Week 33 Newsletter
Surge Capacity Strategies
The US supply of ventilators is now sufficient, but there is a shortage of intensivists to operate them.
Patient health is declining due to COVID-19-related primary health provider closures and patients delaying seeking care.
Hospitals are reporting wide-scale staffing shortages, putting patients and providers in a more vulnerable position.
Surge Capacity Strategies
(11/22/20) Now the US Has Lots of Ventilators, but Too Few Specialists to Operate Them
This article covers how production of ventilators has increased substantially since April, although there may not be enough specialists trained on their use to effectively utilize the life-saving devices. The shortage of intensivists in the United States may lead to otherwise preventable deaths.
(11/19/20) ‘People Are Going to Die’: Hospitals in Half the States Are Facing a Massive Staffing Shortage
An article from STAT covering the current issues experienced in hospitals in at least 25 states reporting shortages in staff to treat patients with COVID-19. The issues meeting staffing challenges are requiring some patients to be transferred hundreds of miles, sometimes across state lines.
(11/19/20) Patient Health Declining, New Primary Care Survey Shows
New survey data from the Larry A Green Center and the Primary Care Collaborative shows that clinicians are reporting health declines related to closed primary care settings and patients delaying seeking care. Primary care practices also reported inability to fill open staff positions, difficulties with COVID-19 testing, and lack of personal protective equipment as significant issues.
(11/17/20) Hospitals Can’t Go On Like This
This article highlights troubling reports that as hospitals fill up across the United States, nearly one in 4 reports inability to meet staffing requirements to treat COVID-19-positive patients. Data from the Department of Health and Human Services is being used to identify which hospitals are reporting staffing issues, as staff who need to quarantine or too many patients for staffing levels compound issues.
The COVID-19 pandemic provides opportunities for organizations to implement models of integrated care.
Policies and Guidelines
(11/17/20) How Practices Can Advance the Implementation of Integrated Care in the COVID-19 Era
This issue brief from The Commonwealth Fund details how organizations can utilize integrated care to improve patient outcomes in the era of COVID-19. Although the data for the study was collected prior to the pandemic, the findings may be especially relevant to improve outcomes in the pandemic.
Issues with pay, turnover, and working conditions in long-term care facilities continue to plague the industry.
(11/17/20) COVID-19’s Deadly Lesson: Time to Revamp Long-term Care
A blog post featured on Health Affairs covers many of the issues in long-term care laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic. Understaffing and infection control issues have remained long-standing issues in the long-term care industry, with a need to revamp understanding of the role of long-term care and increase regulation to improve the situation.
(11/16/20) Nursing Home and Assisted Living Workers Face COVID-19 Surge—As They Cope With Grief
This article covers the impact of COVID-19 on many in the long-term care workforce, where workers have been stretched thin treating one of the most vulnerable populations to COVID-19. Trouble sleeping and difficulties processing grief from outbreaks, deaths, and fear are all reported problems experienced by these workers.
Health care workers feel unheard as they risk death and illness to treat their communities.
Health Workforce Safety
(11/20/20) These Front-line Workers Could Have Retired. They Risked Their Lives Instead.
Part of the series Lost on the Frontline from Kaiser Health News and The Guardian, this article focuses on the lives of some of the health care workers who chose to continue treating patients in spite of nearing retirement, ultimately dying from COVID-19.
(11/18/20) A Nurse’s Plea: ‘I Wish That I Could Get People To See COVID Through My Eyes’
This story from NPR features some perspective from nurses treating patients with COVID-19 who feel there is a significant disconnect between the risk of infection and the behaviors of those in their communities. As hospitals fill to maximum capacity, challenges include meeting the needs of their patients while avoiding infection themselves.
(11/13/20) ‘No One Is Listening to Us’
An article covering the impact of treating patients on health care workers across the United States. While hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics throughout the country continue to struggle to meet staffing needs and maintain personal protective equipment, health care workers feel their suffering is not being met with precautions by the general populace.
(11/11/20) COVID-19 Risks and Impacts Among Health Care Workers by Race/Ethnicity
This issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation analyzes the risks and impacts of COVID-19 on health care workers based on their race/ethnicity. Forty percent of health care workers are non-white in the United States, and people of color make up the majority of deaths among health care workers.
A new ruling allows some health care providers employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide care across state lines, regardless of requirements in the individual states in which they are practicing.
(11/16/20) VA Clinicians Can Practice Across State Lines, Interim Rule Affirms
A new ruling from the Department of Veterans Affairs has announced VA clinicians are allowed to practice across state lines, even if their practice conflicts with requirements of the individual states in which they are practicing. This ruling is expected to better prepare the VA health care system for effectively managing surges in COVID-19 cases.
A new brief outlines state plans for the distribution of vaccines, including priority populations and which providers will be responsible for administering vaccines.
State Workforce Strategies
(11/18/20) States Are Getting Ready to Distribute COVID-19 Vaccines. What Do Their Plans Tell Us So Far?
This issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation investigates how prepared states are for distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine. The brief looks at the the priorities for distribution of a vaccine as well as which providers will administer the vaccine and how the data on vaccine use will be collected and reported.