Week 45 Newsletter
There has been an increased focus on expanding providers eligible to vaccinate as part of the effort to improve vaccination rates.
Nursing homes staff continue to exhibit higher levels of vaccine hesitancy compared to other health care workers.
(02/11/21) Primary Care Remains Untapped As US Struggles to Administer COVID-19 Vaccines
A recent survey conducted by the Primary Care Collaborative and the Larry A Green Center shows that the vast majority of clinicians believe primary care should support vaccine distribution despite the challenges that primary care practices are facing.
(02/10/21) Dentists Given Authority to Administer COVID-19 Vaccine, Per Gov. Cooper Executive Order
Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 193 on Feb. 9, which gives NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen discretion to expand the types of providers who may have the authority to administer FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines. Dentists licensed in North Carolina are now included in that provider group.
(02/09/21) White House to Ship COVID-19 Vaccines Directly to Community Health Centers
The White House has announced that a newly developed program will allow community health centers to receive COVID-19 vaccines directly from the federal government. The goal of the community health center program is to focus on equitable vaccine distribution, in order to reach traditionally underserved areas.
(02/09/21) Biden Wants to Partner With Health Centers to Promote More Equitable Access to COVID-19 Vaccines
The Biden administration plans to partner with community health centers to improve access to vaccines in the hardest-to-reach-populations. The administration’s strategy also proposes that health centers will have access to vaccine distribution plans and be able directly access the vaccine supply.
(02/09/21) About 60% of Nursing Home Staff Declined COVID Vaccines, Walgreens Exec Says
This news article discusses the challenges that Walgreens and CVS Health are facing due to vaccine hesitancy among staff members of long-term care facilities.
(02/09/21) Vaccine Hesitancy vs. Vaccine Refusal: Nursing Home Staffers Say There’s a Difference
This article from Kaiser Health News discusses vaccine hesitancy among health care workers in nursing homes.
(02/05/21) Some Health Workers Say They’re Not Refusing the Vaccine, They Just Need Some Time
This news article discusses the vaccine hesitancy among health care workers, particularly in nursing homes.
The supply of health care professionals continues to be an issue as the US approaches a year into the pandemic.
New federal data shows which parts of the country are currently experiencing the highest hospital occupancy.
Surge Capacity Issues
(02/12/21) COVID-19 Pandemic Highlights Critical Need for Medical Laboratory Professionals
This article discusses the critical need for medical laboratory professionals who develop, perform and interpret diagnostic tests, among other duties. Graduates of laboratory programs are in high demand due to shortages in the workforce both at national and statewide levels.
(02/12/21) Nurses Say Understaffing Endangers Lives. Would a State Mandate Help?
This news article discusses nurse staffing issues across a variety of health care settings.
(02/08/21) Federal Data Reveal Which Hospitals Are Dangerously Full This Week
National Public Radio has developed a tool which shows detailed hospital-level data. The tool shows the amount of inpatient and ICU beds that are in use on a weekly basis as well as the portion of beds that are occupied by COVID-19 patients.
State and federal efforts are being made to increase access and decrease regulatory barriers to providing telehealth.
(02/10/21) Report Shows ‘Vast Improvement’ in State Telehealth Reimbursement Policies
A new report found that the COVID-19 pandemic compelled state and federal policymakers to remove restrictions on and expand reimbursement for telehealth and virtual care. It has also been reported that forty three states and the District of Columbia implemented a version of a state telehealth commercial payer law.
(02/09/21) Massachusetts Enacts Legislation Promoting Access to Quality and Affordable Care, Telehealth
This news article discusses the key features of a Massachusetts health care law that was signed on January 1, 2021 by Governor Charlie Baker. The act addresses a wide variety of healthcare issues, such as billing, advanced practitioner scope of practice, telehealth, mental health parity and healthcare accessibility.
(02/08/21) Congress Gets Another Shot at Easing Telehealth Licensure Restrictions
This article discusses the key features of the Temporary Reciprocity to Ensure Access to Treatment (TREAT) Act which aims to allow providers to bypass state and federal licensing requirements during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Treat Act would improve access to care for consumers by allowing healthcare providers to use telehealth to treat anyone in any state throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
(02/05/21) Telehealth, Licensure Portability Featured in New Disaster Preparedness Plan
This article discusses a proposed national emergency preparedness plan that includes a strategy for licensure portability as well as a framework for expanding the access to and coverage of telehealth.
Public health could see a large investment after a recent House proposal to promote the public health workforce at the federal level.
Changes to Organizational Policies and Guidelines
(02/10/21) House Democrats Propose Multibillion-dollar COVID-19 Relief Package
House Democrats are proposing a multibillion-dollar COVID-19 relief package that includes a large investment in public health, which experts say has been underfunded for years. Included in the democrats proposal is 7. 5 billion dollars to the HHS for the public workforce and grants to state and local health departments to hire more staff, including community health workers, contact tracers, nurses and epidemiologists.
Health care facilities in New Jersey are now required to track the impact of the pandemic on health care professionals and report the number of health care workers who contract COVID-19.
Health Workforce Safety
(02/09/21) NJ to Track Impact of the Pandemic on Medical Community Under New Greenstein Law
This article discusses a new law written by Senator Linda Greenstein. This law now requires health care facilities to report the number of health professionals who test positive for COVID-19 in an effort to understand the impact of the pandemic on the medical community.