Week 20 Newsletter

August 25th 2020 Updates

Surge Capacity Strategies
Intensive care unit capacity in hospitals remains a top priority for combating COVID-19. More consideration is being given to the cost of maintaining capacity, both in terms of medical supplies and the lives of those providing care.
Surge Capacity Resources

(08/18/20) ICU Capacity is More About the Clinicians Than the Number of Beds
This opinion piece featured in STAT discusses the reality behind intensive care unit capacity in the United States health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic. As many health professionals in ICU settings are in critical roles treating COVID-19 patients, many are being asked to work overtime for months on end and experiencing burnout at high rates, leading to fears of worse care quality.

(08/17/20) Nurse Practitioner COVID-19 Survey
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners has released the results of a survey of nurse practitioners conducted between July 28 and August 9. Important data captured includes delays in getting patient results of COVID-19 tests, increases in nurse practitioners testing positive for COVID-19, and opinions on the regulatory and licensure flexibility many states are employing.

(08/14/20) FDA Creates First-ever Medical Supply Shortage List Including Masks, Swabs, and Ventilators
As questions of maintaining hospital capacity continue, the Food and Drug Administration has created a list of all medical supplies used to treat COVID-19 that are experiencing shortages. This first-ever list will help determine the capacity and safety of treating patients for many health professionals.

Continued attention to telehealth both during and after the pandemic includes discussions about barriers to the continued use of the technology.
Telehealth Resources

(08/21/20) A Pandemic Gives Telehealth a New Purpose With Community Paramedicine
This article discusses some of the important and innovative ways telehealth technology is being utilized to improve quality of service and care coordination in health care. Utilizing the technology, emergency medical service providers are providing better, more informed care outside of clinical settings.

(08/19/20) What We Learned From COVID: Telehealth is Here to Stay
An opinion piece from Republican Representative Kevin Hern of Oklahoma discussing the “new normal” that is telehealth expansion to address COVID-19, even beyond the eventual end of the pandemic. The expansion of telehealth has driven it from a scarcely used service to an essential and reliable component of health care, especially in rural communities.

(08/18/20) Telehealth Visits Skyrocket Among Americans Age 50-80
The percentage of adults aged 50-80 who utilize telehealth services has increased from just 4% in May 2019 to more than 30% in June 2020. This article discusses the opportunities of expansion, including increased access, ease, and comfort receiving health care, and threats to expansion, such as lack of tech experience and a preference for in person visits.

(08/17/20) Telehealth and the New Choreography of ‘Anywhere Care’
An opinion piece featured in STAT discussing some of the barriers of providing comprehensive health care using telehealth services. Issues with access to specialties to payment parity to maintaining provider-patient relationships are all concerns for the widespread adoption and success of telehealth.

Long-term Care
Long-term care advocacy organizations are projecting an accelerated shift to home-based health care, as many long-term care facilities are facing immense financial struggles.
Long-term Care Resources

(08/17/20) With 40% of Nursing Homes Close to Shutting Down, the ‘Shift to Home’ Is Likely to Accelerate
An article discussing a potential shift to home-based health care following a report from the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living, both of which represent more than 14,000 nursing homes across the United States. Their report found that nearly 40% of nursing homes are at risk of shutting down with difficulties affording personal protective equipment and recruiting staff to meet demands.

Health Workforce Safety
Innovative strategies are essential to address issues with the long-term supply of personal protective equipment.

Continued consideration is being given for the health and well-being of health care providers, with recommendations for organizations to help keep their providers safe and healthy.

Health Workforce Safety Resources

(08/21/20) New Care Cube Reduces COVID-19 Infection for Health Care Workers
This story from public radio station WBUR in Boston discusses the innovative new “Care Cube” developed to allow patients infected with COVID-19 to be visited by healthy individuals and treated by their health care providers with less risk.

(08/19/20) 15 Steps to Navigate Crises and Promote Physician Well-being
The American Medical Association has released a 15 step protocol to address and improve physician wellbeing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Association has also released free surveys for organizations to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on their organization.

(08/17/20) PPE Shortage Could Last Years Without Strategic Plan, Experts Warn
An article discussing expert opinion on the potential for a years-long crisis in personal protective equipment shortages without strategic government intervention. Logistical challenges meeting demands for personal protective equipment are leading to rolling shortages in clinics across the United States, with manufacturers hesitant to commit to expanding production without long-term government contracts.

Regulatory Flexibility
As telehealth technology is proving effective for health care delivery, calls for legislation to ease regulatory restrictions on health care providers continue.
Regulatory Flexibility Resources

(08/21/20) It’s Time to Permanently Suspend Regulatory Barriers to Telehealth
The use of telehealth technology to deliver quality health care has risen substantially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency regulations have enabled access and utilization like never seen before, and many are calling for permanent suspension of regulatory barriers to enable telehealth technology to continue to thrive.