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Becker’s Hospital Review featured findings from Cohen et al, published in the British Medical Journal, almost a third of older adults develop new medical conditions after COVID-19. (February 11, 2022)

Judith Graham dives into the ongoing shortage of home health workers leaving patients without needed care for Kaiser Health News, while families struggle to access care for their loved one. (February 3, 2022)

Weber and colleagues report on the current pressures experienced by hospitals and staff due to the ongoing pandemic for KHN. Discussed issues include staff shortages and challenges discharging patients home or nursing homes. (January 13, 2022)

Rachel Feintzeig discusses the continued burnout and staffing shortages in the nursing profession due to the COVID-19 pandemic in WSJ. (January 10, 2022)

Wager and colleagues comment on the impact of the pandemic on health care employment here. This study found that nursing homes and community care facilities continue to have lower employment rates than before the pandemic. Mitch Smith for the NYT comments on the continued toll on healthcare providers here. (December 17, 2021)

Lo and colleagues discuss COVID-19 breakthrough hospitalizations among fully-vaccinated individuals here. This study found age or presence of a comorbidity to be highly correlated with breakthrough infection. (December 15, 2021)

Kristina Fiore summarizes two new reports from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation on long COVID management. Information can be found here. (December 14, 2021)

Shannon Firth for MedPage Today discusses strategies for nurse retention during the COVID pandemic here. Firth comments on the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s estimation that nearly half a million people have left the healthcare workforce since February 2020. (December 9, 2021)

MaryBeth Musumeci for KFF discusses new COVID-19 vaccine requirements for health care providers here. New regulations from this month require providers that participate in Medicare or Medicaid programs to fully vaccinate staff, including contractors and volunteers. (November 17, 2021)

Cox and colleagues at KFF report on the proposed provisions of the Build Back Better Act here. This article outlines the components of the plan and reports on estimated budget impact. (November 16, 2021)

Amy Walker and Josh Holder discuss waning vaccine effectiveness in their NYT article. This article supports recent movements promoting booster vaccinations among vulnerable populations. (November 11, 2021)

Lindsay Fisher comments on end-of-life sedation preferences among patients here. In this study by Hui and colleagues published in Cancer, caregivers preferred lighter sedation options when compared to nurses. (November 8, 2021)

Building on last week’s discussion on nursing staffing shortages, Anna-Maria Barry-Jester for KHN reports on the staffing challenges in the public health field here. (November 2, 2021)

The Commonwealth Fund examines community-based long-term services and supports for older adults and their caregivers here. Fabius and colleagues found that roughly 40% of community-living older adults had experienced adverse consequences due to unmet care needs in this sample. (October 27, 2021)

Robyn Begley in MedPage Today comments on the ongoing nursing staffing crisis here. 37% of survey respondents reported that staffing shortages were the most significant new challenges facing healthcare. Complaints of low morale and burnout also increased from previous surveys. (October 21, 2021)

Molly Walker comments on new research on COVID-19 symptom severity from Cheng and colleagues that found obesity led to more respiratory symptoms experienced by patients, despite having similar viral loads. (MedPage Today, October 20, 2021)

Hostetter and Klein report on racism in health care and share strategies for combatting racism in healthcare, including auditing medical school curricula and creating real-time reporting initiatives for tracking discriminatory behaviors. (The Commonwealth Fund, October 18, 2021)

Kirzinger et al. discuss the results of latest Health Tracking Poll on seniors’ health care needs relating to home and community-based service in the U.S. One in five adults report receiving ongoing support for activities of daily living. A similar number report they are providing this care for a family member or close friend. Cost remains largest barrier to receiving support. (KFF, October 15, 2021).

Musumeci, Ammula and Rudowitz comment on the results of recent focus groups of unpaid caregivers and direct care workers involved in home and community-based services. (KFF, October 8, 2021)

Shannon Firth reports on medical professionals and industry leader’s telehealth policy recommendations following the COVID-19 pandemic changes that include expansions in broadband coverage and telehealth funding. (MedPage Today, October 7, 2021)

Ransay and Williams II discuss high drug prices among Medicare patients, especially those with complex health needs, compared to other counties. (The Commonwealth Fund, September 30, 2021).

Reed Abelson comments on delayed care for patients due to the pandemic. (NYT, September 22, 2021)

Ndugga, Hill & Artiga provide an update on COVID-19 vaccination rates by race and ethnicity. Due to the rising impact of the Delta variant, vaccination rates have increased overall, with 77% of the adult population vaccinated with at least one shot. (KFF, September 22, 2021)

Mafi et al report on ambulatory care patterns during the pandemic from 2019-2021 in JAMA. This study found that while ambulatory care use has increased since the 2019 decline, this increase is significantly less for socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals. (January 18, 2022)

Beauchamp et al. in JAMA Network Open discuss functional mobility in adults 50 or older following COVID-19 diagnosis. This study found that COVID-19 diagnosis was associated with decreased mobility and functioning outcomes even in cases without hospitalization. (January 12, 2022)

Buerhaus and colleagues report on nurse employment during the first 15 months of the pandemic. While all sectors reported highly irregular employment patterns initially, the nursing home sector has continued to report low rates of employment. (Health Affairs, January 4, 2022)

Coe and Werner discuss the support of informal caregivers in residential care and nursing home settings. In this study, the authors found that hours of care provided by informal caregivers were substantial, across the different care settings. Of those needing and receiving informal care, caregivers provided an average of 37.4 hours of care a month for individuals living in nursing homes, and 130.7 hours for those living in the community. (Health Affairs, January 4, 2022)

Park and Stimpson comment on foregone medical care among Medicare beneficiaries in JAMA Health Forum. This study reported that medical care was forgone during the pandemic, but access has improved with time. (December 30, 2021)

Hartman et al. report on national health care spending trends in 2020 in a Health Affairs pre-print. The authors describe a 9.7% increase in US healthcare spending, driven in part by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. (December 15, 2021)

McGarry et al. comment on the association between nursing home vaccination rates and COVID-19 outcomes in the NEJM. Nursing homes with low vaccination rates reported increased cases and deaths compared to those with high vaccination rates. (December 8, 2021)

Friedman et al. in Health Affairs discuss trends in home care vs nursing home care workforce sizes in this month’s edition of Health Affairs. This study found that from 2009 to 2020, most states’ nursing home workforces have decreased, while their home care workforces have increased. (December 6, 2021)

Katz et al. in JAMA Oncology report on telemedicine use among patients recently diagnosed with cancer by socioeconomic status (SES). This study found that patients in the highest SES quartile experienced higher risk of telemedicine use compared with those in the lowest quartile. Raises concerns that telemedicine may exacerbate existing disparities in cancer care. (November 18, 20221)

Salerno et al. in JAMA Network Open discuss COVID-19 risk factors and mortality outcomes among patients receiving long-term dialysis. In this study, black race, male sex, nursing home status, and multimorbidity were associated with increased risk of poor COVID-19 outcomes. (November 17, 2021)

Bressman, Russo and Werner build on current research in JAMA Network Open, describing the increase in telemedicine visits following the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this sample, outpatient visits have overall remained constant over time, while telemedicine visits have significantly increased. These trends suggest important implications for care access moving forward. (November 12, 2021)

Magesh et al. in JAMA Network Open report the findings of a systematic review and meta-analysis on disparities in COVID-19 outcomes by race, ethnicity, and SES. This review of 4.3 million patients found that SES and patient care quality were associated with mortality and incidence in racial and ethnic minority groups. (November 11, 2021)

Hsueh et al. in JAMA Network Open comment on the disparities in telemedicine among individuals with limited English proficiency during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, individuals with limited English proficiency were less likely to use video telemedicine initially than their English-speaking counterparts. However, after experience with video telemedicine encounters, no difference in utilization rates between groups was found. The authors suggest once initial barriers to telemedicine are overcome in this population, telehealth use will increase. (November 4, 2021)

Jasuja et al. in JAMA Network Open report on US veterans’ attitudes and intentions regarding COVID-19 vaccination. In this survey, 71% of veterans reported being vaccinated. Of those not vaccinated, 30% said that news from television, radio, or online was their primary source of information. (November 3, 2021)

Zachrison et al. in JAMA Network Open examine changes in virtual and in-person utilization patterns from October 2019 to April 2021. In this sample, the authors found that virtual visit rates increased, especially for behavioral health visits, while there was no significant change in overall ambulatory visit volume. (October 27, 2021)

Becker et al. in JAMA Network Open comment on cognitive function in patients following COVID-19 infection. In this study, the authors found that hospitalized patients were more likely to have cognitive dysfunction than those treated outpatient. (October 22, 2021)

Chua et al. report on out-of-pocket spending for COVID-19 hospitalizations. In this study, 71.2% of privately insured, hospitalized individuals experienced out-of-pocket expenses, primarily in services billed by clinicians and ancillary providers. (JAMA Netw Open, October 18, 2021)


Emerging Stronger After COVID-19

The NAM Perspectives, Patients, Families, and Communities COVID-19 Impact Assessment: Lessons Learned and Compelling Needs provides a systematic review of what patients, families, and communities experienced during COVID-19; opportunities for reinforcing and transforming health and health care delivery after the pandemic recedes; and making the case for centering patients, families, and communities in all aspects of health and health care delivery. The paper identifies long-standing structural challenges and identifies opportunities to close these gaps in the future. 

This initiative is made possible by the generous support of Arnold Ventures, the Missouri Foundation for Health, and the VA HSR&D. registration NCT04212962

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