Nearly two years into the pandemic, and on the heels of a fourth COVID-19 wave that rivaled the past three, it appears that there may be some good news on the horizon. COVID-19 positivity rates are dropping, and hospitalizations seem to have levelled off or are slightly decreasing, an early sign that perhaps the unprecedented surge brought on by the omicron variant is slowing.
After peaking early last month, hospitalizations in the Hospital Council regions have noticeably declined. And the decline is equally as noticeable when Hospital Council region hospitalizations are compared with Southern California hospitalizations:
As the numbers begin to fall — not just in Hospital Council territory but throughout the state — our hope is that will help take some of the pressure off the front lines as well. Ambulance patient offload times (APOT) remain a top concern as emergency departments continue to deal with an extremely high volume of patients, and your Hospital Council and CHA teams are working at both the local and state levels to alleviate the situation.
At the same time, CHA continues to advocate for state and federal support to help offset $16 billion in losses because of COVID-19. Late last month, CHA issued an alert and sent a letter to the California congressional delegation that asked Congress to immediately distribute and replenish the Provider Relief Fund, provide additional time for repayment of Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program loans, extend the delay in sequestration cuts for at least the duration of the public health emergency, and address workforce shortages with policy solutions and funding.
But COVID-19 and APOT are not the only issues we are focused on in 2022. Many critical issues remain. They include:
- Medi-Cal funding
- Disaster preparedness
- Behavioral health
- Insurance company practices such as prompt payment & white bagging
Your hospitals were there for Californians throughout the pandemic, and we must ensure that they have the support to continue to care for ALL Californians. Just because COVID-19 numbers are on the decline now, the financial, staffing, and regulatory impacts — and more — remain.