COVID-19 & the Health Workforce: 7/14-7/26 Updates

07/14-07/26 Updates

Vaccine Information

Due to the widespread implementation of telehealth services following the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency declaration, the US government is taking steps to combat fraud.

Vaccine Information

(07/26/21) APhA Urges COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates for All Health Workers
The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) announced its statement to urge health care and long-term care providers to require their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. As the number of the Delta variant cases has been surging without achieving a sufficient number of vaccinated people, it argues that vaccine mandates for health care workers are the primary way to keep the U.S. society and people safe and healthy.

(07/21/21) More Medical Provider Groups Push Healthcare Employers to Require COVID-19 Vaccination
This article from Fierce Healthcare highlights the growing number of health care organizations that are endorsing mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers. The article also discusses the release of a new joint statement from approximately 57 health professional groups which advocates for providers to implement mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies.

(07/21/21) Nation’s Largest Hospital Group Supports Mandatory Coronavirus Vaccines for Health Workers
In an effort to mitigate surging case numbers in the nation, the American Hospital Association (AHA) has called for all health care workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. The AHA has also announced its support for hospitals and health systems to implement mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for health care workers.

(07/15/21) Chiropractors and Nursing Assistants Have Some of the Lowest Vaccination Rates Among Oregon Health Care Workers
The Oregon Health Authority has recently released new data which shows that 70% of Oregon’s licensed health care professionals have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The data also shows that vaccination rates vary across medical professions with dentists achieving the highest vaccination rate and chiropractic assistants having the lowest.

(07/14/21) Viewpoint: COVID-19 Vaccines Should Be a Condition of Employment for Healthcare Personnel
This article from Becker’s Hospital Review highlights a statement released by a national coalition of medical societies. The statement encourages health organizations to make COVID-19 vaccination a condition of employment for health care workers. This recommendation was announced after a thorough review of employment law, recent data on unvaccinated individuals, and the effectiveness of the vaccine.

(07/14/21) Vaxxed or Axed: To Protect Patients, Every Health Care Worker Must Be Vaccinated
This opinion piece from STAT News supports the implementation of COVID-19 vaccination mandates for all health care workers. Several health care organizations have reported low vaccination rates among health care staff and the decision to mandate vaccination may be the best course of action for protecting patients.

(07/13/21) Groups Push for Health Worker COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates
This article reports that a group of coalitions, including the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) urged to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers. While the Biden Administration has not enforced a vaccine mandate, the coalition claimed that, without equating COVID-19 vaccination to a condition of employment is critical to achieve a sufficient level of vaccination rate.

(07/13/21) Multisociety Statement on COVID-19 Vaccination As a Condition of Employment for Healthcare Personnel
A coalition consisting of multiple international professional medical societies has released a statement, published in Cambridge University Press, recommending vaccination as a condition of employment for those working in health care settings.

(07/13/21) Coalition Says Health Workers Should Be Required to Get Coronavirus Vaccine
The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the Infectious Diseases Society of America and five other medical groups have released a statement urging medical facilities to enforce COVID-19 vaccination mandates for their workers. The coalition of health-care organizations have also released guidance on navigating regulations, implementing a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, and combating vaccine hesitancy.

Health Workforce Safety and Resiliency

New Jersey nursing unions share concerns about continued burnout and staffing shortages following the COVID-19 pandemic, and are calling for a return to regulation to protect nurses.

Health Workforce Safety and Resilency

(07/21/21) As COVID-19 Continues, So Do Troubles for Nurses
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing nursing shortages across the nation. However, New Jersey nurse unions have expressed severe concerns as their members continue to face burnout amid steady COVID-19 related hospitalization rates. These nurse unions believe that suspended regulations which govern nurse staffing ratios and hospital scheduling contribute to these conditions.

Long-term Care

New research links staffing size with the number of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes in 2020.

Long-term Care

(07/14/21) Larger Nursing Home Staff Size Linked to Higher Number of COVID-19 Cases in 2020
A new study published in Health Affairs finds larger staffing sizes at nursing homes were linked to higher numbers of COVID-19 cases within those facilities in 2020, even after facility sizes were taken into account.


Due to the widespread implementation of telehealth services following the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency declaration, the US government is taking steps to combat fraud.


(07/16/21)United States: A Target On Telehealth: Government Action Against Telehealth Fraud in The Wake of COVID-19
Preventing telehealth fraud was a priority for the United States Department of Justice even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the widespread adoption of telehealth during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, this article published in Mondaq discusses the efforts from the government to combat fraud in telehealth service delivery.

Changes to Organizational Policies and Guidelines

Concerns over the loss of women in the health workforce as a result of the pandemic are leading calls for hospitals to work to bring them back.

Hospitals are seeking more time to respond to new federal emergency standards for health care workers.

Changes to Organizational Policies and Guidelines

(07/21/21)The Pandemic Drove Women Out of the Workforce — Here’s How Your Hospital Can Bring Them Back
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on women in the health care workforce. Many women were driven out of the workforce, citing child-care as a primary contributing factor which exacerbated existing gender inequities. A recent Mckinsey Global report has found that women accounted for 56% of COVID-19-related job losses, while Altarum, a consulting firm, found that 530,000 health care jobs for women were needed to return to pre-pandemic levels.

 (07/16/21) New OSHA Standard Puts Healthcare on Same Page, ‘Makes Our Staff Safer,’ Stanford, Geisinger Say
In this article published in Becker’s Hospital Review, two health care executives discuss efforts to meet the new Occupational Safety and Health Association Emergency Temporary Standard rules. These new rules apply to health care organizations in an effort to protect workers as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

(07/15/21) OSHA Updates COVID-19 National Emphasis Program and Interim Enforcement Response Plan
This article discusses the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) updated guidance on COVID-19 related inspections. The new Direction, which was released on July 7, 2021, updates the COVID-19 National Emphasis Program and the Interim Enforcement Response Plan for COVID-19.

State Workforce Strategies

New York City is implementing its own COVID-19 safety requirements for health care workers in city-run health facilities.

The Emergency Temporary Standard rules issued by OSHA continue to face contention from both employers and employee advocacy groups as deadlines approach for implementation.

States’ use of Appendix K and emergency waivers to alter Medicaid services is documented in a new online tool.

State Workforce Strategies

(07/21/21)Mayor de Blasio Announces Health Worker COVID-safe Requirement
Mayor de Blasio has announced a new policy which will take effect on August 2, 2021. The Health Worker COVID-Safe Requirement policy will require all employees of city-run health care facilities to provide proof of vaccination or to take weekly COVID-19 tests.

(07/14/21) OSHA Maintains COVID-19 Safety Pressure on Healthcare Employers Despite Challenges From All Sides
Following the announcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard rules, comments have come in from both employers and unions criticizing the ruleset and questioning the effectiveness. Health care organizations want more time to implement the ruleset, while health care labor unions question the ability of the new rules to address safety concerns.

(07/08/21) States Use Appendix K and Emergency Waivers to Support Home- and Community-based Services in Response to COVID-19
This tool from the National Academy for State Health Policy helps identify how states are utilizing Appendix K and emergency waivers to modify home- and community-based Medicaid services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

(07/08/21) Too Much, Too Late: Health Groups Pan OSHA Rule on COVID Precautions
As hospitals work to return to a pre-pandemic normal, some COVID-19 pandemic-era restrictions appear to be here to stay, given new direction from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.