Healthcare News & Insights

Coronavirus update: Help is on the way for hospitals weathering the crisis

As mounting cases continue to put unprecedented demand on hospitals across the nation, treating and coping with the coronavirus remains top-of-mind. 

In a new healthcare finance report, consulting firm Kaufman Hall said the COVID-19 pandemic “will dramatically change the picture across all metrics in the coming months.”

At some facilities, resources for treating patients are in short supply, and the American Hospital Association has launched an initiative to facilitate public-private partnerships to produce personal protective equipment and get it out to hospitals.

A $2 trillion stimulus package that’s been signed into law includes $100 billion for hospitals to help cover expenses related to treating COVID-19 patients during the crisis and for recouping lost revenue – including the impact from patients canceling elective procedures due to concerns about the spread of the virus.

Noteworthy parts of the stimulus include:

  • $16 billion for the strategic national stockpile of medical supplies
  • $11 billion for the development of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and other medical needs
  • at least $250 million to boost the capacities of healthcare facilities
  • $200 million for the Federal Communications Commission to help providers offer telehealth, and
  • $275 million to expand services and capacity for rural hospitals, telehealth, poison control centers and the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.

Also, the Defense Production Act has been revived to prioritize production of ventilators.

Caring for fatigued staff

Your doctors and nurses on the front lines of a still-evolving pandemic could probably use some care themselves. To reduce stress and burnout among your clinicians, digital behavioral health provider Talkspace is donating free online therapy to medical workers responding to the COVID-19 emergency.

Healthcare workers can access a free month of therapy by text or video and audio messaging with a licensed therapist via Talkspace’s Unlimited Messaging Plus plan. Registration can be done via the Talkspace app or website. For verification, they’ll need to provide a National Provider Identifier (NPI) number and state of residence.

So take heart: Help is on the way, and in the meantime, there’s someone for providers to talk to until it does.

What to tell patients

PhysiciansPractice.com recommends addressing patient concerns about the coronavirus by asking open-ended questions, sharing sources of accurate info, and providing coronavirus testing info on your pre-recorded phone greeting, website and social media accounts.

While you want to reassure anxious patients, from a liability standpoint, it’s also important to be factual and clinical, and avoid making any promises or predictions.  

What about a vaccine?

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Phase 1 clinical trial is set to begin no later than fall, with the goal of making a COVID-19 vaccine available for emergency use in the United States early next year.

In a recent press briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said that to accelerate development of a COVID-19 vaccine, production will go into effect during clinical trials even while researchers are studying its effectiveness.

Because the coronavirus situation is known to rapidly change, and the country’s policies on handling the illness are in flux, guidelines for hospitals and healthcare facilities are changing every day. We’ll keep you posted.

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