Health Workforce Policies and Guidelines – Archive

(05/30/21) COVID Has Made It Harder to Be a Health-care Worker. Now, Many Are Thinking of Quitting
This article from CNBC analyzes the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has made health care professions more difficult, including recent surveys finding large percentages of health care workers have considered leaving their jobs during the pandemic. Many issues existed for health care workers prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the pandemic exacerbated many of these, such as workload and burnout.

(05/25/21) Pandemic Leads Doctors to Rethink Unnecessary Treatment
This article, jointly published by Kaiser Health News and The Washington Post, highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to overtreatment and unnecessary treatment of patients, a decades-long issue in medicine.

(05/17/21) Women in Healthcare Are at a Breaking Point—and They’re Leaving
This article featured in Modern Healthcare highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted women in the health workforce. Women in the health workforce lost the most jobs in the pandemic, and have not yet recovered from the steepest losses in April 2020.

(05/13/21) How Health Care in the US May Change After COVID: An Optimist’s Outlook
This interview from NPR speaks to Dr. Shantanu Nundy, a primary care physician and chief medical officer of Accolade, discusses some of the positive changes made to health care delivery in the United States as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rapid transition to patient-focused at-home and telemedicine services is seen as a positive by Dr. Nundy, who favors a decentralized model of distributed health care.

(04/26/21) New Report Highlights Certified PA Practice Patterns During COVID-19 Pandemic
A new report from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants has outlined trends in the physician assistant (PA) workforce during the first nine months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some key findings include more than 60% of PAs having used telehealth during the pandemic, 96% of PAs surveyed being employed in a clinical position nine months into the pandemic, and just 12% experiencing a furlough during the pandemic.

(03/17/21) March 2021 Health Sector Economic Indicators Briefs
New monthly analysis from Altarum has indicated the health workforce is smaller now than at its pre-pandemic peak in February 2020, including recent drops in January 2021. Overall, the health workforce has decreased by 3.5% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

(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

(10/27/20) COVID-19 and Health Disparities: Insights From Key Informant Interviews
Another addition to the Health Affairs Blog series, “Higher Health Care Value Post COVID-19.” In this blog post, the authors discuss the results of key informant interviews about health disparities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how that impacts value in health care delivery.

(10/27/20) The COVID-19 Pandemic Can Help Us Understand Low-Value Health Care
Delivering health care with a higher risk of harm compared to benefit can be a result of overuse of health care. Care like this can be low value and wasteful compared to care which provides proportional benefit to its cost. This blog post helps identify low value care in the context of COVID-19, and encourages further evaluation of the role of low value care before, during, and after the pandemic.

(10/23/20) Spillover Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic Could Drive Long-Term Health Consequences for Non-COVID-19 Patients
With priority for treatment and procedures going to COVID-19 patients and related services, many non-COVID-19 patients are choosing to delay treatments or may not have treatment available to them. This potentially leaves negative long-term consequences for children, patients with chronic conditions, and patients at risk for cancer, among others.

(10/21/20) Opportunities to Improve Value in Health Following the COVID-19 Pandemic
This blog post from the Health Affairs series “Higher Health Care Value Post COVID-19” discusses the learning opportunities for health care in the United States taken from the COVID-19 pandemic. These opportunities are presented as avoiding wasteful and unnecessary treatments and changing payment methodology, among others.

(10/21/20) Applying Value Assessment to the Health Care Sector for COVID-19
This blog post from the Health Affairs series “Higher Health Care Value Post COVID-19” seeks to assess the opportunity costs, cost-effectiveness thresholds, and dominance and cost-savings potentials from changes to health care experienced in the COVID-19 pandemic.

(10/19/20) Trends in Overall and Non-COVID-19 Hospital Admissions
This issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation covers trend data for hospital admissions, both overall and exclusive of COVID-19. This data can be helpful in estimating the impact of changes to admissions and services on the long-term financial health of hospitals in the United States.

(10/16/20) Social Work and Tele-behavioral Health During COVID-19
The Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center at the University of Michigan has released a research brief covering the use of tele-behavioral health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings of the research include significant increases in use of tele-behavioral health and organizational telehealth capabilities.

(10/16/20) How Virtual Care Can be Refined to Reach Those Who Need it Most
In this article, multiple experts are interviewed for their perspective on how to improve access to health care utilizing telehealth services and technology. Although virtual care offers some benefits to address issues with physical access to care, there are still issues with ensuring the technology is distributed and accessible equitably.

(10/15/20) CMS Will Reimburse for 11 New Telehealth Services During the Public Health Emergency
New guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has added 11 additional services to the list of reimbursable Medicare telehealth services. These additional services expand into such practices as neurology and both cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services.

(10/14/20) As Telehealth Surges, Dermatology Brings Experience With Access and Sustainability
Utilization of telehealth technology has expanded rapidly with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with apparent long-term staying power. This blog post from Health Affairs covers some of the opportunities and challenges for telehealth continuing forward based on the use thus-far in the pandemic.

(10/13/20) Top 3 Concerns with the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rule
This article discusses some of the changes proposed for the 2021 Medicare Fee Schedule, which has some provider groups worried. These proposed changes include cuts to some specialty payments, changes to telehealth services eligible for reimbursement, and new quality reporting requirements.

(10/13/20) 3 Health System Execs on Staffing Challenges, Advice to Peers
Reorganization of hospitals and clinics to respond to the needs of the pandemic have also forced staffing adjustments to health systems across the country. This article from Becker’s Hospital Review covers interviews with three health system executives discussing their strategies and advice to meet these demands.

(10/09/20) Distributing Provider Financial Aid to Create a More Efficient, Equitable System
This blog post from Health Affairs advocates for reforming the methodology for distributing emergency relief funds, targeting issues relating to the emergency COVID-19 funding. The authors argue wealthier hospitals that are better able to withstand revenue disruptions received too much funding compared to less wealthy health care providers.

(10/08/20) How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Affected Provision of Elective Services: The Challenges Ahead
With the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services releasing guidelines in March recommending the postponement or cancellation of elective procedures, many states and organizations across the country put an end to these services. This blog post featured in Health Affairs discusses some of the impacts of this disruption, from revenue problems to adverse impacts on patients.

(10/08/20) Limitations of the Program for Uninsured COVID-19 Patients Raise Concerns
This article covered by the Kaiser Family Foundation covers the policy implications of the federal provider relief program intended to cover uninsured individuals who are hospitalized or seek treatment for COVID-19. A significant limitation of the program is that providers are not guaranteed reimbursement, as it is contingent on available funding, leading many providers to either not participate entirely or withdraw after previously participating.

(10/02/20) Higher Health Care Value Post COVID-19
Health Affairs has assembled a group of experts to discuss some of the light in the darkness of the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically relating to the ways in which value can be increased from the changes forced by the pandemic.

(10/01/20) To Free Doctors From Computers, Far-Flung Scribes Are Now Taking Notes for Them
As COVID-19 upended traditional medical visits, telehealth and other remote services saw drastically increased utilization. This includes remote scribing, where scribes take medical notes for health care providers from a remote location, and add them to the patient’s electronic health record, without risking COVID-19 exposure.

(09/30/20) Health Equity and the Future of Nursing, Post-COVID-19
This blog post featured in Health Affairs discusses the important roles nurses can take to advocate for important changes to health care based on what has been learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses are among the most trust health care providers and can use this position to advocate for reforms supporting increased health equity.

(09/24/20) The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Hospital Admissions in the United States
This research article published by Health Affairs covers the changes to hospital admissions in the United States as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study found significant decreases in non-COVID-19 related hospital admissions throughout the pandemic, albeit lower at the onset than during the summer. These decreases are most pronounced in majority-Hispanic communities.

(09/22/20) Rural Hospitals Teeter on Financial Cliff as COVID Medicare Loans Come Due
A joint-reported article from Kaiser Health News and NPR highlighting the financial issues many rural hospitals are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As payment for medicare loans given months prior are becoming due, many rural facilities are not in a position to repay and could use even more assistance.

(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.

(7/29/20) 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.

(06/29/20) Medicare Shouldn’t Make Ground Ambulance Services Take a Financial Hit for Providing at-home Care
An opinion piece discussing the lack of reimbursement ambulance services are facing as they treat patients at their homes, in an effort to avoid unnecessarily reducing capacity in hospitals. Some states require ambulance crews to treat patients on site if possible, especially during the pandemic, and yet Medicare is refusing reimbursement.

(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

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.

(04/27/20) Telehealth Strategies
This National Governors Association memorandum discusses strategies for governors seeking to improve coverage and access to telehealth services in a manner that best addresses the COVID -19 pandemic.

(04/20/20) Health Care Workforce is Recession Proof. Is it ‘Pandemic Proof?’
An article about the job threat health care workers are facing-pay cuts, furloughs, and layoffs-amid the worse disease outbreak in a century.

(04/06/20) Gubernatorial Strategies for Health Care Workforce and Facility Capacity
This memorandum from the National Governors Association discusses strategies for governors to increase the capacity of the health care workforce in responding to COVID-19.

(04/06/20) States Address Provider Shortages to Meet the Health Care Demands of the Pandemic
An article on the National Academy for State Health Policy website that looks at strategies states are using to address provider shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. Strategies discussed include: expanding scope of practice, relicensing retired providers, and amending out of state licensing laws.

(04/01/20) The Respiratory Therapist Workforce in the U.S. Supply, Distribution, Education Pathways, and State Responses to Emergency Surges in Demand
This Rapid Response Brief from the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University of Washington provides information about the respiratory therapist workforce in the US. It includes descriptions of the supply, distribution, and education pathways of the workforce. The brief also addresses COVID-19 emergency concerns about the respiratory therapist workforce capacity and examples of state approaches to address workforce gaps.