PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE: Guarded Optimism as Cases Decline, but Workforce Shortages Remain a Concern

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | October 6th, 2021

With COVID-19 cases now trending in the right direction, it’s certainly welcome news and should help ease the strain that your health care workers have been facing since the start of the pandemic. This is due in large part to the vaccine, which has kept the virus at bay and patients out of the hospital.

While we know that the vaccines are effective, and clearly the path out of this pandemic, we also know that because of the mandate that took effect last week, some of your hospitals may be struggling with workforce shortages. This may be on top of the shortages you were already experiencing due to retirements, staff burnout, and other issues.

California’s Health and Human Services Agency is reminding hospitals that if a facility is experiencing significant workforce issues because of the vaccine mandate, they should reach out to the local California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Licensing and Certification district office and the CDPH duty officer (dutyofficer@cdph.ca.gov).

CHA has also created FAQs for hospitals facing critical staffing shortages, including nurses. The document answers questions for hospitals that cannot meet the state’s nurse-to-patient staffing ratio requirements.

As this continues to be a pandemic of the unvaccinated, we must keep working to educate those who are vaccine hesitant, but it’s clear that misconceptions and misinformation remain obstacles to the vaccination efforts. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors took the first step recently when it declared medical misinformation a public health crisis.

Investing in training for health professionals and in educational programs to help people distinguish between medical research and personal opinion and enlisting “trusted messengers” to engage people on public health matters such as COVID-19 vaccination, will be a critical tool in the toolbox to help educate and inform those who are skeptical.