Health Workforce Policies and Guidelines

Policies and guidelines (including furloughs) that have been implemented because of COVID-19.

(07/02/20) 358K Healthcare Jobs Added in June; Hospitals See 1st Gain Since March
An article covering the change in employment within the health workforce for the month of June. For the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital employment has increased following the sharp decreases in previous months.

(07/01/20) Hospitals Must Treat Infection Control as a Priority, Not a Profit Center
An opinion piece calling for hospitals to prioritize infection control and their infection control workforce as a means of preventing unnecessary spread of COVID-19. Hospital acquired infections lead to thousands of deaths per year, however there is hope that prioritizing preventing COVID infection may lead to long-term improvements in infection prevention in hospitals.

(07/01/20) Hollowed Out Public Health System Faces More Cuts Amid Virus
A joint investigation between the Associated Press and Kaiser Health News uncovers the increasing difficulties many state and local health departments are having in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and looks at the reasons for these struggles. Significant reductions in funding and loss of workforce in the past few decades as well as further budget cuts, layoffs, and furloughs seen during the pandemic are causing even more difficulties for public health in the United States.

(07/01/20) COVID-19 and the Financial Viability of US Rural Hospitals
A blog post authored by researchers who study rural hospitals in the United States covering the unique impact COVID-19 has had on their operations. Rural hospitals represent 30% of hospitals in the United States and most struggled to operate financially even before the pandemic. The loss of revenue from elective procedures has put their operation in risk, and a number of governmental responses have been developed to try to assist them.

(06/25/20) Primary Care Practice Finances in the United States Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
This article, published in Health Affairs, examines the financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had thus far and will continue to have on primary care practices in the United States. The article also covers potential impacts of regulatory changes such as reductions in telehealth reimbursement

(06/25/20) State Data and Policy Actions to Address Coronavirus
A frequently updated issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation outlining the many actions states have taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic. This brief includes both state health policy and guideline changes, as well as other regulations.

Alliance for Health Policy COVID-19 Webinar Series:
(06/24/20) Session 20 – Tensions, Tradeoffs, and Takeaways: What’s at Stake for America 100 Days into the Pandemic  and Where We Go From Here
(06/19/20) Session 19 – Advancing Mental Health During the Pandemic and Beyond
See all webinars here
The Alliance for Health Policy is hosting a webinar series to provide insight on current policies addressing COVID-19. Emphasis is placed on the status of this response as well as the gaps in the system that impact the response to the COVID-19.

(06/23/20) Improving Prenatal Care and Delivery in the Wake Of COVID-19: Lessons From the Strong Start Evaluation
A blog post contextualizing a recent journal article published in the June edition of the Health Affairs journal. The post covers the Strong Start program, which utilizes evidence-based prenatal care models, and relates them to policy recommendations to better utilize the health workforce and health care settings for improving maternal health care.

(06/17/20) Coronavirus Could Change How You Go to the Doctor
An article covering the changes many health systems are implementing and advocating for in order to better address payment both during and following the COVID-19 pandemic. The article argues that continuing to use the current fee-for-service payment model will lead to a collapse of primary care when the nation needs it the most.

(06/17/20) Options to Support Medicaid Providers in Response to COVID-19
An issue brief discussing the problems Medicaid providers are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Medicaid providers were already experiencing significant revenue issues prior to the pandemic. Some solutions to help Medicaid providers include increasing reimbursement rates for COVID-19 related treatment, advance and interim or retainer payments, and state-specific plans to help these providers.

(06/16/20) Limitations of the Program for Uninsured COVID-19 Patients Raise Concerns
The program created by the federal government to help clinics deal with the costs of treating patients with COVID-19 does not explicitly include those treating uninsured patients. Now, with some funding available for that purpose, yet contingent on a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, many providers are concerned they will be able to continue providing care to the uninsured.

(06/16/20) What Impact Has the Coronavirus Pandemic Had on Healthcare Employment?
A chart collection covering the many different impact COVID-19 has had on various roles and settings in the health care industry. Employment and health expenditure are two indicators that can better help to identify what roles have been deemed most essential and what settings may require aid to continue operating.

(06/15/20) Health Workforce Innovations in Response to the COVID Pandemic
The Canadian Health Workforce Network has released a database to maintain information on health workforce strategies that have been implemented to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Searches can be conducted to seek out innovative practices by capacity, flexibility, availability, setting, and profession.

(06/12/20) Fee for Service Is a Terrible Way to Pay for Health Care. Try a Subscription Model Instead
An article discussing a new subscription-like payment model some clinics are using that has allowed them to continue operating with minimal lost revenue and without furloughing workers. This method allows Medicare Advantage plans to set an annual budget for patients to seek treatment, and pays the clinics monthly to deliver this care.

(06/12/20) State Data and Policy Actions to Address Coronavirus
A frequently updated issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation outlining the many actions states have taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic. This brief includes both state health policy and guideline changes, as well as other regulations.

(06/11/20) How One Health System Is Transforming in Response To COVID-19
This article from the Harvard Business Review covers the crisis management strategies used by the Geisinger Health System to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. These strategies included reevaluating and monitoring the urgency of their work, implementing telehealth visits, and preparing for a second wave to keep their health workforce and patients safe.

(06/10/20) Healthcare Workforce Rose 312K Despite Ongoing Hospital Job Losses
An article highlighting the changes to the health workforce as reported in the May jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The majority of jobs gained were in the dental workforce, which had been losing jobs in previous months. Hospitals reportedly lost nearly 27,000 jobs, adding to losses in previous months.

(06/09/20) Safety-Net Health Providers Get $25 Billion To Help Keep Their Doors Open
An article covering the announcement from the United States Department of Health and Human Services of funding for safety-net providers across the country. $10 billion will go to hospitals seeing primarily Medicaid and uninsured patients, and $15 billion will go to doctors, dentists, and facilities that treat primarily low-income adults and children.

(06/07/20) Hospitals Will Struggle Until They Get Patients Back in the Door
An article discussing some of the ways in which hospitals have been struggling throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. While their outlooks are improving and furloughed staff are returning to work, adaptations like telehealth with lower reimbursement and lack of patients are still leading to financial issues.

(06/05/20) Beyond COVID-19: Telehealth, Partnerships, Member Engagement
An article covering the ways in which some organizations around the United States are addressing COVID-19 and the increased use of telehealth, both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

(06/04/20) Hospitals Furloughing Workers in Response To COVID-19
A regularly updated list that breakdowns hospitals that have furloughed staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

(06/03/20) Open (Your Wallet) Wide: Dentists Charge Extra for Infection Control
An article highlighting a new trend of dental clinics charging extra fees for visits in response to changes to the practice due to COVID-19. New fees are being seen across the country at dental clinics, in part to help dentists make up for financial losses.

(06/03/20) New CMS Payment Model Flexibilities for COVID-19
A blog post from Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), discussing some of the changes that have been enacted on payment models by CMS in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alliance for Health Policy COVID-19 Webinar Series:
(06/03/20) Session 17 – The Role of Medicaid
(05/20/20) Session 16 – The Changing Landscape of Primary Care
See all webinars here
The Alliance for Health Policy is hosting a webinar series to provide insight on current policies addressing COVID-19. Emphasis is placed on the status of this response as well as the gaps in the system that impact the response to the COVID-19.

(05/25/20) Doctors Face Pay Cuts, Furloughs and Supply Shortages as Coronavirus Pushes Primary Care to the Brink
An article covering the struggles primary care clinicians faced prior to and now throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with many expected not to survive the year without further governmental financial aid. Furloughs, reductions in pay, and difficulty affording and acquiring personal protective equipment are further exacerbating the issues.

(05/21/20) Hospitals Furloughing Workers in Response to COVID-19
A regularly updated list that breakdowns hospitals that have furloughed staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

(05/19/20) COVID-19 and the PA Workforce
The American Academy of Physician Assistants has released a report covering clinically practicing physician assistants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Issues covered include changes to regulations and scope of practice, as well as redeployment and furloughing of physician assistants.

(05/19/20) 9 Ways COVID-19 May Forever Upend the U.S. Health Care Industry
An article describing some ways in which the health care industry has changed as a result of COVID-19. These include increased adoption and advancement of telehealth technologies, shifts in the long-term care industry to home health care, and changes to scope of practice for non-physician clinicians.

(05/11/20) Opportunities and Barriers for Telemedicine in the U.S. During the COVID-19 Emergency and Beyond
An issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation highlighting the opportunities and issues relating to telehealth implementation in response to COVID-19. These include state and federal government responses as well as those implemented at the organization level by insurers and health systems.

(05/08/20) As Hospitals Lose Revenue, More Than a Million Health Care Workers Lose Jobs
A story from NPR describing the issues facing health care workers now, where the situation has evolved from requests for health care providers to come out of retirement to the current issues of furloughs and reduced hours.

(05/08/20) Health-Care Industry Loses 1.4 Million Jobs in Pandemic
An article describing how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the health care industry, where nearly one in twelve jobs were lost in April. Settings impacted the most include hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, diagnostic labs and home health

(05/06/20) From Shortages to Furloughs, Pandemic Gives In-Demand Nursing Profession a Stress Test
An article describing the issues with maintaining a nursing workforce the State of Washington is facing both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article describes shortages of nurses pre-pandemic and the efforts to grant temporary and emergency permits to meet surge demands, followed by furloughs and layoffs and changes to professional plans.

(05/04/20) What CMS’s Response to COVID-19 Means for Front Line Clinicians
An article describing the impact of many of the new waivers and flexibilities from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on clinicians practicing on the front lines.

(05/02/20) Healthcare Workers Face Coronavirus Layoffs and Furloughs
An article discussing the realities of furloughs on health care workers in California, following a surge in recruitment during the initial stages of response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

See More Resources