Changes to Organizational Policies and Guidelines

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

(02/10/21) House Democrats Propose Multibillion-dollar COVID-19 Relief Package
House Democrats are proposing a multibillion-dollar COVID-19 relief package that includes a large investment in public health, which experts say has been underfunded for years. Included in the democrats proposal is 7. 5 billion dollars to the HHS for the public workforce and grants to state and local health departments to hire more staff, including community health workers, contact tracers, nurses and epidemiologists.

02/03/2021) Rebuilding Trust After COVID-19: U.S. Healthcare Experts Weigh In
This article from Medical News Today, highlights the key points of a webinar that was hosted by the Commonwealth Fund. The webinar discussed the ways in which the new U.S. administration can assist with improving access to healthcare for vulnerable populations.

(02/03/2021) Equity Metrics: Toward a More Effective and Inclusive Pandemic Response
This post from the Health Affairs blog, discusses the importance of developing equity metrics for COVID-19 response efforts.

(02/01/2021) Public Health Systems Still Aren’t Ready for the Next Pandemic
This article evaluates the emergency preparedness of the U.S. based on current COVID-19 response patterns. Some public health officials are concerned about the lack of preparedness, training, testing and vaccine distributions for COVID-19. They are also concerned about how this may affect the country’s preparedness for another pandemic.

(01/14/21) Hospital Offering Employees Money in Exchange for Getting COVID-19 Vaccine
In an effort to increase vaccination rates, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other health care facilities across the United States are offering employees financial bonuses in exchange for being vaccinated.

(01/13/21) Hospitals’ Rocky Rollout of COVID Vaccine Sparks Questions of Fairness
This article from Kaiser Health News highlights the questions hospitals across the United States are facing in the wake of their vaccination rollout plans, which have often come with controversy. Lacking a consistent federal strategy, many states and health systems have created their own plans, sometimes vaccinating workers and administrators who do not treat patients before vaccinating the entire patient-facing workforce.

(01/11/21) For Health Care Workers, the Pandemic is Fueling Renewed Interest in Unions
This article from NPR details how pressures from the pandemic have pushed many health care workers to form and join unions. Staffing shortages, lack of personal protective equipment, and failures of employers and government to protect workers have increasingly contributed to pro-union sentiment among workers.

(01/06/21) Health Sector Job Recovery Remains Slower Among Women
This research brief from the health care consulting firm Alarum analyzed data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics to track job changes in the health care sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the major findings is that women lost more jobs in the health care sector than men, and men are being rehired at a faster pace than women.

(01/05/21) COVID-19 Impact on Nurse Staffing and ICU Beds
A new study published in the Epic Health Research Network has analyzed more than 800 hospitals in metro, suburban, and rural settings from July 2020 to December 2020 tracking nursing staffing demand and intensive care unit bed capacity.

(01/04/21) ‘Planning Is the Antidote to Panic’: Providence Hospital System Defies America’s Slow Vaccine Rollout Trend
In this article from CNBC, the chief clinical officer for Providence Hospital System details how the organization has managed to vaccinate more than 60,000 employees in 51 hospitals spread across seven states. The system made rigorous plans and utilized technology to help evaluate risk and prioritize which workers would be vaccinated when.

(12/28/20) As Hospitals Rollout COVID-19 Vaccines, Health Care Workers Describe Chaos and Anger
Health care workers in multiple states are reporting frustration with the vaccination process being used by individual health systems, where providers treating COVID-19-infected patients are being vaccinated secondary to providers with minimal exposure.

(12/24/20) ‘It’s So Much Worse Than Before.’ Dread and Despair Haunt Nurses Inside LA’s ICUs
This story from NPR discusses how pandemic-related stress and burnout have led to some nurses leaving intensive care units and seeking work elsewhere. As health care workers leave the workforce, which already faces staffing shortages, the stress becomes more difficult for those that remain.

(12/23/20) Some Said the Vaccine Rollout Would Be a ‘Nightmare.’ They Were Right
In this opinion piece, jointly published by The New York Times and Kaiser Health News, some of the problems with vaccine distribution and allocation for the health workforce are analyzed. Issues with communication and federal oversight have led to delays and fewer vaccines being delivered to states than initially promised.

(12/21/20) 3 Lessons From Stanford’s COVID-19 Vaccine Algorithm Debacle
This article from STAT offers some lessons learned regarding the issues Stanford’s health system experienced in utilizing an algorithm to determine which health care workers would be prioritized for vaccination. These lessons include testing the algorithm more before implementation and considering how data may contain structural bias.

(12/17/20) These Neurologists Dealt With COVID-19 in So Many Different Ways – Their Most Valuable Lessons Learned
In this article from NeurologyToday, neurologists from the federal government, academic medical centers, and private employment offer advice on the ways they have dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic in their field, as well as lessons learned.

(12/16/20) COVID-19 Shocks the US Health Sector: A Review of Early Economic Impacts
Newly released information from the National Health Expenditure Accounts from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows the COVID-19 pandemic has had massive impacts on the United States health care sector. Growth in spending in hospitals declined as hospital prices accelerated, and the long-term care industry saw declines in nursing home spending and increases in home health spending, among other findings

(12/09/20) Increased Reimbursement May Help Overcome Barriers to Administration of Seasonal and Routine Vaccines
Immunizations are an important component of treatment from primary care providers and the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged access to routine vaccination. This blog post from Health Affairs suggests improving reimbursement for vaccinations as a method to help overcome the barriers exacerbated by the pandemic.

(12/04/20) Health Systems Eye Staggered Schedule and End-of-week COVID-19 Shots to Mitigate Workforce Shortages
Health systems across the United States are preparing for receipt of the first batches of COVID-19 vaccines, requiring strategic scheduling and prioritization for employment inoculation. Workforce shortages are already a reality throughout the nation, with fear that side effects of COVID-19 vaccines could sideline more workers leading to these new strategies.

(12/04/20) 46,000 Healthcare Jobs Added in November; Hospitals See Job Gains
The latest jobs report from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates an increase in health care jobs in November, with hospitals seeing the largest increase. Nursing homes and residential care facilities experienced losses in jobs last month amidst the pandemic.

(12/03/20) Hospital Demand for Travel Nurses Intensifies as COVID-19 Surges: 5 Notes
This update from Becker’s Hospital Review highlights the current demand for traveling nurses in hospitals across the United States. Traveling nurses have been used to meet capacity demand in states such as Utah, Delaware, Illinois, and Hawaii.

(12/02/20) How OBGYNs Adapted Provision of Sexual and Reproductive Health Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation discusses the ways in which sexual and reproductive health care providers have adapted their practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Integration of telehealth, declines in patient volume, and difficulties with finances and staff are all key findings.

(11/30/20) Thousands of Doctors’ Offices Buckle Under Financial Stress of COVID
This article from Kaiser Health News reports that recent data suggests thousands of medical offices across the United States have closed in response to financial pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic. These closures are exacerbating shortages of providers in many rural locations across the nation.

(11/27/20) Hospitals Race to Set Vaccine Priorities for Health-care Workers
With a COVID-19 vaccine appearing imminent, health care systems throughout the US are creating plans for internal distribution of a vaccine. The United States has 21 million health care workers, likely requiring prioritization even among health care workers for who will receive a vaccine given expectations of fewer doses being available initially.

(11/25/20) Near Crisis, Some Hospitals Face Tough Decisions in Caring for Floods of Patients
Hospitals in areas with critical capacity issues due to high cases and hospitalizations for COVID-19 are required to make difficult decisions in caring for patients. While data has not been publicly released to confirm, public health experts suspect hospital crowding is forcing crises in triage decisions.

(11/24/20) Ohio Hospital’s “Helping Hand” Initiative Gives Nurses Extra Help
This article discusses a move from a hospital in Middletown, Ohio that has utilized administrative staff to help take over non-clinical nursing tasks in order to allow nurses more time with patients.

(11/17/20) How Practices Can Advance the Implementation of Integrated Care in the COVID-19 Era
This issue brief from The Commonwealth Fund details how organizations can utilize integrated care to improve patient outcomes in the era of COVID-19. Although the data for the study was collected prior to the pandemic, the findings may be especially relevant to improve outcomes in the pandemic.

(11/15/20) Doctors Are Calling It Quits Under Stress of the Pandemic
An article from The New York Times covering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physicians and nurses across the United States. Recent surveys have found that many older physicians are retiring earlier than they anticipated, and many smaller clinics are closing due to the financial burden of staying open.

(11/11/20) ‘We’re Being Left Behind’: Rural Hospitals Can’t Afford Ultra-cold Freezers to Store the Leading COVID-19 Vaccine
This article from STAT highlights fears rural hospitals are vocalizing over the difficulty transporting and storing the leading COVID-19 vaccine, which Pfizer has announced will require ultra-cold freezers and cannot be refrozen upon thawing.

(11/09/20) The Challenge in Tracking Unemployment Among Health Care Workers and Why It Matters
A journal article published in JAMA from researchers at the University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies explains the difficulties associated with tracking unemployment in health care workers. The authors describe how having accurate data on the health workforce is essential to direct policy and can help produce better results for health care providers and their patients.

(11/06/20) 58,300 Healthcare Jobs Added in October; Hospitals See Job Gains
For the sixth consecutive month, the health care sector has added jobs following the drops in employment amid initial pandemic-related shutdowns. Of these jobs, the majority came from hospitals, followed by physician offices and dental offices.

(11/06/20) Mayo Clinic, Banner Health Say They Have Thousands of Job Openings
Both the Mayo Clinic and Banner Health are seeking workers for clinics in the southwestern United States, primarily Arizona and surrounding states. Nursing is in the highest demand, as well as support positions. Many hires have been made on a per diem basis to help address the COVID-19 pandemic.

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