Week 48 Newsletter

03/02-03/08 Updates

Vaccine Information

Black health care workers are working to better inform Black communities about COVID-19 vaccines and decrease vaccine hesitancy.

A review of websites established by state-level health departments to address COVID-19 vaccination highlights issues and offers suggestions for improvement.

An expert of medical ethics discusses vaccine hesitancy among health care workers, including practical strategies to improve vaccination rates.

Vaccine Information

(03/04/21) The Conversation: Between Us, About Us, a New Campaign By Black Health Care Workers for Black People about the COVID-19 Vaccines
Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and Black Coalition Against Covid have launched a new campaign to better inform Black communities about COVID-19 vaccines. They are creating an ongoing visual library archive as new information and resources become available.

(03/04/21) A Review of State Health Department COVID-19 Websites: Concerns and Recommendations
This blog post from Health Affairs offers a review of websites set up by state-level health departments across the United States to address COVID-19 vaccination, highlighting issues and offering suggestions for improvement. Many health care providers are expressing difficulty finding information on becoming vaccine providers, with inconsistency in terminology and lack of clear pathways to information.

(03/04/21) Dealing With COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Among Health Care Workers
The head of the medical ethics division at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, Arthur Caplan, discusses vaccine hesitancy among health care workers. He highlights some of the major causes of vaccine hesitancy among this group and proposes practical strategies to improve vaccination rates for health care workers.

Surge Capacity Issues

As workforce shortages continue to be seen throughout the US, foreign-born health care workers may be a solution.

A new tool from the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity at George Washington University highlights hospital workforce strain at the county level throughout the US.

As the pandemic winds down, experts are asking if there are enough behavioral health care workers to deal with a predicted mental health crisis to come.

Surge Capacity Issues

(03/08/21) Keep Rural Pennsylvania Healthy by Ensuring Hospitals Have Needed Nurses
Pennsylvania is suffering from a severe health workforce shortage as cases surge in rural areas. Rural hospitals and health clinics are facing several challenges that disproportionately affect access to quality health care for rural patients. The proposed solution to expanding the workforce, particularly for nurses, is to expand access to education and to strengthen recruitment and retention strategies.

(03/07/21) Amid COVID Health Worker Shortage, Foreign-Trained Professionals Sit on Sidelines
Licensing and credentialing barriers in several states are preventing foreign-trained health care providers to contribute to workforce surge capacity during the pandemic. The Migration Policy Institute think tank in Washington, D.C. reported that approximately 165,000 foreign-trained immigrants in the U.S. hold degrees in health-related fields but are unemployed or underemployed.

(03/05/21) ICU Physician Shortage Will Push Hundreds of US Counties into Crisis, Analysts Predict
This article from Becker’s Hospital Review highlights findings from a new COVID-19 Workforce Estimator analysis. The analysis was conducted by The Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in collaboration with Premier, and the National Association of County and City Health Officials. The analysis finds that hundreds of U.S. counties will experience ICU shortages of critical care physician specialists.

(03/04/21) COVID-19 County Workforce Deficit Estimator
A new tool from the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity at the George Washington University and partners seeks to highlight hospital workforce strain at the county level throughout the United States.

(03/01/21) The Long Tail of COVID-19: Is US Health Care Ready for the Mental Health Crisis That Will Follow?
This article from Worth features perspectives of more than a dozen leaders in various parts of the health care sector on their thoughts about the preparedness of the United States health care system for the COVID-19 pandemic’s lingering mental health issues. The expected surge will likely be seen by the communities hit hardest by COVID-19, who may also lack access to innovative tools to help treat the long-term effects.


A new program from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services provides updated benchmarks to address the widespread adoption of telehealth in the pandemic.

Multiple states are considering legislation to increase access and make permanent pandemic-related changes to telehealth services.


(03/08/21) National Quality Forum Looks to Update Telehealth Quality Benchmarks
This article highlights a recent Health Care Strategies podcast held by Xtelligent Healthcare Media. During this interview, the senior vice president of Quality measurement for the National Quality Forum, Sheri Winsper, announces a new project with the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services. Sheri Winsper outlines plans to develop a framework that would measure telehealth outcomes in rural areas.

(03/04/21) The “State” of Telehealth: Oregon
Oregon Senator Lee Bayer and State Representative Rachel Prusak introduced a bill in efforts to permanently expand parity for telehealth services and in-clinic services. Service and payment parity for telehealth would increase access to health care services and allow providers to receive reimbursement at the same rates of in-clinic services.

(03/04/21) Maryland Lawmakers Debate Bill to Expand School-based Telehealth
An emergency bill currently being debated by the Maryland legislature seeks to make it easier for school-based health centers to offer telehealth services to their students. Currently, only 18 of 86 school based health centers in the state offer this technology.

(03/01/21) Telehealth Has Been Good in the Pandemic. It Could Be Great Long Term.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the delivery of health care services. As cases surged, many providers adapted telehealth as a way to safely provide access to care and contain the spread of the virus. Telehealth has played a critical role during the pandemic and there are several advantages of permanently expanding telehealth services.

Long-term Care

Ethical and legal concerns guide debate over mandating COVID-19 vaccination for staff in long-term care facilities.

Lobbying may have left nursing homes chronically understaffed and vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Long-term Care

(03/08/21) Long-term Care Providers, Experts Debate Legality of Vaccine Mandates
Ethical and legal concerns are at the forefront of a debate to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for employees of long-term care facilities. Some experts believe that a federal mandate is necessary for the protection of facility residents. Atria Senior Living Facility and Juniper Communities have already taken the initiative to mandate vaccinations for their staff. Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of the American Health Care Association, hopes that increased vaccination rates among long-term care staff will eradicate the need to mandate COVID-19 vaccination.

(03/07/21) Industry Lobbying Left Nursing Homes Vulnerable in Pandemic
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, several nursing homes and long-term care facilities faced critical workforce shortages that affected the quality of care for its residents. The COVID-19 pandemic has elucidated both new and existing workforce concerns for the long-term care industry. As congress pushes for legislation that enforces staffing level mandates, lobbyists believe that staffing mandates may make matters worse.

Health Workforce Safety

Following the first few months of vaccinations, new infection rates of COVID-19 among health care workers in Los Angeles have plummeted. 

Health Workforce Safety

(03/03/21) Los Angeles County Finds Fewer Cases Among Health Care Workers As More Get Vaccinated
Just months from the first vaccinations, new infections of COVID-19 among health care workers have fallen dramatically in Los Angeles county. Long-term care facilities previously made up a quarter of all cases and have dropped substantially, a trend noticed nationwide among health care workers.

Regulatory Flexibility

Dentists in North Carolina are now approved to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

Regulatory Flexibility

(03/08/21) Now Approved to Administer COVID-19 Vaccine, NC Dentists Eager to Help Fight Pandemic
The North Carolina Dentist Board has approved dentists to administer COVID-19 vaccines in state. Dentists can now be more central to the fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.