Hospital leaders meet at White House to talk 'twindemic' strategies

Federal health officials held a meeting with leaders from 10 health systems and groups on Sept. 29 to discuss mitigation strategies ahead of a likely COVID-19 surge and severe flu season this fall. 

The meeting was led by Ashish Jha, MD, White House COVID-19 response coordinator; Rochelle Walensky, MD, CDC director; Xavier Becerra, HHS secretary; and Vivek Murthy, MD, U.S. surgeon general. Leaders at some of the nation's largest health systems — including Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, St. Louis-based Ascension and Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare — participated on the call. Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, and Bruce Siegel, MD, president and CEO of America's Essential Hospitals, also participated. 

The meeting came amid growing warnings from experts that the nation will see a more severe flu season this year, coinciding with a potential COVID-19 surge — what experts have dubbed a "twindemic." COVID-19 forecasts from Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic suggest daily average cases in the U.S. will jump 10.5 percent by Oct. 12.

Meeting discussions centered on steps hospitals and health systems can take to reduce burden on the healthcare system and ensure patients and healthcare workers stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations. 

"Administration officials emphasized that there have been major surges in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths the last two winters, which strained the healthcare workforce and hospitals, but that it does not have to be this way this year if everyone does their part," the White House said in a Sept. 30 statement. 

 Click here to view the full list of meeting participants. 


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