Changes to Organizational Policies and Guidelines

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

(09/22/20) Financial Fallout From COVID-19: 9 hospitals Laying Off Workers
A list of hospitals laying off health care workers since August. The impact of COVID-19-related service interruption and the subsequent decrease in in-person visits is having long-term negative impacts on the financial situations of many clinics in the United States.

(09/16/20) How to Improve the Surgery Backlog During COVID-19
This article from the University of Michigan Health Lab highlights some new research on managing the backlog in surgery caused by the early prohibition on elective procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to maintain quality while working through the increased demand, the authors suggest continuing use of telemedicine as possible, expanding operating room and surgery capacity temporarily, and being open with patients about the costs, as patients may be under increased financial pressure.

(09/15/20) Promoting Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines—the Role of Medicaid
A blog post featured in Health Affairs covering the need to ensure medical clinics create dedicated processes, spaces, and staff to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Ensuring Medicaid provides fair reimbursement could also help ensure widespread adoption by providers and increase effectiveness of vaccination promotion.

(09/15/20) Some Urban Hospitals Face Closure Or Cutbacks As The Pandemic Adds To Fiscal Woes 
Safety net hospitals are constantly struggling to survive in non-pandemic times and their issues are only magnified in today’s circumstances. This article from NPR dives into what is causing more of these hospitals to shut down and what results from their closure.

(09/14/20) School Closures Cut a Critical Line to Dental Care for Poor Students
An article from The New York Times covering how school closures related to COVID-19 have negatively impacted access to dental care for poor students across the United States. Dental visits in schools are far more important for lower income students, who are disproportionately impacted by school closures.

(09/04/20) Healthcare Jobs Grew by 75K in August as Industry Recovers from Job Losses Due to COVID-19
This article in Fierce Healthcare covers job gains announced for the month of August, which saw significant gains in the health care industry, however fewer compared to the gains in July. 75,000 jobs were added, with physician offices and dental practices making the largest gains.

(09/03/20) 20% of Clinicians Considering Leaving Primary Care in Light of COVID-19-linked Financial Challenges: Survey
An article discussing some troubling findings from a new survey from the Primary Care Collaborative. The survey found that as many as one-fifth of clinicians are considering leaving primary care practice, as well as nearly one-tenth of practices unsure of their ability to maintain operations for another month due to COVID-19 related financial struggles.

(09/01/20) 26 Hospitals Bringing Back Furloughed Employees
A routinely updated list covering the hospital and health care systems that have brought back health care workers furloughed since June.

(08/26/20) COVID-19 Underscores the Need for Digital Quality Measurement
This blog post from Health Affairs highlights the importance of digital quality measurement, a method to combat weaknesses to developing clinical guidelines shown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilizing digital quality measurement can enable better care with less burden on clinicians.

(08/24/20) Financial Fallout from COVID-19: 38 Hospitals Laying Off Workers
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on budgets for hospitals, across the country layoffs and furloughs are continuing to be a problem many health care workers are facing. Low patient volume, lack of elective procedures, and increased costs of operation are causing significant hardship for these clinics.

(08/22/20) Rural Hospitals Are Sinking Under COVID-19 Financial Pressures
This story from NPR discusses the impact of COVID-19 on rural hospitals throughout the United States, many of which were already facing significant funding issues prior to the pandemic. Rural hospitals depended on federal aid early in the pandemic, but are now facing a crisis point with immediate need and little indication of any more aid to come.

(08/20/20) 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.

(08/17/20) Nearly 17% of Nurse Practitioners Furloughed Due to COVID-19 & 5 Other Survey Findings
A new survey from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners found that 17% of nurse practitioners in the United States were furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with 4% still reporting being furloughed at the end of July. Beyond this, nurse practitioners reported decreases in income, decreases in hours worked, and issues with receiving adequate personal protective equipment supplies.

(08/12/20) Community Resilience for COVID-19 and Beyond: Leveraging a System for Health Care and Social Services Integration
A blog post featured in Health Affairs covering how Contra Costa Health Services provided health care that integrates social services and allowed this county-based safety-net health system in the San Francisco Bay Area of California to effectively respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

(08/11/20) How to Ensure COVID-19 Doesn’t Delay Value-Based Care
A blog post featured in Health Affairs discussing the potential long-term impacts of COVID-19 on health care payment reform and quality improvement. While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have allowed increasing flexibility to deal with the pandemic, these may be detrimental to health care service in the long term.

(08/04/20) Health Care Workforce Reform: COVID-19 Spotlights Need for Changes to Clinician Licensing
The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled state and federal policymakers to acknowledge that clinician‐​licensing laws block access to care. This report addresses needs for changes to clinician licensing. Some topics discussed include: right skill vs wrong skill, direct government licensing, and innovative education and certification.

(08/03/20) How COVID-19 is Transforming Healthcare Recruitment
An article discussing a new report from Jordan Search Consultants covering changes in health care recruitment strategies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as hospitals and clinics across the United States were facing furloughs and revenue losses, the necessity of recruiting key positions remained.

(08/03/20) 19 Hospitals Bringing Back Furloughed Workers
A routinely updated list from Becker’s Hospital Review covering health care systems that are bringing back furloughed workers. Many are based in the Northeast, where elective procedures are resuming following low COVID-19 infection.

(07/29/20) Addressing Barriers to Care for Patients With Limited English Proficiency During the COVID-19 Pandemic
A blog post featured on Health Affairs discussing the difficulties some patients have receiving care that meets their language proficiency. Recommended solutions to this issue include teaching medical students how to use remote interpreter services and inform their patients of language assistance rights, as well as changes to online patient portals to assist those with limited english comprehension.

Alliance for Health Policy 2020 Signature Series Part I: Summit: Disruptors and Transformers:
(07/23/20) Keynote: A Conversation on Innovative Research Approaches to Advance Our Understanding and Treatment of COVID-19
(07/23/20) Using Data to Disrupt the Spread of COVID-19 and Prevent Future Pandemics

See more information and all parts of the series here
The Alliance for Health Policy is hosting a Summit to provide expert analysis and perspective on the short and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the United States health system. The theme for the first part of the series is disruptive and transformative impacts of the pandemic.

(07/22/20) PCC Webinar: The Secret Sauce: How Some Primary Care Practices Are Surviving COVID-19
A webinar from the Primary Care Collaborative discussing the ways in which some primary care practices are implementing new and innovative strategies to meet the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

(07/20/20) Addressing Racial Health Disparities In The COVID-19 Pandemic: Immediate And Long-term Policy Solutions
A blog post on Health Affairs discussing the racial disparities emerging in the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as strategies to ensure health professionals are adequately prepared and trained to provide better, disparity-addressing care to their patients.

(07/20/20) 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.

(07/18/20) The Coronavirus Means Doctors, Nurses and PAs Are Essential Workers — Until They Get Laid Off
An opinion piece from a physician assistant discussing the way in which the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted her and many other health care providers just like her, from preparing for the pandemic in March to being furloughed in April, and eventually laid off in June. Almost 1.5 million health care workers lost their jobs at some point during the pandemic, leaving many experienced providers unable to treat patients in need.

(07/17/20) Supporting Health Care Delivery in Low-income Areas During COVID-19
A blog post featured in Health Affairs discussing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health care delivery in low-income areas across the country. Low-income communities, whether urban or rural, are less profitable and as such even more vulnerable to losses in revenue, potentially putting access to health care at risk.

(07/14/20) 2020 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives and the Impact of COVID-19
A new report from the health workforce research firm Merritt Hawkins evaluates the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has already had on physicians and other practitioners. Included in the report are predictions for physician shortfalls and examinations of the differences in compensation related to the pandemic.

(07/14/20) Coronavirus Pandemic Flips Clinician Workforce Market
An analysis of a new report form Merritt Hawkins, this article discusses many of the key findings regarding how COVID-19 has changed health workforce demand. Among those findings include significantly reduced demand for hiring new physicians and increased demand for nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

(07/14/20) For Pediatric Primary Care Providers, Federal Relief Funds During the Pandemic May Be Inadequate
A blog post covering the programs to help pediatric primary care providers survive the hits to revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the difficulties qualifying for and utilizing those funds. Many pediatric primary care providers are already working as safety-net providers with reduced reimbursement, and do not qualify for many of the congressionally passed aid programs.

(07/13/20) Pickup Truck Medicine: Saving Primary Care During COVID-19
An opinion piece about the most effective ways to preserve primary care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recommendations include more regulatory flexibility, improved access and utilization of telehealth technology, protecting workers both physically and mentally, and improving their pay to reflect the service provided.

(07/07/20) The Coronavirus Pandemic Could Change the Way America Pays for Health Care
As the COVID-19 pandemic forced many private physician practices to reevaluate how they treat their patients, including large shifts to telehealth and virtual visits, some are looking to the potential for widespread reform in the way health care is paid for in the United States.

(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.

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