In the News
Vermont rolls out plan to address strain on hospitals

As the delta surge drags on in Vermont, the state is opening more beds to alleviate pressure on hospitals that are running out of room.

COVID case counts at the UVM Medical Center have been growing over the past several weeks, but UVM and other hospitals say it’s not just delta that has them looking to move patients elsewhere.

Vermont’s coronavirus picture looks a lot different now than at this point last year. “There have been points where we thought we were rounding the corner or we thought we were in not such a tense situation and I think we’ve hit another false summit,” said Jeff Tieman with the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems.

Vermont hospital capacity strained

Rutland Herald

Vermont hospitals are being stressed with patients, some filling the intensive care units, but the patients in those spaces are not necessarily suffering from COVID-19.

For instance, Mike Smith, commissioner of the Vermont Agency of Human Services, said North County Hospital in Newport had no COVID patients listed as ICU patients on Tuesday.

Wendy Franklin, director of communications for North Country, said there were no ICU patients on Tuesday afternoon. She said the staff at the hospital call the spots for patients needing a higher level of care “progressive beds.”

A patient who needs intensive care in a progressive bed is considered in the ICU, but there is no separate area at the hospital that is designated an ICU.
Health care leaders support state workforce initiatives to address staffing crisis
Vermont Business Magazine

 A coalition of Vermont associations representing home health and hospice, physicians and other clinicians, dentists, mental health providers, long term care facilities, adult day centers, and hospitals expressed support for the Scott Administration’s proposals to strengthen Vermont’s vital health care workforce and help address our state’s workforce shortage.

The Agency of Human Services presented its Health Care Workforce Development Strategic Plan to the Green Mountain Care Board on Wednesday recommending new investments and increased supports that are critical to the state’s health care system.

“On behalf of our organizations, we want to thank the Administration and lawmakers for their work to address this crisis,” said Jill Mazza Olson from the VNAs of Vermont. “We need immediate and comprehensive action to ensure that enough providers are available to give Vermonters the right care in the right place at the right time. We must attract new health care workers and retain the workers we have. This is incredibly hard work, made even more difficult during the pandemic.”
A particularly nasty dip' - Hospitals struggle to recruit, retain nurses
Bennington Banner

It’s being called “the great resignation.”
Millions of Americans are quitting their jobs, more than 7 million in July and August alone.

People are walking away from work in restaurants, stores, warehouses, education, health care and social assistance.

And while it may seem particular to the past 20 months, a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s actually just an example of employment cycles affected by boom and bust, said Dr. Patricia Pittman, the director of the Health Workforce Research Center at George Washington University.

For example, she said, during past recessions, such as in 2008 and in the late 1990s, health care professionals, such as nurses, remained in place because of job stability. But in boom years, nurses fled to other jobs with better pay and less stress.
F.D.A. Panel Recommends J.&J. Boosters at Least Two Months After First Shot
New York Times

A key federal advisory committee voted unanimously Friday to recommend Johnson & Johnson booster shots, most likely clearing the way for all 15 million people who got the company’s one-dose coronavirus vaccine to receive a second shot.

If the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accept the recommendation, as expected, boosters could be offered by late next week. But many committee members made clear that they believed Johnson & Johnson recipients might benefit from the option of a booster of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, something a top F.D.A. official said the agency was considering.
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