IHA Daily Briefing: July 19

Daily Briefing, Monday, July 19, 2021
Recording of IHA Webinar on OSHA COVID ETS
$398M for Small Rural Hospitals for COVID Testing, Mitigation
Funding to Reduce HCW Burnout, Promote Mental Health
Building Vaccine Confidence in Your Community
State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates
Briefly Noted

Recording of IHA Webinar on OSHA COVID ETS
The recording of “OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard: Legal Update,” a July 8 IHA webinar, is now available here. The webinar was designed to provide hospitals clarity on the new COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA). It was hosted by Illinois Risk Management Services (IRMS) and Illinois Compensation Trust (ICT). During the webinar, experts outlined the standard’s key requirements and compliance strategies.

The next IRMS/ICT webinar will be held Oct. 7 and focus on OSHA safety and compliance. See more information on upcoming webinars.

$398M for Small/Rural Hospitals for COVID Testing, Mitigation
Last week, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced $398 million in funding – under the American Rescue Plan through the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) – for 1,540 small rural hospitals for COVID-19 testing and mitigation. That includes $15.7 million to 61 small rural hospitals in Illinois.

“The Biden Administration recognizes the important role that small rural hospitals have in closing the equity gap and ensuring that rural Americans can protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “[This] funding will help small rural hospitals continue to serve their communities in this critical role by expanding their COVID-19 testing capacity and mitigation efforts.”

State Offices of Rural Health, which work with small rural hospitals to implement quality and operational improvement efforts, will receive the funding to distribute to eligible small rural hospitals in their state. Small rural hospitals—those with fewer than 50 beds and Critical Access Hospitals—will use the funds to maintain or increase COVID-19 testing, expand access to testing for rural residents, and tailor mitigation efforts to reflect the needs of local communities.

Funding to Reduce HCW Burnout, Promote Mental Health
On Friday, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced the availability of an estimated $103 million in American Rescue Plan funding over a three-year period to reduce burnout and promote mental health among the health workforce. HHS says three funded programs, which take into particular consideration the needs of rural and medically underserved communities, will help healthcare organizations establish a culture of wellness among the health and public safety workforce and support training efforts that build resiliency for those at the beginning of their health careers.

Healthcare providers face many challenges and stresses due to high patient volumes, long work hours and workplace demands. These challenges were amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, and have had a disproportionate impact on communities of color and in rural communities. The programs announced by HHS will support the implementation of evidence-informed strategies to help organizations and providers respond to stressful situations, endure hardships, avoid burnout and foster healthy workplace environments that promote mental health and resiliency.

There are three funding opportunities that are now accepting applications:

  • Promoting Resilience and Mental Health Among Health Professional Workforce: Approximately 10 awards will be made totaling about $29 million over three years to healthcare organizations to support members of their workforce. This includes establishing, enhancing, or expanding evidence-informed programs or protocols to adopt, promote and implement an organizational culture of wellness that includes resilience and mental health among their employees.
  • Health and Public Safety Workforce Resiliency Training Program: Approximately 30 awards will be made totaling about $68 million over three years for educational institutions and other appropriate state, local, Tribal, public or private nonprofit entities training those early in their health careers. This includes providing evidence-informed planning, development and training in health profession activities in order to reduce burnout, suicide and promote resiliency among the workforce.
  • Health and Public Safety Workforce Resiliency Technical Assistance Center: One award will be made for approximately $6 million over three years to provide tailored training and technical assistance to HRSA's workforce resiliency programs.

To apply for the Provider Resiliency Workforce Training Notice of Funding Opportunities, visit Grants.gov. Applications are due Aug. 30, 2021. Learn more about HRSA’s funding opportunities.

Building Vaccine Confidence in Your Community
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is hosting a series of webinars with discussion periods on “Building Vaccine Confidence in Your Community.”

The authorized COVID-19 vaccines given Emergency Use Authorization are safe, effective and widely available. Hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 are down substantially from where they were just a few months ago. However, there are still communities where large numbers of people are not vaccinated. It is in many of these communities where COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising.

CMS says this webinar will help community partners learn how to build trust in vaccines with the people in their community who have so far resisted vaccination, help find tools to communicate with them, and include a discussion period for participants to ask questions and discuss their experiences reaching the unvaccinated.

The webinar will be held via Zoom on three different dates:

  • Tuesday, July 20 at 10 a.m. CDT;
  • Thursday, July 22 at 2 p.m. CDT; and
  • Thursday, July 29 at 10 a.m. CDT.

Click here to register for one of the sessions. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) posted data today that there were 670 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases and four deaths. The total number of cases in the state is 1,402,763 with a total of 23,377 deaths. IDPH says that in the past 24 hours, 21,596 test specimens have been processed, with a positivity rate of 3.1%. The preliminary 7-day statewide positivity rate for cases as a percent of total tests is 2.4%, and the 7-day test positivity rate is 2.8%.

Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations increased from 476 patients to 537 patients since last Friday’s data update. Of that figure, 107 patients were in the ICU, with 38 patients on ventilators.

A total of 12,969,499 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of last midnight. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 20,628 doses. Since last Friday, 52,137 doses were reported administered in Illinois. Among Illinois adults 18 and older, 57.9% have been fully vaccinated, and 73.3% had received at least one dose.

Today’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures showed more than 33.8 million confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. (a daily increase of more than 7,000 cases), with 606,618 deaths (a daily increase of 27).

Today’s WHO Coronavirus Disease Dashboard showed more than 190.5 million COVID-19 cases globally (a daily increase of more than 427,000 cases), with more than 4.09 million deaths. The Region of the Americas (includes the U.S.) continues to lead the world with more than 74.8 million cases and more than 1.96 million deaths.

Briefly Noted
The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) today released higher education guidance in line with recently released guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We are strongly encouraging universities to require vaccination to protect their campus and local communities as they bring students back for a full campus experience,” said Ginger Ostro, Executive Director, IBHE.