Week 60 Newsletter
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to exacerbate stressors on the health workforce, with many considering leaving the profession altogether.
Outside-of-the-box thinking throughout the pandemic has contributed to changes in how health care providers treat patients, addressing decades-long issues of overtreatment/unnecessary treatment.
Changes to Organizational Policies and Guidelines
(05/30/21) COVID Has Made It Harder to Be a Health-care Worker. Now, Many Are Thinking of Quitting
This article from CNBC analyzes the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has made health care professions more difficult, including recent surveys finding large percentages of health care workers have considered leaving their jobs during the pandemic. Many issues existed for health care workers prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the pandemic exacerbated many of these, such as workload and burnout.
(05/25/21) Pandemic Leads Doctors to Rethink Unnecessary Treatment
This article, jointly published by Kaiser Health News and The Washington Post, highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to overtreatment and unnecessary treatment of patients, a decades-long issue in medicine.
The pandemic has led to a reevaluation of the role telehealth can play in treating patients who are seriously ill or in need of emergency care.
Newly introduced bipartisan legislation seeks to make permanent coverage for audio-only telehealth services.
Telebehavioral health services during the COVID-19 pandemic have had an unintended positive consequence of reducing the number of patients who skip their appointments compared to prior to the pandemic.
(05/25/21) What Role Can Telehealth Play in Emergency Medicine?
This article from Managed Healthcare Executive discusses the potential for the COVID-19 pandemic to drive a shift to the use of telehealth in emergency medicine situations. Studies prior to the pandemic identified telescreening to be as efficient as in-person screening and can ensure patients are screened and treated as quickly as possible in emergency departments.
(05/25/21) House Reps Seek to Permanently Safeguard Audio-only Telehealth Coverage
A bipartisan bill introduced to the US House of Representatives seeks to add permanent coverage to audio-only telehealth services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services allowed audio-only telehealth delivery during the public health emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has primarily benefited patients who are rural, low-income, elderly, and those with physical limitations.
(05/24/21) No-cancel Culture: How Telehealth Is Making It Easier to Keep That Therapy Session
This article, jointly published by Kaiser Health News and NBC News, highlights ways in which the rapid transition to wide-scale telehealth use during the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have had the positive consequence of patients skipping fewer appointments.
(05/20/21) The Pandemic Proved Hospitals Can Deliver Care To Seriously Ill Patients at Home
Studies have suggested that newly introduced at-home models of care are cost effective and provide better health outcomes for seriously ill patients. This telehealth model of care was widely adopted last year when the Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services expanded its program. The program offered at-home acute hospital care for patients with COVID-19 and other acute illnesses in efforts to mitigate surge capacity issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. This extension provided more flexibility to health care systems and freed up hospital beds during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
New research shows that COVID-19 did not have a significant impact on staffing levels in long-term care facilities when compared to the same time period prior to the pandemic.
Advocacy groups in Massachusetts are calling for continued expansion of scope of practice for nurses in assisted living facilities following the COVID-19 pandemic.
(05/27/21) Nursing Home Staffing Levels Did Not Change Significantly During COVID-19
New research published in the journal Health Affairs has found nursing home staffing levels were not significantly different during the COVID-19 pandemic when compared to the same period prior to the pandemic. The study did find small increases in staff hours in counties with high COVID-19 prevalence.
(05/25/21) Broadened Scope of Practice in Assisted Living Should Continue After Pandemic, Association Argues
The Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, has lifted several COVID-19 restrictions and announced that the state of emergency would end on June 15, 2021. This announcement has caused much concern among assisted living facilities as the state of emergency permitted the state to waive regulations that deﬁne the scope of practice for several health professionals. Since this announcement, the Massachusetts Assisted Living Association has advocated for permanent expansion of the scope of practice for assisted living facility nurses.
Health Workforce Safety
An opinion piece advocates for passage of legislation to address burnout and suicide among physicians and other health care workers.
Health Workforce Safety
(05/25/21) Congress Needs to Pass the Dr. Lorna Breen Act to Support US Health Care Workers
This opinion piece from STAT highlights the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act which was introduced by a bipartisan group led by Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.). The purpose of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act is to prevent suicide and burnout among physicians as well as to improve the mental health of health care workers.
Maintaining the Educational Pipeline
A student from Harvard Medical School is tackling medical jargon through the COVID-19 Health Literacy Project, as an effort to provide patients medical guidance in an easily-understood format offered in multiple languages.
Maintaining the Educational Pipeline
(05/24/21) How Medical Jargon Can Make COVID Health Disparities Even Worse
This article from NPR discusses how a student from Harvard Medical School, Pooja Chandrashekar, recruited more than 175 multilingual health professionals to begin the COVID-19 Health Literacy Project. The COVID-19 Health Literacy Project works to ensure access and understanding of medical guidance is available in many different languages, in an easily-understood format.