Week 19 Newsletter

August 18th 2020 Updates

Surge Capacity Strategies
As hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients rise in much of the United States, a focus on surge capacity remains at the forefront.
Surge Capacity Resources

(08/11/20) 26 States Will Soon Face Shortages of ICU Doctors
Researchers at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health found that twenty six states will soon face shortages in health care workers needed to treat patients with COVID-19. There are projected shortages this month in doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and pharmacists.

There is continued attention to the use of telehealth both during and after the pandemic.
Telehealth Resources

(08/14/20) Moving On From Telehealth-by-desperation: What Will Make Telehealth Stick
Reports in April indicated that as many as 90% of physicians in the United States were utilizing some form of telehealth technology to treat patients remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This Health Affairs blog post offers some strategies to ensure continued use of the technology, including ensuring HIPAA compliance and addressing treatment quality concerns.

(08/13/20) Medicare Telehealth Expansion Could Be Here to Stay. Here’s Where Things Stand
An article describing the current status of telehealth expansion regulations for Medicare beneficiaries and where those restrictions may lead in the future. While the COVID-19 pandemic has enabled widespread implementation of telehealth services, policymakers are seeking ways to address cost and quality of the services provided.

(08/11/20) Reducing Barriers to Using Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring for Pediatric Populations under Medicaid
This report identifies strategies for reducing barriers to using services delivered via telehealth for the treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs) among pediatric populations under Medicaid.

(08/10/20) Telehealth and the Future of the US Healthcare Industry
This article examines the effects of telehealth on US healthcare during COVID-19 and looks at ways telemedicine is going to shape the future of healthcare.

(08/04/20) CMS Expands Telehealth Coverage in Physician Fee Rule Following Trump Executive Order
An article discussing a new executive order signed by United States President Donald Trump making permanent many expansions of telehealth regulations enacted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the public health emergency.

Health Workforce Safety
Coercive tactics reportedly drove health professionals infected with COVID-19 to return to work, placing their patients and colleagues at risk. Further attention is paid to young members of the health workforce who have died treating COVID-19.
Health Workforce Safety Resources

(08/13/20) Lives Cut Short: Remembering Health Care Workers in Their 20s Killed by COVID-19
An article featured on NPR discussing the realities of the risks health care workers face to continue providing care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. While the risk of COVID-19 is highest in the elderly, many workers early in their careers have succumbed to the disease.

(08/13/20) US Hospitals Pressure Healthcare Staff to Work Even if They Have COVID Symptoms
A joint investigation from The Guardian and Kaiser Health News has found that many health care workers were either forced to or encouraged to return to work while experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, potentially putting themselves and their colleagues at risk.

Maintaining the Educational Pipeline
As medical schools begin their fall semesters, the Association of American Medical Colleges has released guidance to help schools plan. Several articles were published recently describing expected changes to medical education for this semester and beyond.
Maintaining the Educational Pipeline Resources

(08/14/20) How COVID-19 is Shaking Up Medical Education—for Good
An article covering some of the changes medical schools have implemented across the United States to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including those which may remain permanent fixtures following. Further education on telehealth services and increased use of virtual meeting spaces may become permanent components of education going forward

(08/14/20) Guidance on Medical Students’ Participation in Direct In-person Patient Contact Activities
The Association of American Medical Colleges has released guidance to help academic medical centers determine which components of medical education are important and practical for the upcoming academic year.

(08/11/20) Back to Medical School During COVID-19
This article from the Association of American Medical Colleges discusses the many aspects of medical education disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the requirements for medical education remain and need to be met in ways that allow for safety and preservation of personal protective equipment.

Regulatory Flexibility
Federal lawmakers continue to propose legislation to ease regulatory restrictions on health care providers, especially relating to telehealth services provided during the pandemic.

Regulatory Flexibility Resources

(08/13/20) Treats Act Aims to Expand Use of Telehealth to Treat Substance Use Disorder
This article in the National Law Review covers the introduction of a new bill called the Treats Act with a goal of reducing regulatory barriers health care providers face in writing prescriptions through telehealth services. The bipartisan legislation has entered the committee process and aims to develop a pathway to specifically address controlled substance prescriptions for those with substance use disorders.

(08/05/20) Senators Eye Telehealth Licensure Freedom During COVID-19 Emergency
An article covering a new bipartisan bill proposed by Senators Chris Murphy and Roy Blunt with the purpose of allowing interstate licensure for telehealth treatment. State specific licensure requirements are a major barrier to telehealth expansion.