Surge Capacity Strategies
Articles, blogs, and reports about health workforce capacity issues and strategies.
(07/06/20) COVID-19 Effects on Care Volumes: What They Might Mean and How We Might Respond
A blog post covering the way COVID-19 has impacted patient volume among health care providers. As health care providers closed practices and moved all but urgent and emergency care to telemedicine, revenue losses have led to a reevaluation of payment methods and efficiency in the healthcare system to ensure health care providers can maintain operations.
(07/01/20) More Than One-Third of Primary Care Clinicians Not Ready for Next COVID-19 Surge
New data from the Larry A Green Center shows that 35% of respondents feel they are not ready for another surge in COVID-19. Respondents also cited shortages of personal protective equipment and increases of patients who have issues with chronic disease management stemming from inability to access care during the pandemic.
A weekly primary care survey about COVID-19 from the Primary Care Collaborative and the Larry A. Green Center. The goal of this project is to assess primary care’s ability to evaluate and manage patients during the COVID-19 pandemic and to consider policy implications going forward.
(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.
(06/26/20) I’m a Health Care Worker. You Need to Know How Close We Are to Breaking.
An opinion piece featured in the New York Times detailing an emergency medicine physician’s perspective on the current impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the livelihoods of health care providers, as well as the hospitals and clinics in which they work.
(06/26/20) Visa Limits Raise Concerns for Doctors at Risk of Deportation
An article describing how the new executive order from President Trump impacts immigrant visas for doctors treating patients with COVID-19. Although exemptions are in place to allow health care workers to remain if they are treating patients with COVID-19, some experts believe legal hurdles for these professionals may make deportation more likely.
(06/24/20) Behavioral Health: A Payer-Based Strategy for Improving Access and Quality During COVID-19 and Beyond
A blog post featured in Health Affairs covering some potential strategies to help improve access and quality of care for behavioral health services both during and following the COVID-19 pandemic. Integrated care, payment reform, and changes to how behavioral health is regulated are all suggested options.
(06/22/20) Preparing for the Next COVID-19 Crisis: A Strategy to Save Safety-Net Hospitals
A blog post discussing the financial vulnerability safety-net hospitals are experiencing in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As routine checkups and most non-emergency visits stopped occurring, safety-net hospitals that rely on Medicaid reimbursements have in many cases been forced to close. Calls for federal funding, loan forgiveness, and expanding health coverage are proposed as solutions to keep safety-net hospitals afloat.
(06/18/20) COVID-19’s Crushing Effects on Medical Practices, Some of Which Might Not Survive
A commentary published in JAMA discussing financial hardships many medical clinics are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the United States, surveys of physicians are finding reductions in hours, pay, and patient visits as well as transitions to telehealth services in an attempt to keep their doors open.
(06/18/20) 80 Percent of Primary Care Clinicians Say Their Level of Burnout is at an All-Time High
New data from the Larry A Green Center shows that more than 80% of primary care clinicians who responded to their survey are experiencing professional burnout. These clinicians also reported lack of personal protective equipment and financial issues making their practices more difficult to maintain operation.
(06/17/20) The Health 202: Some Low-Income Health Providers Say They’re Still Shut Out of Coronavirus Relief Funds
An article covering how some clinics, such as behavioral health centers, pediatric clinics, and children’s hospitals, are often excluded from applying for COVID-19 related relief funds provided by the federal government. Allocation of relief funding continues to be a struggle for federal government response.
(06/16/20) Public Health Cannot Go It Alone On COVID-19
An article advocating for a stronger public health and private insurance partnership to be implemented in response to the public health emergency that is the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, the United States relies on a patchwork of many different layers and systems that often do not cooperate for the benefit of patients.
(06/15/20) A New Addiction Crisis: Treatment Centers Face Financial Collapse
An article discussing how the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced capacity at drug and alcohol treatment centers across the United States, which has the impact of greatly reducing their revenue. While telehealth use has increased, survival for many treatment centers will depend on financial aid from the government.
(06/11/20) An Inside Look At Incident Command During COVID-19 At NYC Health + Hospitals
A podcast from Health Affairs covering the ways in which the New York City Health + Hospitals system coordinated between their special pathogens and emergency management teams to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is also a discussion about best practices and continuing to improve services for patients going forward.
(06/12/20) We Need Primary Care More Than Ever to Fight COVID-19
A podcast featuring health policy expert Farzad Mostashari, M.D., discussing how to ensure that primary care providers are able to meet the needs of the COVID-19 pandemic for the duration of the pandemic.
(06/11/20) Critical Care and Emergency Department Response at the Epicenter of the COVID-19 Pandemic
A commentary piece published in Health Affairs covering the steps taken by New York City Health + Hospitals to expand their critical care and emergency department capacity to address the COVID-19 pandemic. New York City Health + Hospitals is the largest public hospital network in the United States.
(06/11/20) Staffing Up For The Surge: Expanding the New York City Public Hospital Workforce During the COVID-19 Pandemic
A commentary piece published in Health Affairs by senior leadership of NYC Health + Hospitals, discussing what the largest public hospital system in the United States did to ensure their health workforce could meet the surge in capacity needed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
(06/10/20) Eighty-Six Percent of Primary Care Patients Believe Racism is Impacting Their Health
New data from the Larry A Green Center shows that racism is a primary concern among both primary care patients and providers. One in five primary care providers reported discussing the death of George Floyd with their patients in recent visits. The survey also showed that clinicians and patients are still struggling with personal protective equipment and staff layoffs as a result of COVID-19.
(06/10/20) Doctors Race To Understand What COVID-19 Means for People With HIV
An article covering how COVID-19 has impacted how doctors treat patients with HIV infection, and the toll it has taken on both patients and providers. As HIV compromises the immune system, fear of vulnerability among those patients to COVID-19 infection has led to attempts by doctors to find a solution to protect those patients.
(06/10/20) How Doctors Use Stories To Help Them Cope With the Coronavirus Crisis
An article describing how physicians can use storytelling as a method of improving patient outcomes. Medical schools in California are on the forefront of teaching storytelling, which clinicians have found to be useful to communicating with nonprofessionals and increasing adherence to public health recommendations.
(06/09/20) Decades of Yo-Yo Funding Hampering COVID-19 Response
An article covering how the inconsistent funding of public health services and the public health workforce in the United States has harmed the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(06/07/20) Doctors Race For Answers as Kids Fight Rare Inflammatory Syndrome Tied To Coronavirus
An article covering the urgency of pediatric physicians in addressing a new inflammatory syndrome related to COVID-19. As children appear to be least risk of contracting COVID-19, the attention for most COVID-19 related research and treatment has been on adults.
(06/07/20) George Floyd Protests Add New Front Line for Coronavirus Doctors
An article highlighting the potential impact of the George Floyd protests on the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. Many physicians feel they have an important role in protesting and acting as community leaders, however there is concern that the current protests will lead to a resurgence and second wave of infection.
(06/05/20) COVID-19 Overwhelms Border ICUs
A story from Kaiser Health News covering the situation many clinics near the United States-Mexico border are experiencing, with many emergency department visits caused by COVID-19 being from patients who are traveling from Mexico to seek treatment in the United States. These border clinics are being overwhelmed and transferring to less busy hospitals further north.
(06/05/20) To Protect Public Health During and After the Pandemic, We Need a New Approach To Financing Community Health Workers
A blog post covering the important role community health workers can play in reducing the spread of infectious diseases, especially those communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The post calls for more funding for community health workers in order to recruit and sustain an effective community health workforce.
(06/04/20) Rapid Investment in Nursing to Strengthen the Global COVID-19 Response
A guest editorial in the International Journal of Nursing Studies covering the unprecedented challenges nurses are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
(06/04/20) Ensuring and Sustaining a Pandemic Workforce
Leaders of federally funded and privately funded health workforce research centers came together to raise issues that must be addressed to ensure that we have the workforce we need to care for patients with COVID-19.
(06/04/20) Interview With Dr Erin Fraher on Opportunities for Expanding Health Workforce Capacity During the COVID-19 Pandemic
An interview with Dr Erin Fraher of the Cecil G Sheps Center for Health Services Research at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill covering the opportunities and challenges of expanding the capacity of the health workforce to meet the needs of the COVID-19 pandemic.
(06/04/20) New Survey Shows Higher-Than-Normal Use of Primary Care and Telehealth by Patients
New data from the Larry A Green Center shows that telehealth use and availability is increasingly common in primary care settings. The data also shows that primary care use has increased compared to 2019, even as overall in-person visitation volume has declined.
(06/04/20) Why America’s Nurses Were Not Prepared for the Coronavirus Pandemic
An article covering the issues nurses have faced in the COVID-19 pandemic, including lack of emergency preparedness education, staffing shortages, and lack of access to mental health services.
(06/03/20) Local Public Health Workers Report Hostile Threats and Fears About Contact Tracing
An article covering some of the issues state and local health officials have been experiencing in implementing contact tracing. Lack of willingness to share important data and threats to health departments risk hampering the response to COVID-19.
(06/03/20) For Some Private Practices, COVID-19 is the Last Straw
An article discussing the way in which COVID-19 has led some physicians, practice managers, and others to retire earlier than they would have otherwise. Physicians cited their own personal risk factors and additional burdens to operating in the COVID-19 pandemic as reasons they decided to end their practices.
(06/03/20) We Can’t Combat the COVID-19 Pandemic Without Public Health Investment
An opinion piece from Linda P Fried, the dean and DeLamar professor of Public Health at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, discussing the importance of public health investment and how a public health investment has put the United States at risk in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
(06/02/20) Hiring a Diverse Army To Track COVID-19 Amid Reopening
An article covering the efforts state and local health departments are making to ensure their new COVID-19 contact tracer hires are diverse enough to meet the needs of the racial and ethnic communities most at risk from the pandemic.
(06/01/20) Primary Care Doctors Could be COVID-19’s Next Victims
An opinion piece covering the troubling state of distress in which many primary care clinics currently find themselves, with as many as 60,000 primary care physicians potentially out of work by the end of this month. The authors argue that years of lack of investment in primary care have created a system that is unlikely to withstand the COVID-19 pandemic without further federal financial aid.
(05/29/20) Contact Tracing May Help Avoid Another Lockdown. Can it Work in the US?
An article describing potential difficulties with implementing contact tracing across the United States. Some of the issues include hiring enough contact tracers and ensuring compliance of those exposed.
(05/27/20) New Data Shows Panic Among Primary Care Patients as Practices Face Mounting Financial Burdens, Layoffs and Closures
New data from the Larry A Green Center shows that many primary care providers are concerned about many differing factors, including financial issues and the fear of reopening too soon. Nearly 40% of clinics have laid off staff in the previous 8 weeks, and now clinics are dealing with increases in patients with less staff and lower income.
(05/26/20) Patients Are Giving High Marks To US Health Care Providers During the Crisis
An article featured in the Harvard Business Review discussing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patient satisfaction. Areas most impacted by COVID-19 are rating their experiences much higher than usual, a sign of public support for the health workforce.
(05/21/20) Can PCPs Survive COVID-19? Only If Fee-for-Service Goes
An article highlighting the issues primary care providers face in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Low pay and lack of reserve funding mean many clinics are facing layoffs and risk of closure that other specialties may be better able to mitigate.
(05/21/20) New Primary Care Survey Shows Practices in Trouble Now and in the Future
According to the 10th weekly survey from the Primary Care Collaborative, more than half of primary care clinicians are concerned that they will not be prepared for another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, both mentally and physically as well as financially.
(05/21/20) After COVID-19: How To Rejuvenate Primary Care for the Future
A blog post discussing some of the innovative changes primary care can make based on what has been practiced during the COVID-19 pandemic. These include increasing utilization of telehealth as well as addressing barriers to access such as payment and organization, including solutions to move beyond those barriers.
(05/21/20) COVID-19 Effect on Mental Health: Patients and Workforce
A statement from a group of psychiatrists published in The Lancet discussing the measures that have been taken in various parts of the world to allow for access of telepsychiatry and training and availability of personal protective equipment for psychiatrists
(05/20/20) New Workforce Estimates Show Public Health Never Recovered From the Great Recession. Then Came COVID-19
A piece discussing the state of the public health workforce during the past decade. Estimates show that the public health workforce is smaller now than it was a decade ago in the midst of the great recession, a troubling sign considering the potential need for hundreds of thousands of contact tracers.
(05/19/20) The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Outpatient Visits: A Rebound Emerges
A publication from the Commonwealth Fund covering the changes in outpatient visit volume throughout the pandemic. While March saw a steep initial drop in patient volume, there has been a steady increase in patient volume since, however still below what is expected. This trend was observed across the United States.
(05/18/20) The COVID-19 Pandemic Will Have a Long-term Impact on Healthcare. Here are 4 Changes To Expect
An article highlighting some of the changes that may become important for delivering health care post-COVID-19 pandemic, including changes to how elective surgeries are performed, increased use of telehealth and more frequent cleaning of facilities
(05/18/20) COVID-19 and Telehealth Revolution Policy Barriers Are Standing in the Way of Transforming Care
An article describing changes to improve access to health care remotely via telehealth in response to COVID-19. These improvements are time-limited, and risk becoming barriers to telehealth unless they are allowed to become permanent following the COVID-19 pandemic.
George Washington University Mullan Institute COVID-19 Webinar Series:
(05/18/20) Ensuring Access To Oral Care
(05/11/20) Data Tool to Calculate Contact Tracer Workforce Need
See all webinars here
The George Washington University Mullan Institute is hosting a webinar series regarding emergency health workforce policies to address COVID-19.
(05/18/20) Medicaid Clinics and Doctors Have Been Last in Line for COVID-19 Relief Funding
An article describing the issues clinics and providers who primarily treat Medicaid patients have been experiencing in receiving COVID-19 relief funding.
(05/18/20) How Will COVID-19 Change Patient Experience, Healthcare Delivery?
An article outlining the perspectives of some primary care providers about the ways in which COVID-19 has changed the patient experience in primary care, as well as what changes may be expected to be maintained in a post-pandemic environment.
(05/13/20) Psychiatrists ‘Pleasantly Surprised’ With Transition To Telemedicine
An article describing the forced shift for psychiatrists to telemedicine based treatment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some benefits and disadvantages are listed, with most psychiatrists reporting a desire to return to in-person practice beyond the pandemic.
(05/12/20) Culturally Competent Healthcare: Lessons From a Safety-Net Hospital in the COVID Era
An article covering strategies used to address cultural competence in health care delivery in the context of COVID-19. Cultural competency is a tool that can be used to address health inequalities, especially when dealing with minority populations who are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
(05/11/20) As MH Workforce Evolves During COVID-19, Telehealth Seen as New Normal
A newsletter describing the impact of COVID-19 on how the mental health workforce provides health care. Recent shifts to telehealth may become integrated in treatment after the pandemic has passed.
(05/11/20) Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle: Home Health Workforce is Essential To Addressing COVID-19
An article discussing comments from former United States Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and other experts regarding the importance of home health care in reducing the burden of COVID-19 on hospital systems and improving treatment options for patients.
(05/11/20) Federal Funding for State and Local Contact Tracing Efforts is an Urgent Priority, and a Bargain
A blog post advocating for improved funding for public health as an investment to contain COVID-19 and allow for safe reopening of the economy through extensive contact tracing.
(05/09/20) Three Workforce Strategies To Help COVID Affected Communities
A blog post offering some strategies to best assist the communities most impacted by COVID-19. The premise behind these strategies is utilizing a large community-based public health workforce to protect vulnerable communities, act as immediate contact tracers, and working to address other negative factors impacting community health.
(05/08/20) Ensuring the Growth of Telehealth During COVID-19 Does Not Exacerbate Disparities in Care
A blog post describing how the move to provide health care services remotely via telehealth has the potential to leave many people behind, including minority and elderly populations. The post also includes potential solutions to reduce barriers and increase access to telehealth.
(05/06/20) To Strengthen the Public Health Response To COVID-19, We Need Community Health Workers
An article describing potential benefits to utilizing community health workers to both increase access of vulnerable communities to health care and aid in increasing current clinical capacity and contact tracing efforts.
(05/06/20) Mullan Institute Contact Tracing Workforce Estimator
The Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity has developed a Contact Tracing Workforce Estimator. This tool will help state and local health departments in determining the number of contact tracers needed to trace the contacts of those diagnosed with COVID-19, helping to slow the spread of the virus.
(05/04/20) Milken Institute School of Public Health Launches Survey of Health Care Workers
The Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University has launched a survey to gather information about the exposure and infection of health care workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The data from this survey will be made available publicly, aiding researchers in identifying and developing policies and practices to best address the pandemic and keep workers safe.