IHA Daily Briefing: Oct. 4

Monday, October 4, 2021 
Illinois Facing Major HCW Shortages 
FDA Opioid Public Workshop Oct. 13-14 
State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates 
Briefly Noted

Illinois Facing Major HCW Shortages
Illinois is facing major shortages of healthcare workers in the coming years, according to a new report by Mercer. Illinois is in the bottom five states in the country with the largest projected gaps by 2026 for lower-wage healthcare workers (-169,080), registered nurses (-8,654) and mental health workers (-8,353).

The report’s main findings include:

  • There will be a shortage of labor at the low end of the wage spectrum, limiting access to home care. 
    • About 9.7 million individuals currently work in lower-wage healthcare positions with the need in the next five years rising to 10.7 million.   
    • Trends project 6.5 million employees will permanently leave their positions by 2026 with 1.9 million people replacing them.
  • Primary care will increasingly be provided by non-physicians.    
    • 21% of family medicine, pediatric, OB/GYN and other primary care physicians are expected to retire.   
    • Demand for primary care physicians is projected to grow by 4% during the same time period, causing a shift toward other clinicians providing the care.
  • There will be shortages of nurses in the majority of the states, but surplus in some areas of the South and Southwest. 
    • Demand for nurses is set to grow 5% in the next five years.   
    • More than 900,000 nurses will leave, causing employers to need to hire 1.1 million more by 2026.   
    • The report projects 29 states will be unable to fill demands.
  • There will be a six-figure hiring rush for mental health professionals by 2026. 
    • A 10% increase in demand for mental health workers by 2026 is projected.
    • The report projects 27 states will be unable to fill hiring demands.

To address the shortages, Mercer has several recommendations for healthcare organizations:

  • Get smarter about how you recruit and retain your workforce.
  • Digitalize and automate recruitment and onboarding.
  • Modernize your employee value proposition.
  • Upend traditional workplace environments to make them more appealing and sustainable.
  • Don’t hesitate on care model transformation.   
  • Reorganize around key services.

FDA Opioid Public Workshop Oct. 13-14
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Duke-Margolis Center on for Health Policy will hold a two-day virtual public workshop on Oct. 13-14 that will convene regulators, clinical researchers, providers, patient advocates, and other stakeholders to exchange information and obtain input by discussing prescriber education’s potential role in alleviating the evolving opioid and substance abuse crisis. Participants will discuss the current landscape of the crisis, the state of opioid prescriber education, recent trends in opioid prescribing and pain management, the current state of opioid prescriber education requirements and opportunities to improve them, the potential role of prescriber education in alleviating the crisis, considerations for the future role of mandatory prescriber education through a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS), and next steps for opioid prescriber education.

As the opioid and substance abuse crisis continues to evolve, FDA is reconsidering whether to require prescribers to complete education as part of the Opioid Analgesic (OA) REMS and seeks input about the aspects of the opioid crisis that mandatory prescriber training through such a REMS could potentially mitigate. In light of the many available education programs and the lack of a nationwide standard, FDA is exploring the value of using the OA REMS to provide education on the appropriate use of opioids, on the risks of opioid abuse and misuse, and on the treatment of opioid use disorder.

To register for the event, click here. Email Thomas Roades or Brian Canter with any questions.

Black individuals in four states (New York, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Ohio) experienced a 38% increase in the rate of opioid overdose deaths from 2018 to 2019, while the rates for other race and ethnicity groups held steady or decreased, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health published last month in the American Journal of Public Health. The data are in line with other research documenting a widening of disparities in overdose deaths in Black communities in recent years, largely driven by heroin and illicit fentanyl.


State, National, Global COVID-19 Updates
The Illinois Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) today reported 1,822 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, including 12 additional deaths. On Saturday, 3,266 new cases and 33 additional deaths were reported; on Sunday, 2,051 new cases and 14 additional deaths were reported.

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 1,638,003 cases, including 25,076 deaths. In the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 93,966 specimens for a total of 32,397,149. As of last night, 1,687 individuals in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 412 patients were in the ICU and 234 patients were on ventilators.

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests is 2.2%. The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity is 2.7%. The latest daily case positivity rate is 1.94%.

The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily in Illinois is 30,136 doses, with 117,847 doses administered since Friday. IDPH reports 64.2% of adult Illinoisans (18 years and older) have been fully vaccinated, while 81.6% have received at least one vaccination dose. For the Illinois population 12 years and older, 62.6% have been fully vaccinated, while 80% have received at least one vaccination dose.

Sunday’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures showed more than 43.5 million confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. (a daily increase of more than 118,000 cases; seven-day moving average of more than 103,000 cases), with 698,672 deaths (a daily increase of 2,027).

Today’s WHO Coronavirus Disease Dashboard showed more than 234.6 million COVID-19 cases globally (a daily increase of more than 75,000 cases), with more than 4.79 million deaths. The Region of the Americas (includes the U.S.) continues to lead the world with more than 90.3 million cases and more than 2.22 million deaths.


Briefly Noted
Project Firstline will host a live virtual discussion and Q&A for healthcare workers on Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 2:15 p.m. CDT. Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will discuss what the Delta variant means for infection control and answer questions about CDC’s infection prevention and control guidance for healthcare settings. Register to join via Zoom by clicking here.