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1,000 US hospitals are “critically” short of staff — and expect more to come soon

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More than 1,000 hospital staff are “extremely” short in the United States, according to figures released this week by the Department of Health and Human Services.

These hospitals, which span all 50 states in Washington DC and Puerto Rico, account for approximately 18% of all hospitals reporting staffing status to HHS. And that number is expected to increase. Twenty-one percent of all reporting hospitals predict a significant staff shortage next week.

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The most devastated state is North Dakota, where 51% of hospitals report a shortage. Seven states say that more than 30% of hospitals have problems.

This is the first time a federal agency has released this data, including a limited number of reports dating back to the summer. The federal government consistently began collecting this data in July. After a steady increase for several months, the number of hospitals reporting shortages exceeded 1,000 this month and has been above that since.

However, the data is still incomplete. Not all hospitals reporting daily status COVID-19 updates to HHS report staff status, so it is not possible to know for sure how much these numbers have increased. ..

The data is a welcome addition to the accumulation of information that public health authorities have to fight COVID-19, but it highlights what the drawbacks are. The federal government is open to the public. Government provides accurate daily figures for hospitalization with COVID-19 Thousands of hospitals in the country share only a small portion of this information with people outside the government.

Piner Karakamandick, Professor at the University of Minnesota, COVID-19 Project to collect hospital dataCalls the new information release “very positive data development and effort.”

“It offers the possibility to plan ahead, especially for expected staff shortages,” she says. She says there is still a lot of hospitalization data not published by the federal government, which may provide more information to researchers and the general public, such as the age and race of inpatients.

For next week, additional hospitals report expected staff shortages in 40 states, not just Puerto Rico. Nebraska, Virginia, and Missouri are at the top of the list where they are expected to have the largest uptrend.

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The shortages created by the resurrection of the COVID-19 pandemic have already forced hospitals to take extraordinary steps to continue treatment of their patients. In North Dakota, nurses were told that even if they were infected with the virus, they could continue to work as long as they had no symptoms.

Side effects public media Reported this week The Kansas City hospital system in Kansas was calling from remote hospitals, such as Arkansas and Iowa, Colorado, to transfer incompetent and highly ill patients.

“From a staffing perspective, I think the biggest challenge facing hospitals today is probably capacity,” said Nathia Safdar, medical director of infection control at the University of Wisconsin hospitals and clinics. Told PBS Wisconsin..

“Employees are also infected because of rising infection rates in the community,” she said. “It’s relatively easy to build a new bed from somewhere, but without a lot of challenges, you can’t bring in a well-trained healthcare professional.”

In Missouri, Dave Dillon, A spokesperson for the State Hospital Association said that if the surge continues, the hospital will Crisis standard treatment, Guidelines for prioritizing care in the event of resource shortage.

“If this was a regional or regional crisis as we saw early in New York, nurses would volunteer to rush to an emergency,” he says. “It’s everywhere, so it’s no longer available.”

Two state hospital associations in Missouri and Texas have told NPR that they are unaware of federal support for hospitals to help with staff shortages. “If that’s happening, it hasn’t crossed our desk yet,” says Carrie Kroll of the Texas Hospital Association.

A HHS spokeswoman said in a statement to the NPR that authorities would investigate all cases of staff shortages and contact state or hospital staff to coordinate assistance.

Staffing data is collected daily from the hospital. Asked for an answer “Yes” or “No” to these questions[Do] There is a serious shortage of staff today. “[Do] A serious staff shortage is expected within a week. It seems that it is up to the hospital to decide what is considered a serious staff shortage. The government collects information about the types of personnel that are in short supply, such as ICU nurses and pharmacy staff. However, that information is not open to the public.

Data is most often collected directly from hospitals to the new federal platform.This platform was relatively released by the Department of Health and Human Services in July. An unknown contractor called Teletracking.. This move deprives the CDC of responsibility for collecting and analyzing this data. Prompted a big protest.. A new system called HHS Protect Hurt by inaccuracies Limited transparency.

Detailed hospitalization data can make a big difference to health leaders who are planning ahead and preparing for a surge in hospitalization. Researcher told NPR..

An HHS spokesperson said government agencies continue to add information. healthdata.gov And “I have a responsibility to seriously disclose the data to the American people.”

Copyright 2020 NPR. For more information, please visit https://www.npr.org.

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