandemic. Respondents in suburban/rural settings were less likely to provide any training (55% vs. 82%) compared with urban. 78 percent of organizations reported pandemic-related training changes.

Health Workforce Resiliency

Shorter isolation guidance from both state and federal agencies are leading to widespread concern among health care workers infected with COVID-19.

New York’s governor has announced plans to grow and support the state’s health workforce, including funding specifically for wages and bonuses for health care workers.

The largest federal health care worker union in the US is calling for a return to the COVID-19 emergency workplace standards that were allowed to lapse in 2021.

Health Workforce Resiliency

(01/08/22) CA Health Care Workers Raise Concerns Over New State COVID-19 Protocols
The extremely infectious omicron variant has increased the number of persons admitted to California hospitals, prompting the California Department of Public Health to release new recommendations to ensure that there is enough staff to manage the surge. According the new guideline, health care workers who test positive for COVID-19 will no longer be required to isolate or test negative and will be able to return to work immediately if they are asymptomatic. Advocacy groups say the move is a critical error that puts patients at danger.

(01/06/22) Hochul Proposes $10B to Bolster Health Care Workforce in New York
New York governor Kathy Hochul has announced plans to invest $10 billion to improve the health workforce in New York State. This investment seeks to grow the health workforce by 20 percent over the next five years, and includes $4 billion meant to support wages and bonuses for health care workers exhausted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

(01/04/22) Health Care Workers Concerned by Shorter Isolation After COVID Infections
This article from NBC News covers the recently changed recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reducing required isolation time from 10 days to 7 days with a negative test, or fewer days with staffing shortages.

(01/04/22) Union Calls on OSHA to Restore COVID Safety Standards for Health Care Workers
The largest union representing federal health care workers in the United States, the American Federation of Government Employees, is calling for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to restore the temporary COVID-19 emergency workplace standards, which were rescinded in part in December 2021.