Week 63 Newsletter

06/23-06/28 Updates

Vaccine Information

Discussions regarding mandates for the COVID-19 vaccine continue for organizations and providers alike.

Vaccine Information

(06/18/21) The Struggle to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines for Health Care Workers
While healthcare facilities have urged every employee to get vaccinated against COVID-19, vaccine hesitancy pervades among healthcare workers. Healthcare workers have led the vaccination uptake, however, hesitancy has recently increased among front-line workers, including “home health care aides, EMTs and nursing assistants.

(06/16/21) How Do CMS’s New COVID-19 Vaccine Reporting and Education Rules Apply to Different Long-term Care Settings?
In an effort to clarify the new rules on vaccine reporting from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Kaiser Family Foundation published this issue brief. There are different requirements for both education and reporting depending on the type of long-term facility.

(06/15/21) COVID-19 Vaccine Passports and Health Care Providers
Florida has passed the Senate Bill 2006 that prohibits businesses from mandating to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination to access services. The new Statute (§ 381.00316) sets “a fine of up to $5,000 per violation” and applies to all private and public organizations in Florida. The bill goes into effect July 1st, 2021.

(06/15/21) Should Hospitals Mandate COVID-19 Vaccination?
This article published by the Association of American Medical Colleges discusses the topic of vaccination mandates for health care workers and the potential consequences of mandates. As some large health systems announce mandates for their workers, others are waiting to see how if vaccination rates will improve over time.

(06/11/21) Health Systems Mandating Vaccinations for Healthcare Workers
Several hospitals and health systems across the nation are requiring their employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in efforts to increase vaccination rates among health workers and end the COVID-19 pandemic. Some organizations are pushing for deadlines as early as July 1, 2021, and as late as September 15, 2021. This article from Becker’s Hospital Review lists the organizations that have announced COVID-19 vaccination mandates for their employees as of June 11, 2021. 

Access to Care

A new report highlights the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the supply of the physician workforce.

Access to Care Issues

(06/17/21) We Already Needed More Doctors. Then COVID-19 Hit
This opinion article addresses the worsening doctor shortages in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent workforce report from the Association of American Medical Colleges estimated a shortage of 17,800 ~ 48,000 primary care physicians and 21,000 ~ 77,100 specialty physicians. The pandemic has also disproportionately imposed burdens on women physicians, physicians of color, and small, rural hospitals.

Changes to Organizational Policies and Guidelines

Hospitals in New York State will now be required to create clinical staffing committees to address pandemic-related issues including allocation of staff and resources.

New COVID-19-related emergency guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) impacts health care providers.

Changes to Organizational Policies and Guidelines

(06/22/21) New York Requires Hospitals to Create Clinical Staffing Committees
New legislation from New York State requires hospitals in the state to develop clinical staffing plans, under the control of clinical staffing committees. These committees will include registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, ancillary staff members, and hospital administrators, in an attempt to address difficulties with allocation of staff and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.

(06/21/21) OSHA ETS: What Health Care Providers Need to Know
This SmithAmundsen law update published by JD Supra focuses on the new guidance from the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for the health care industry. Health care providers working in settings involved in treating patients with COVID-19 will be impacted by these rules.

Health Workforce Safety

The long-term impacts of the pandemic on the physical and mental well-being of health care workers continues to be a concern.

The American Medical Association is calling for more inclusively designed personal protective equipment, as more than half of women reported improper fits.

Health Workforce Safety

(06/22/21) Silos Must Be Broken to Help Health Care Heroes Exhausted by Pandemic
The American Medical Association has joined the American Nurses Foundation, American Hospital Association, and Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare for the All In: Well-Being First for Healthcare campaign. More than 200 organizations and individuals have joined the effort to address the mental health crisis among health care workers that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

(06/21/21) Around 10% of Health Care Workers Who Had COVID-19 Experienced Long-term Symptoms: Study
The National Institute for Health has decided to invest more than $1 billion into research for long-term COVID-19 symptoms. This news has been announced after a study found that approximately 10% of health care workers experienced long-term COVID-19 symptoms that lasted at least 8 months after exposure. Some of the reported symptoms that disrupted their work, social, or home lives include loss of taste and/or smell, fatigue, and breathing problems.

(06/18/21) Despite Improving Conditions, COVID Will ‘Scar’ a Generation of Health Care Workers
Judy Woodruff and William Brangham from PBS News discuss the impact of the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out on New York State as well as the lasting impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on health care workers. They also interview Dr. Craig Spencer, the director of global health in emergency medicine at Columbia University to gauge his perspective on the matter.

(06/15/21) Make Sure PPE Is Designed to Fit Everyone
A presentation held at the June 2021 American Medical Association (AMA) Special Meeting highlighted the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) to be designed in an inclusive manner which fits all body types. This resolution comes as research cited in the presentation found that approximately 57% of women reported that improperly fitted PPE sometimes or significantly hampered work. AMA Board Member, Willie Underwood III, MD, MSc, MPH, also cited studies that reported health care workers developing ulcers or contracting COVID-19 due to improperly fitted masks.

Long-term Care

The COVID-19 pandemic may bring positive change and improvement to long-term care.

New requirements for vaccine reporting and/or for workforce education vary across different long-term care settings.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has issued guidance on new reporting requirements for home health care workers who received CARES Act funds during the pandemic.

Long-term Care

(06/21/21) Will COVID-19 Improve Long Term Care?
In this opinion piece published in Forbes, a former professor from the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School discusses ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic may improve or change long-term care going forward. Politicians are also bringing increased attention to long-term care through funding proposals and speeches on the matter.

(06/20/21) Nursing Facilities Look at Pandemic-wrought Change
The COVID-19 pandemic brought new and exacerbated existing challenges to the long-term care industry, including issues with cost of care, turnover and labor shortages, and working with the state to better optimize staff and patient placement.

(06/16/21) How Do CMS’s New COVID-19 Vaccine Reporting and Education Rules Apply to Different Long-term Care Settings?
In an effort to clarify the new rules on vaccine reporting from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Kaiser Family Foundation published this issue brief. There are different requirements for both education and reporting depending on the type of long-term facility.

(06/11/21) HHS Issues New Reporting Requirements, Deadlines for Provider Relief Fund Recipients
Financial assistance provided for home health providers from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund will now require new reporting requirements. The US DHHS has included some clarifications and explanations on what is required for this reporting response from providers.

Maintaining the Educational Pipeline

The American Medical Association has announced new policies for physicians and medical students including reduced costs for trainees, employment perks, and protective measures for residents and fellows.

Maintaining the Educational Pipeline

(06/17/21) AMA Announced Policies Adopted on Medical Trainees, Residents, Fellows
The American Medical Association (AMA) has recently announced newly adopted policies by physician and medical student leaders across the nation during the AMA House of Delegates meeting. Some of the policies adopted by the House of Delegates include reduced costs for medical trainees, the addition of employee benefits, and strengthened measures to safeguard residents and fellows as they complete their medical training.


Without action, hundreds of mental health providers in New York State will no longer be able to provide telehealth services after the end of the COVID-19 state of emergency.

Expanding access to a more diverse patient population and providing effective care are popular discussion points for telehealth.


(06/17/21) Audit Finds Telehealth Services for Mental Health May Be at Risk
New York State’s COVID-19 state of emergency has enabled rapid expansion and adoption of telehealth services, however, without action from the state, hundreds of mental health providers will no longer be able to provide services via telehealth once the state of emergency ends.

(06/16/21) #ATA2021: Telehealth Is Key to Equity and Access for Every Patient Population
This podcast clip introduces a recent case study that explains how telehealth can help address healthcare disparities by improving access to care for vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. Telehealth can be combined with higher privacy protection and translation technologies that can expand the primary care services to the homeless and people with limited English proficiency. Additionally, the study also highlights that the use of telehealth helped providers reduce costs and seniors be familiar with digital devices.

(06/15/21) AMA Adopts Policies to Advance Telehealth, Close Digital Divide and Tackle Prior Authorization Burdens
The American Medical Association has approved new policies to help advance telehealth, rural health, and COVID-19-related difficulties experienced throughout the pandemic. Some of these changes include new methods for reimbursing for health care delivery both in-person and digitally and advising the federal government on equitable distribution of resources, such as personal protective equipment.

(06/13/21) Patient Characteristics Associated With the Successful Transition to Virtual Care: Lessons Learned From the First Million Patients
This journal article from the Sage Journal’s Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare analyzes the impact of the increased use of telehealth to maintain ambulatory care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study assessed patient characteristics that were associated with the successful transition from in-person to virtual care as well as the differences in video and audio-only participation.