The US is still suffering from coronavirus. While the number of hospitalizations (Over 2 weeks) has increased 16% to 29,000 people hospitalized, the number of new cases and new deaths have been decreasing. There are just over 100,000 new cases over a two-week window, representing a 7% reduction from the previous two-week window. There were 267 deaths over the past 14 days from COVID, which is down 14% from the two weeks prior.
Two years into the covid-19 pandemic, one major hurdle remains: registered nurses' widened gender pay gap. New data from Nurse.com shows that the median salary for male RNs was $14,000 higher than the median for female RNs in 2021. This gap was just over $7,000 higher for males than females just a year prior. While males represent just 13% of RN jobs in 2021, the gap can be attributed to gender inequities in the industry and male RNs negotiating their salary more frequently than female RNs.
2. Staffing Shortages
Demand for primary care is increasing slightly at over 400 million visits in the US each year. The problem is that the primary care workforce is shrinking with staffing shortages around the country. With fewer medical graduates entering primary care as their specialty and the increasing incomes of specialty services, patients are being left to dry with fewer professionals in primary care. Not to mention the rising rates of nurses quitting their jobs to pursue other careers, actions need to be taken to expand this workforce. STAT News offers three potential solutions to focus on- 1) create broader training opportunities, 2) close the income gap between primary care and other specialties, and 3) incentivize careers in primary care through grants, financial assistance, and loan forgiveness.
3. IT Updates
Electronic health and medical records (EMRs) have been a game-changing tool for tracking patient outcomes and health statuses. In a report from MedCityNews, Katie Adams suggests that improving the EMR system response time and reliability would help reduce the healthcare workforce shortage.
4. Policy Updates
The AMA has recommended that doctors receive advanced training for treating patients suffering from opioid addictions. The catch is that the group has opposed a bipartisan bill that mandates doctors receive this training. The AMA is not opposed to the movement. They want doctors to receive consistent training, while the bill only requires one-time training. The AMA believes that this will not be substantial enough training to reduce opioid overdose from addicts significantly.