Health Care Work Has Historically Been Protected By Economic Downturns. But That’s Not The Case For This One.
Even as health-worker shortages undermine efforts to battle the pandemic, providers who aren't dealing directly with the pandemic are getting swept up into the economic downturn in a way that's rarely been seen before. Meanwhile, medical staffing companies cut pay for ER workers at the same time as they spent millions in political ads. And media outlets offer glimpses from the front lines as workers tell their stories.
Health Care Workforce Is Recession Proof. Is It 'Pandemic Proof?'
Health care workers are facing threats to their jobs — pay cuts, furloughs and even layoffs — amid the worst disease outbreak in a century that has already infected more than 770,000 people in the U.S. Hospitals are focused on combating the coronavirus, but that’s not where the money is. Medical practices and patients themselves are postponing elective procedures and delaying routine visits that usually drive profits. Plummeting revenue, compounded by higher costs for supplies like personal protective equipment, has led health care executives to take drastic steps like cutting payroll to try to keep their lights on as they fight the pandemic. (Cassella and Roubein, 4/20)
Medical Staffing Companies Cut Doctors’ Pay While Spending Millions on Political Ads
Private equity-backed medical staffing companies that have cut doctors’ pay are continuing to spend millions on political ads, according to Federal Communications Commission disclosures. The ads amount to $2.2 million since Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency on Jan. 31. About $1.2 million has been spent since President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration on March 13, the disclosures show. (Arnsdorf, 4/20)
The New York Times:
Two E.R. Workers Worry: If They Died, Who’d Take Care Of Their Son?
A few nights ago, after their 18-month-old son, Nolan, went to sleep, Dr. Adam Hill and Neena Budhraja sat down on the living room couch in their apartment in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Pen and paper in hand, they turned their attention to a pressing need: figuring out who would be Nolan’s legal guardian if the coronavirus swept them away. They aren’t just anxious parents. Adam, 37, is an emergency room doctor at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens. Neena, 39, is a physician assistant in the emergency room at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center in Brooklyn. (Drucker, 4/20)
The Associated Press:
South Texas ER Doctor Self-Isolates In His Kids' Treehouse
A South Texas emergency room physician has chosen a novel place to self-isolate as he’s treating patients with the novel coronavirus. Dr. Jason Barnes made a temporary home of his children’s treehouse in the backyard of the family’s Corpus Christi home. He is among many health care workers who are leaving their homes or or taking other precautions to protect their families after being exposed to the virus. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (4/21)
The Washington Post:
EMTs On The Front Lines Of The Coronavirus Pandemic Cope With Loss, Including Of Their Own Co-Workers
The caller was 18 years old. He was from Peru and lived with his father, just the two of them, everyone else back at home. The father, 56, had tested positive for covid-19 and now the son was unable to wake him from his bed. When Dave Prina and the other EMTs arrived, there was nothing to do but express condolences and ask for the father’s identification for the paperwork. What’s the boy going to do? he wondered. How will he live? How will he pay next month’s rent? (Cha, 4/20)
Los Angeles Times:
Coronavirus: Healthcare Workers Confront Their Own Mortality
As the coronavirus tore through California in March, Dr. Amit Gohil bought his family a new board game: Pandemic. A pulmonary critical care doctor at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Gohil has asthma and diabetes, risk factors for COVID-19, and has been treating infected patients for weeks. At age 43, he is acutely aware his life could be cut short. He hoped the game, with its heroes of scientists and researchers, could be a way to help his children feel a sense of control over the virus, a story they all know could end badly. (Feldman, Chabria and Karlamangla, 4/20)
Detroit Free Press:
Dealership Offers Coronavirus-Killing Chemical Spray To Medical Workers
Sellers Auto Group in metro Detroit is offering an in-car spray to protect medical workers from coronavirus starting Monday. The dealership group has partnered with Legacy Service Solutions of Waterford to provide health care workers and first responders with an antimicrobial solution in their cars. (LaReau, 4/20)
Hospitals Redeploy Thousands Of Health Care Workers To Respond To COVID-19 Crisis
On a normal day, Dr. Mitchel Harris, chief of orthopedic surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, would meet with patients in his clinic or see them in the operating room, where he’d fix their broken bones and torn tendons. Yet recently he worked a very different job: as a scribe hunched over a laptop, diligently taking notes, in a makeshift clinic for patients with COVID-19 symptoms. (McCluskey, 4/20)
5-Year-Old Daughter Of Detroit First Responders Dies After Being Diagnosed With Coronavirus
The 5-year-old daughter of two Detroit first responders has died of complications from coronavirus. Skylar Herbert died Sunday at Beaumont Royal Oak Hospital after being on a ventilator for two weeks, CNN affiliate WXYZ reported. She tested positive for coronavirus last month and developed a rare form of meningitis and swelling on the brain, according to WXYZ. (Silverman, 4/21)
Detroit Free Press:
State Coronavirus Task Force On Race Dedicates Work To Detroit Girl, 5, Who Died
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday an executive order outlining who will serve on the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities and its priorities in addressing the way COVID-19 has disproportionately sickened and killed African Americans in the state. Citing statistics that show 40% of deaths from COVID-19 in Michigan have been among African Americans though they represent 13.6% of Michigan’s population, Whitmer said during a news conference Monday: "The deep inequities people in communities of color face, like basic lack of access to health care or transportation or protections in the workplace have made them more susceptible to COVID-19. (Shamus, 4/20)