Week 28 Newsletter
Surge Capacity Strategies
Despite COVID-19 cases continuing to surge, the contact tracing workforce in the US has barely increased since April.
Surge Capacity Strategies
(10/14/20) COVID-19 Contact Tracing Workforce Barely ‘Inching Up’ as Cases Surge
Cases of COVID-19 are rising fast in many states, however a new survey from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and NPR has found that the contact tracing workforce across the United States has increased to more than 50,000, a 10,000 person increase from the previous survey in April, but short of the 100,000 recommended by public health experts. States are struggling with limited funding and data to establish contact tracing, with no federal funding expected to support efforts.
Executives of 3 major health systems in the US give advice on addressing organizational change and staffing challenges brought on by COVID-19.
Policies and Guidelines
(10/13/20) 3 Health System Execs on Staffing Challenges, Advice to Peers
Reorganization of hospitals and clinics to respond to the needs of the pandemic have also forced staffing adjustments to health systems across the country. This article from Becker’s Hospital Review covers interviews with three health system executives discussing their strategies and advice to meet these demands.
A recently published research brief explores the utilization of tele-behavioral health services during the pandemic
Efforts are underway to to ensure that those most in need of telehealth services are able to access the technology.
Lawmakers are calling for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to ensure that coverage for vital telehealth services remains in place until the public health emergency has passed.
(10/16/20) Social Work and Tele-behavioral Health During COVID-19
The Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center at the University of Michigan has released a research brief covering the use of tele-behavioral health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings of the research include significant increases in use of tele-behavioral health and organizational telehealth capabilities.
(10/16/20) How Virtual Care Can Be Refined to Reach Those Who Need It Most
In this article, multiple experts are interviewed for their perspective on how to improve access to health care utilizing telehealth services and technology. Although virtual care offers some benefits to address issues with physical access to care, there are still issues with ensuring the technology is distributed and accessible equitably.
(10/14/20) As Telehealth Surges, Dermatology Brings Experience With Access and Sustainability
Utilization of telehealth technology has expanded rapidly with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with apparent long-term staying power. This blog post from Health Affairs covers some of the opportunities and challenges for telehealth continuing forward based on the use thus-far in the pandemic.
(10/12/20) Telemedicine for Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research Roundup and 5 Reporting Tips
This research roundup provides some information on utilization of telehealth services for drug addiction treatment. While the COVID-19 pandemic has captured the most attention this year, the United States is still dealing with a major crisis in drug and alcohol abuse.
(10/13/20) Top 3 Concerns with the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rule
This article discusses some of the changes proposed for the 2021 Medicare Fee Schedule, which has some provider groups worried. These proposed changes include cuts to some specialty payments, changes to telehealth services eligible for reimbursement, and new quality reporting requirements.
(10/13/20) CMS Faces Another Call to Expand Telehealth Coverage for Specialists
An article covering calls from members of Congress to the the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to expand coverage for telehealth-based audiology and speech-language pathology services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The long-term care industry continues to face significant challenges maintaining its workforce, with low wages, inadequate training, and lack of paid leave contributing to poor recruitment and retention of workers.
(10/16/20) Most US Home Health Aides ‘Can’t Afford Not to Work’ – Even Without PPE
A joint report from The Guardian and Kaiser Health News has found that while home health workers are a key component of the response and treatment of COVID-19, they receive low wages and lack of hazard pay, sick leave, and insurance. This leaves the workers vulnerable to infection and unable to afford time off.
(10/14/20) Poor Job Quality, COVID-19 Pandemic Hurt Direct Care Workforce: PHI Report
A new report from PHI identifies critical issues with the direct care workforce, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Low pay, insufficient training, and lack of paid sick and family leave are all listed as significant issues for the industry as a whole.
(10/12/20) Marketing, Workforce Management Among Top COVID-19 Challenges for Independent Home Care Agencies
This article describes how the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have forced previous rivals and competitors in the long-term care industry to work together and build coalitions to advocate for federal assistance and access to personal protective equipment.
In order to address the pandemic-related stress of front-line health care workers, the University Hospitals system in Cleveland, Ohio, has developed sleep pods that workers can use for up to 4-hour time intervals.
Health Workforce Safety
(10/07/20) How Maryland’s Total Cost of Care Model Has Helped Hospitals Manage the COVID-19 Stress Test
This blog post from Health Affairs covers how Maryland’s unique Total Cost of Care alternative payment method has handled stress from the COVID-19 pandemic. This unique system and partnership with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is in part credited for Maryland’s success in avoiding reaching maximum intensive care unit capacity and major financial pressure from the pandemic.
(10/07/20) Due to Increased Hospitalizations in the Fox Valley, Gov. Evers Announces Wisconsin State Fair Park Alternate Care Facility to Accept COVID-19 Patients October 14
A press release outlining plans from the Governor of Wisconsin, Tony Evers, to open a field hospital following statewide hospitalizations tripling over the course of the month. The field hospital is meant to treat those who are seeking treatment for COVID-19 but not seriously ill patients, who may need an intensive care unit.