Hospitals struggle with effects of pandemic, shifts in healthcare industry

Several hospitals have voiced their concerns and obstacles throughout the pandemic, mainly with funding, proper staffing and how to be better prepared for another pandemic, Bloomberg Law reported July 11. 

"Emergency preparedness experts say many of the more than one million US deaths could have been avoided if hospitals had better planned how to communicate with one another and share resources like ventilators, beds, and staff," according to Bloomberg Law.

However, legislative efforts to create a dedicated pandemic office that would coordinate information and supplies in the event of another pandemic have been stalling in Congress. 

With few to no plans for the future, healthcare workers are further distressed because of a decline in staffing with many retiring early, contracting COVID-19 or simply leaving the post for their own sake. 

Cost is yet another big obstacle facing hospitals. Though most have received federal funding, hospitals have had to increase wages to retain staff as well as account for the cost of personal protective equipment and other COVID-19 necessities. 

Holding noncompliant hospitals accountable has also been a large issue. 

"There's nobody regularly checking that hospitals are doing what they're required to do," Eric Toner, MD, senior scholar for the Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Health Security, told Bloomberg Law

CMS has stated that it reviews hospitals' disaster-related plans every three years, but no hospital has lost Medicare funding even if found noncompliant, according to Bloomberg Law.


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