HHS Announces Millions of $ to Fight Burnout in Health Care Workforce

On Friday, July 16, the U.S. Department 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. These investments, which take into particular consideration the needs of rural and medically underserved communities, will help health care organizations establish a culture of wellness  among the health and public safety workforce and will support training efforts that build resiliency for those at the beginning of their health careers.

“It is essential that we provide behavioral health resources for our health care providers – from paraprofessionals to public safety officers – so that they can continue to deliver quality care to our most vulnerable communities,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, who stressed the administration’s committment to ensuring frontline health care workers have access to the services they need to prevent burnout, fatigue, and stress during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Health care 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 today 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.

“This funding will help advance HRSA’s mission of developing a health care workforce capable of meeting the critical needs of underserved populations,” said Acting HRSA Administrator Diana Espinosa. “These programs will help to combat occupational stress and depression among our health care workers as they continue their heroic work to defeat the pandemic.”

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 approximately $29 million over three years to health care 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.

U.S. Renews Public Health Emergency

On July 19, Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra renewed the Public Health Emergency (PHE) that has been in effect since January 27, 2020 due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

As a result of the continued consequences of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, on this date and after consultation with public health officials as necessary, I, Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, pursuant to the authority vested in me under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, do hereby renew, effective July 20, 2021, the January 31, 2020, determination by former Secretary Alex M. Azar II, that he previously renewed on April 21, 2020, July 23, 2020, October 2, 2020, and January 7, 2021, and that I renewed on April 15, 2021, that a public health emergency exists and has existed since January 27, 2020, nationwide.

This latest renewal of the PHE will last for 90 days, at which point it will lapse or be renewed again.

This news is not a surprise, as the Biden administration had hinted for some time that a renewal was coming.

A declaration of a PHE permits, among other things, emergency use authorization of vaccines, the access to funding to address the emergency, and deployment of military trauma care providers.

The COVID-19 outbreak is not the only PHE that currently exists in the United States. On July 7, Secretary Becerra renewed a PHE for the opioid crisis that has been in effect for years.

U.S. Renews Public Health Emergency

On July 19, Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra renewed the Public Health Emergency (PHE) that has been in effect since January 27, 2020 due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. As a result of the continued consequences of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, on this date and after…

CDC vaccine advisory panel to weigh boosters’ necessity, J&J side effects

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will convene July 22 to discuss a pair of recent issues related to COVID-19 vaccines. The agenda released ahead of the meeting includes discussion of the reported risk of Guillain-Barré Syndrome from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which recently prompted the Food and…

OSHA Issues Directives for COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards Inspections

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued new Directives that establishes inspection procedures and enforcement policies for the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS),

In response to the Presidential Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety, OSHA determined additional measures could be taken to prevent occupational exposures to SARSCoV-2 and COVID-19, and issued an ETS to protect health care workers from occupational exposure. (The ETS was published in the Federal Register on June 21, 2021.)

Related: You Can Still Watch the NAHC Webinar on OSHA’s Emergency Standards

During the period of the ETS, covered health care employers must develop and implement a COVID-19 plan to identify and control COVID-19 hazards in the workplace. As part of their COVID-19 plan, these employers must address and implement various requirements to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in their workplaces, including patient and non-employee screening and management requirements, standard and transmission-based precautions, controls for aerosol-generating procedures, physical distancing, physical barriers, personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning and disinfection, ventilation, employee health screening and medical management, vaccination, training, anti-retaliation, recordkeeping, and reporting.

This new Directive is designed to ensure uniformity in enforcing the ETS when addressing workplace exposures to SARS-CoV-2.

OSHA Issues Directives for COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards Inspections

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued new Directives that establishes inspection procedures and enforcement policies for the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), In response to the Presidential Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety, OSHA determined additional measures could be taken to prevent occupational exposures to SARSCoV-2 and COVID-19, and issued…

OSHA Extends Comment Period for COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard

As reported here on June 15, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect healthcare and healthcare support service workers from occupational exposure to COVID-19 in settings where people with COVID-19 are reasonably expected to be present. During the period of the emergency standard, covered healthcare…

OSHA Extends Comment Period for COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard

As reported in NAHC Report on June 15, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect healthcare and healthcare support service workers from occupational exposure to COVID-19 in settings where people with COVID-19 are reasonably expected to be present. During the period of the emergency standard, covered healthcare employers must develop and implement a COVID-19 plan to identify and control COVID-19 hazards in the workplace.

On Thursday, July 8, OSHA announced it will publish a notice in the Federal Register to extend the comment period for the COVID-19 healthcare emergency temporary standard (ETS) to August 20, 2021.

OSHA is extending the comment period by 30 days to allow stakeholders additional time to review the ETS and collect information and data necessary for comment.

Comments can be submitted electronically for Docket No. OSHA-2020-0004 via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for making electronic submissions.

More information about the ETS is available at:  https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/ets.

Provider Relief Fund Reporting Portal is Now Open

1st reporting period began yesterday HRSA will hold a technical assistance webinar on July 8, 2021 at 3:00pm ET. The Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Reporting Portal is now open for providers who need to report on the use of funds in Reporting Period 1. All recipients of PRF payments must comply with the reporting requirements described…

You Can Still Watch the NAHC Webinar on OSHA’s Emergency Standards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published an emergency temporary standard (ETS) in the Federal Register on June 21, 2021 to protect healthcare and healthcare support service workers from occupational exposure to COVID-19 in settings where people with COVID-19 are reasonably expected to be present. (See NAHC Report for additional information.)

The ETS applies to all health care settings and outlines requirements for employers to ensure employees have a safe working environment. Covered entities must comply with the standards within 14 days (30 days for some) of the publication in the Federal Register.

This presentation reviewed all the standards and their application to the home care setting.

Faculty: Mary Carr, Vice President for Regulatory Affairs, NAHC

Price for NAHC members: Free (Register here)