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Practice Transformation

The AMA has developed a list of practical strategies for health system leadership to consider as they try to support their care teams during COVID-19. The areas range from child and pet care to food delivery. Several relate to workforce distribution leveraging the skills of the entire team. For example: “Allow medical assistants and nurses to make contributions according to their ability, with physician or APP oversight and discretion.” (AMA)
Pharmacists are raising concerns that the shortage of protective face masks could lead to increased medication errors and make it difficult to ensure drugs remain sterile. Pharmacists are required to wear surgical masks for medications that require sterile preparation, including those needed for COVID-19 patients on a mechanical ventilator. Pharmacists also wear N95 masks to protect themselves when they counsel patients in hospitals. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists surveyed about 400 hospital pharmacists about mask shortages and found that over half said their hospital has already implemented a conservation plan, raising concerns that they’re in danger of running out. (NPR)

Evidence & Innovation

Alliance for Health Policy has produced a series of COVID-19 webinars to provide cohesive insight the status of the response to the pandemic, including identifying gaps that must be addressed to limit its severity. Its webinar miniseries page includes links to each webinar and to a list of resources from across the health care spectrum. (Alliance for Health Policy)

Policy Solutions

Signed last week, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocates more than $130 billion in relief to the medical and hospital industries, including for medical supplies and drug and device shortages. It also expands telehealth services in Medicare, including services unrelated to COVID-19 treatments. According to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the American Hospital Association, it begins to address shortages of drugs and medical devices. However, according to both organizations, there’s more work to be done. (Pharmacy TimesWall Street Journal)
The administration may delay implementation of the recently finalized interoperability and patient access rules. Among the concerns: Implementation on the current timeline could pull people away from more pressing COVID-19-related work. Meanwhile, if you are still trying to understand the rules, the eHealth Initiative has prepared an executive summary. It also produced a webinar discussing the rules and providing additional resources. (EHR IntelligenceeHI summary)

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