Week 62 Newsletter
Health care providers continue to correct patients on misinformation relating to COVID-19 vaccines.
As the US moves to create restrictions for health care workers, some companies are enforcing strict policies regarding vaccination mandates and worker protections on their own; others worry about unintended consequences.
(06/15/21) ‘It’s a Fight You Don’t Want’: Will the Texas Court Ruling Requiring Employees to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine Unleash More Cases?
A Texas judge ruled that employees are required to get the COVID-19 vaccine at a Houston Hospital. This ruling might result in more health care providers requiring their employers to get the COVID-19 vaccination. There are other similar lawsuits pending but this is the first ruling of its kind.
(06/14/21) Court Upholds Houston Hospital’s Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine Policy: ‘Every Employment Includes Limits on the Worker’s Behavior’
A mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy at a Houston Hospital was upheld by the court last week. The judge made his decision after 178 hospital employees from Houston Methodist Hospital had been suspended for refusing to get vaccinated.
(06/11/21) ‘It’s a Little Late’: US Orders Healthcare Worker Protections After Thousands Die
The US department last week announced an emergency standard to protect health workers in the workplace from the COVID-19 pandemic. The new order requires employers to not allow employees with COVID-19 to work, notify all employees of any exposures at work, and to better ensure that employers report worker deaths and hospitalizations to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
(06/10/21) US Labor Dept Issues Emergency COVID-19 Rule for Healthcare Workers
The US Labor Department issued an emergency rule to help better protect health care workers in the health care setting. The rule does not extend to other high risk industries. Hospitals, nursing homes and other health facilities will be required within 14 days to implement these rules that include limiting patient visits, new ventilation and screening procedures, and face mask requirements.
(06/09/21) Doctors Combat COVID-19 Vaccine Myths
This article reports that doctors have struggled fighting misinformation of the COVID-19 vaccine. There have been various myths of the vaccine that make people hesitate to vaccinate, including impact to fertility and ingredients that interact with DNA.
Innovative telehealth programs may offer a solution to many of the long-standing challenges within the long-term care industry exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
(06/09/21) Opportunities in a Time of Crisis: Launching Innovative Long-term Care Programs During COVID-19
In this commentary published by United Hospital Fund, the author advocates for using telehealth in innovative ways in long-term care settings. The long-term care industry has experienced high rates of turnover, shortages in workers, and other challenges since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and telehealth may offer solutions to improve outcomes for both patients and providers.
Health Workforce Safety
Mental health risks to health care providers continues to be a major issue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; New laws may be passed to help improve outcomes for providers who struggle with mental health issues.
New federal rules seek to address issues that remain in protecting health care workers in a transition from the COVID-19 pandemic to a post-pandemic workplace.
Health Workforce Safety
(06/14/21) Doctors Risked Suicide, Miscarriage on Duty, Then COVID Arrived
The risks for providers, especially women, in providing health care have been well-known since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, however this Bloomberg Law article highlights the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated risks to providers, as well as discussing the stigma around mental health issues in physicians and potential changes to law to address these issues.
(06/09/21) Biden Administration Will Limit Mandatory COVID Workplace Safety Rules to Health Care Settings
The United States Labor Department has recently made the decision to specifically limit mandatory emergency COVID-19 workplace safety rules to the health care sector. Both unions and businesses are concerned about this pivotal change as they have anticipated a ruling that would broadly apply to all workplaces.
(06/09/21) Listen: Healing the Healers: An Advocate and a Psychiatrist on Clinicians’ Mental Health and Burnout
This First Opinion Podcast from STAT News discusses the mental health challenges that health care workers face while practicing medicine. Corey Feist, a mental health advocate and Wendy Dean, a Psychiatrist, also uncover how the recent COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these mental health challenges among health care workers.
(06/07/21) Physician Wellness After COVID-19: Steps to Getting Back to Normalcy
This article reports the mental health problems among healthcare workers. As a survey on healthcare workers from Mental Health America shows, more than 75% of the respondents reported stress, anxiety, burnout, or felt overwhelmed. Such a rampant mental health problem among healthcare workers is associated with the challenges such as developing new lifestyles, having kids at home, fighting misinformation, as well as anxiety and excessive work burden that they have faced since the beginning of the pandemic.
While telehealth expansion has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, some are concerned with the lack of equity in service delivery, with racial, ethnic, language, internet, and device access as prominent barriers.
New research evaluates the move of academic mental health clinics in the US and Canada to telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Virtual visits remain stable at nearly 10 times the weekly rate prior to the pandemic. Some are advocating for maintaining telehealth while others are questioning the value.
(06/10/21) Telehealth Has Enabled Wider Access During COVID-19 – But Not for Everyone
The American Telemedicine Association held their annual conference recently, which brought light to the many changes the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated relating to telehealth service delivery, use, and acceptance. One major issue highlighted at the conference, however, is the inequities in access to telehealth services, which depend on internet access and english language proficiency, among other issues.
(06/08/21) The Transition of Academic Mental Health Clinics to Telehealth During the COVID-19 Pandemic
New research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, documented and evaluated the rapid transition to telehealth services at eight academic child and adolescent psychiatry programs in the US and Canada. The research found documenting the barriers and successes to telehealth services can help to promote better telehealth practice in the future.
(06/07/21) COVID Was a Tipping Point for Telehealth. If Some Have Their Way, Virtual Visits Are Here to Stay
This article jointly published by Kaiser Health News and USA Today highlights the changes to telehealth delivery in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, and efforts by some to ensure it becomes a permanent fixture in the health care system. Telehealth visits sured initially in the pandemic and have leveled off at more than 10% of all visits weekly, compared to approximately 1% prior to the pandemic.