State Workforce Strategies

States are addressing the workforce challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are links describing their efforts.

(06/03/21) COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contact Tracing in the US, 2020
A new study published in JAMA investigates COVID-19 contact tracing in the United States between June and October of 2020. The primary conclusions were that contact tracing was suboptimal in preventing COVID-19 transmission due to just one-third of positive cases being contacted and even fewer naming contacts.

(06/03/21) Why Contact Tracing Couldn’t Keep Up With the US COVID Outbreak
Surveys from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security were conducted five times to measure the contact tracing workforce of state and territorial health departments in the United States over the course of the pandemic. These surveys found that while the contact tracing workforce peaked in the US in December 2020, the US was never capable of keeping up with the need for contact tracing to make it most effective.

(06/02/21) California Bill Would Give Healthcare Workers COVID Bonuses
A new bill under consideration in California would require hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities to pay medical workers $10,000 bonuses for working during the COVID-19 pandemic. While private facilities and their advocacy groups are concerned about the cost of such action, the bill seeks to address burnout in workers and both California and the federal government may offer funds to pay substantial portions.

(05/20/21) New State Law Requirements for Health Care Worker Protections During A Declared State of Emergency
This memo from the Washington State Hospital Association highlights the requirements put into law for health workforce protections as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the declared state of emergency to deal with it.

(04/21/21) To Relieve Healthcare Workers Shortage, Congress Considers Recapturing Unused Visas
This article from The National Law Review highlights a bill recently reintroduced to the US Senate, the Health Workforce Resilience Act. This act seeks to recapture unused visas and remove caps based on country, for these visas among other efforts, in order to incentivize foreign-trained health care workers to practice in the US in areas experiencing shortages.

(04/05/21) Giving it Our Best Shot – Statewide Vaccination Plans (UPDATED)
This toolkit offers state-level guidance on eligibility for vaccine rollouts to assist employers, health care systems, and long-term care facilities. Although this list is not all-inclusive, it connects to resources specific to each state.

(04/03/21) New Way for Health Care Providers to Volunteer as COVID-19 Vaccinators
Virginia Governor has announced efforts to increase the vaccination workforce in Virginia and improve vaccine distribution. Recently signed legislation will expand which providers are eligible to provide vaccines, combining with recent executive orders to increase vaccination flexibility from providers.

(03/18/21) Report: Pandemic Accelerated Health Care Workforce Challenges
The Wisconsin Hospital Association has released a report evaluating how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed health care delivery in Wisconsin, as well as what improvements can be made in the future.

(03/15/21) State Responses to Address Workforce Needs in the Initial Wave of the Pandemic
This research brief summarizes findings on how states prepared for and responded to the pandemic. Themes include regulatory flexibility, surge capacity for acute care services, and impacts on both ambulatory care services and the health professions educational pipeline.

(03/04/21) A Review Of State Health Department COVID-19 Websites: Concerns And Recommendations
This blog post from Health Affairs offers a review of websites set up by state-level health departments across the United States to address COVID-19 vaccination, highlighting issues and offering suggestions for improvement. Many health care providers are expressing difficulty finding information on becoming vaccine providers, with inconsistency in terminology and lack of clear pathways to information.

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