Week 22 Newsletter

9/2/20 – 9/9/20

Surge Capacity Strategies

A suggested tool to combat COVID-19 infection involves offering more physicians with clinical research training, akin to the Vietnam-era programs giving doctors experience both treating patients and in the laboratory.

Surge Capacity Resources
(09/02/20) During the Vietnam War, These Physician-Scientists Were Called ‘Yellow Berets.’ They Are What We Need to Fight COVID-19
An opinion piece published in STAT discussing the use of physician-scientists during the Vietnam War and the benefit of having a physician who can treat patients and quickly transition to studying disease in the laboratory. The National Institutes of Health Associates Training Program enabled recent graduate physicians to receive multi-year extensive clinical research training, and the author advocates for boosting this program again to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Changes to Organizational Policies and Guidelines

While many health care jobs are returning  and many hospitals are bringing back furloughed workers, the recovery is not linear and many practices are still at risk of closing.

Policies and Guidelines Resources
(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.



There is a reduction in telehealth utilization compared to the height of the pandemic, as many practices are reopened and offering in-person treatment.

While innovative, telehealth leaves some physicians concerned about losing the physical examination, and the many benefits with in-person treatment.

Telehealth Resources
(09/01/20) Telehealth Visits Are Plunging, Forcing Providers to Recalibrate
An article covering the decreasing trend of telehealth visits as a percentage of total visits to health care providers. Telehealth utilization dropped from nearly two-thirds of visits early in the pandemic to nearly one-fifth in mid July, leading to changes in the way providers operate their practices.


(08/31/20) As Telemedicine Replaces the Physical Exam, What Are Doctors Missing?
This interview from NPR discusses a physician’s perspective on what is potentially lost from the widespread adoption of telehealth services. As telehealth technology enables easier access to primary care from distant locations, some physicians are concerned about losing the physical examination, which provides opportunities to catch certain conditions, like heart failure, in ways not yet possible with remote technology.

Health Workforce Safety

A recent survey cites a number of safety concerns among nurses treating patients with COVID-19.

Health Workforce Safety Resources
(09/02/20) 42% of Nurses Have Run Out of PPE & 4 Other Survey Findings
A survey from the American Nurses Association has found a number of safety concerns among nurses treating patients with COVID-19. Nurses are being forced to reuse personal protective equipment, which are on short supply, causing fear and uncertainty.

Maintaining the Educational Pipeline

There are calls for more support for medical residents, both financially and emotionally, for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maintaining the Educational Pipeline
(09/01/20) Medical Residents Need Support — Financial and Emotional — for Their COVID-19 Work
This opinion piece published in STAT discusses the need to offer more financial and emotional support for medical residents for their participation in the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical students have made many sacrifices to treat patients during the pandemic, and the author advocates for addressing the physical and psychological harm these residents face.

Regulatory Flexibility

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has clarified rules concerning remote patient monitoring, tightening restrictions from previous flexibility in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some state licensure exams have been altered to reduce numbers taking the exam at once, as well as moved to alternate formats.

Regulatory Flexibility
(09/01/20) CMS Proposes Significant Changes to Remote Patient Monitoring Coverage
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced clarifications in rules that enable providers to establish and operate remote patient monitoring programs. The flexibility seen during the COVID-19 pandemic has been restricted.

08/24/20) COVID-19 Pandemic Sends Many State Licensing Exams on Furlough
The Professional Licensing Report published this article covering some of the state licensing exams impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In efforts to reduce in-person numbers, some tests have been furloughed and some moved to alternate formats.