March 11, 2021

States responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with a variety of approaches to ensure adequate health workforce capacity as well as strategies to expand access to care for needed services. In order to better understand pandemic issues and challenges faced by states as well as strategies they used to address them, the Health Workforce Technical Assistance Center (HWTAC) conducted 32 key informant interviews with stakeholders in 23 states. In addition, the Health Workforce Policy Research Center at George Washington University conducted a policy analysis of regulatory actions taken by states.

This research brief summarizes findings on how states prepared for and responded to the pandemic. Themes include regulatory flexibility, surge capacity for acute care services, and impacts on both ambulatory care services and the health professions educational pipeline.