COVID-19 and the Health Workforce 7/27-8/10

07/27-08/10 Updates

Vaccine Information

Vaccine mandates continue across the US as the Delta variant spreads, with some evaluating the effectiveness and legality of mandates.

The California Dental Association is offering tools and support for dental clinics following new vaccine reporting requirements for dental clinics in California.

Vaccine Information

(08/04/21) Gov Brown: Oregon Health Care Workers Must Get COVID-19 Vaccination or Weekly Testing

Gov. Kate Brown announced Wednesday that she has directed the Oregon Health Authority to issue a rule outlining new health and safety measures. The policy requires weekly COVID-19 testing for personnel in health care settings or a proof of vaccination. The new rule will be issued this week and applied starting Sept. 30. This will give employers time to prepare for implementation, and will give currently unvaccinated health care workers time to become fully vaccinated. The governor said the new safety measure is necessary to stop delta from causing severe illness.

(08/03/21) CDA Resources Will Help Dentists Comply With State Order Requiring COVID-19 Vaccination or Regular Testing
The California Dental Association is offering tools to help track employee vaccination status following recent mandates for health care workers in California. These tools are aimed to help dental clinics in the state meet compliance requirements.

(08/03/21) UPDATE: Hospitals, Health Systems Mandating Vaccines for Workers
This frequently updated list from Becker’s Hospital Review tracks which major hospitals and health care organizations are mandating vaccination for employees working in their systems.

(08/02/21) Nursing Home Advocates Shift Stance on Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations for Staff
The latest COVID-19 pandemic surge caused by the COVID-19 delta variant has resulted in several long-term care providers and advocates to strongly suggest vaccination mandates for staff. Long-term care facilities were initially prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination, but vaccination rates among staff are much lower than vaccination rates among residents.

(08/02/21) NJ Gov. Murphy Mandates Vaccines for State Health-care and Other Front-line Workers
New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy, has released a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for state health care workers and other front-line workers. The deadline for staff in hospitals, corrections facilities, and assisted living facilities to get vaccinated is September 7, 2021. Unvaccinated employees will be required to get tested for COVID-19 twice a week.

(08/02/21) Flattening the Curve: Are Vaccination Mandates a Viable Strategy for Hospitals?
This article from JDSupra considers the potential for vaccine mandates for hospital workers to impact number of infections of COVID-19 within their health care facilities, as well as the legal and ethical implications of vaccination.

(07/30/21) Public Health Recommends Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination for Healthcare Workers
This article from the Public Health Insider highlights Washington state’s Public Health Seattle & King County’s decision to strongly encourage health care facilities and long-term care employers to follow recommendations for mandating COVID-19 vaccinations.

(07/28/21) California Mandates COVID-19 Vaccination for Long-term Care Workers
California Governor, Gavin Newsom, has released a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for long-term care workers and workers in other health care settings. Long-term care workers will be required to get vaccinated or participate in weekly COVID-19 testing. The mandate will take effect on August 9, 2021, and healthcare facilities will have until August 23, 2021 to become fully compliant.

(07/28/21) Governor Cuomo Announces Patient-Facing Healthcare Workers at State-Run Hospitals Will Be Required to Get Vaccinated for COVID-19 by Labor Day
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has recently made an announcement that patient-facing healthcare workers at state-run hospitals will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccination by Labor Day, September 6, 2021. Patient-facing healthcare workers who do not get vaccinated will not have the option to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.

(07/28/21) COVID-19 Breakthrough Infections in Vaccinated Health Care Workers
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examines the occurrence of rare breakthrough infections of COVID-19 disease among health care workers vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, common in the United States. The study was conducted at the largest medical center in Israel.

(07/23/21) 7 Numbers That Show Results of Health System Vaccination Mandates
The number of US hospitals and health systems that have announced COVID-19 vaccination mandates continues to steadily grow. This article from Becker’s Hospital Review highlights the outcomes of vaccination mandates for Houston Methodist, Charleston-based Medical University of South Carolina Health, and RWJ Barnabas Health.

(07/22/21) Proven Ways to Boost COVID-19 Vaccination: Mandates Plus Nudges
This opinion piece from STAT News advocates for COVID-19 vaccination mandates as a way to achieve high vaccination coverage among the workforce and the population. The article also suggests several evidence based methods for boosting COVID-19 vaccination rates in health care and other settings.

Health Workforce Safety and Resiliency

New CDC research reveals that the pandemic continues to take a toll on health workers, with more than half of all public health workers experiencing at least one mental health condition.

Health Workforce Safety and Resilency

(08/02/21) Inside COVID-19’s Overlooked Toll on the Public Health Workforce
The American Medical Association released a new episode of the “AMA COVID-19 Update” that explored the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on public health workers. A new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 53% of public health workers reported symptoms of at least one mental health condition.

Access to Care

Recent surges of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are causing hospital bedding shortages, placing access to care at risk.

Access to Care

(08/02/21) Florida Hospitals Continue Seeing Surge in COVID-19 Patients
Florida Hospital Association has announced that the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state have reached the highest daily total for two consecutive days. Approximately 96% of hospitalizations were unvaccinated individuals and 50% of the individuals hospitalized were between the ages of 25 and 55.

(08/02/21) Washington Hospitals ‘Quite Full’ Amid New Surge of COVID-19 Cases
The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) has recently held a press brief to discuss the recent COVID-19 surge and its profound impact on the health care delivery system in the state. WSHA is strongly advocating for hospitals and health care providers to implement COVID-19 vaccination mandates for their staff as hospitals reach capacity thresholds.

(07/30/21) Primary Care Stepping Up Involvement in COVID Vaccination Effort, but Future of Primary Care Is Uncertain
This article highlights new data released by the Larry A. Green Center in collaboration with the Primary Care Collaborative, and 3rd Conversation. The data suggests that primary care is playing a larger role in COVID-19 vaccination efforts as the nation faces its latest surge in COVID-19 cases.

Long-term Care

While long-term care facilities at one point experienced the most deaths from COVID-19, vaccination efforts have decreased these deaths rates substantially.

Long-term Care

(08/02/21) Nursing Home Advocates Shift Stance on Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations for Staff
The latest COVID-19 pandemic surge caused by the COVID-19 delta variant has resulted in several long-term care providers and advocates to strongly suggest vaccination mandates for staff. Long-term care facilities were initially prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination, but vaccination rates among staff are much lower than vaccination rates among residents.

(08/02/21) Once Common, COVID-19 Deaths in Long-term Care Were Rare Across Most States in June
A new analysis from Kaiser Family Foundation expounds on a previous data note from April 2021 which has shown a significant decrease in weekly deaths and cases in long-term care facilities. The previous data note attributes these record lows to high vaccination rates among long-term care facility residents and staff. The current analysis examines trends in COVID-19 cases and deaths through June 2021. The new analysis finds that fourteen states have reported zero or close to zero weekly deaths, 5 states have reported an increase in deaths, and most states have reported higher deaths rates outside of long-term care facilities.

(08/02/21) COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Long-term Care Facilities Through June 2021
A new analysis from Kaiser Family Foundation finds that COVID-19 deaths in long-term care facilities across the nation have significantly declined since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have reported no deaths and most other states have reported average weekly deaths in long-term care facilities at or near their lowest levels.


The rapid expansion of telehealth during the pandemic has created significant facilitators but also barriers for patient access to care.


(07/25/21) Telehealth Leapt Forward With COVID-19. Who Was Left Behind?
This article introduces a couple of anecdotes about how telehealth has helped vulnerable patients since the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth went up dramatically in use during the pandemic. The rise of telehealth has also raised concerns about perpetuating unequal access to care. Poorer residents remain much less likely than wealthy ones to have broadband internet access. Video visits can gobble up limited data on phone plans and are especially hard for patients who don’t have a private place to talk.

(07/22/21) Surviving to Thriving: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Expanded Telehealth
In response to COVID-19, the use of telehealth has been expanded rapidly, and policy changes paved the way. The CDC recommended that health care facilities and providers in areas hit by COVID offer virtual services. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services relaxed telehealth regulations, eg, allowing physicians licensed in one state to see patients in a different state. As a result, there has been a 154% increase in telehealth visits during the last week of March 2020. 46% of all patients say they use telehealth for some visits, compared to just 11% in 2019 since the beginning of the pandemic, while in-person visits have slowed slightly during the same period. 83% of patients say they are likely to continue using telemedicine after COVID.

Regulatory Flexibility

New national practice standards adopted by the Department of Veterans Affairs are potentially expanding scope of practice for multiple health professions.

Regulatory Flexibility

(08/02/21) Radiologists Express ‘Serious Concerns’ With New National Practice Standards Superseding State Laws
The Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) has decided to develop new national practice standards which may expand the scope-of-practice for several health care providers. The VA has initiated this process in efforts to expand access to care amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the American College of Radiology, American Society of Neuroradiology, and approximately 100 other physician groups have written a letter to the VA’s leader expressing serious concerns about the potential impacts of developing new national practice standards.