Consulo Indicium - 5/19/22

Information for your Consideration…

Baby Aspirin Anyone? The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF) finally moved on it’s the backroom discussions which have been brewing for a number of years to state clearly that the regular consumption of aspirin – either regular or baby-aspirin offers “…little benefit for most healthy people, and…it may contribute to a risk of bleeding in your stomach or brain that goes up as you get older.” I was forewarned by my cardiologist that this may be coming so I had let my aspirin supply dwindle. Despite that precaution; however, I’ve now got to undo 20+ years of taking baby aspirin as a preventive measure. It’s hard to break those habits. The results were based on a review of 11 randomized, controlled trials that involved over 130,000 patients. So, it was not a small study. As I noted – it’s been part of backroom cardiology discussions for some time. 

Firearms Are Now The Biggest Killer of Kids –  I will never forget when my daughter came home from Kindergarten and chastised me – unmercifully – for not wearing my seatbelts. She was unrelenting so I acquiesced. I’ve always been convinced that the most important tactic used in getting all of us to use seatbelts centered in educating kids on the value of being safely transported in the family car. Now, we are faced with the fact that the “new” leading cause of death is from guns. The data reveals that in the USA firearm-related deaths increased 13.5% from 2019 to 2020 where the USA experienced 45,222 firearm-related deaths. However, the biggest change occurred for children ages 1–19 years old where the increase in deaths jumped almost 30% as reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. In general, there has been an increase in increase in firearm violence over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the NEJM letter noted that the reason for the increase in child deaths attributed to guns is unclear. Regardless of reason, this is an issue that demands attention! As I’ve noted multiple times over the years, I grew up with guns but they were used for hunting – deer, pheasants, ducks, etc. – not people!! Something needs to be done. Reasonable gun control approaches are on the table and need to be considered. It is totally bogus that the government is going to take away the guns of American citizens. So, Kevin – how do you feel about this issue…?

The Accelerating Clinical Resignation – There was a report in mid-April in Healthcare Economics that outlined the major reasons which are contributing to clinician turnover. After two years of COVID-19, it’s not surprising to see the “great resignation” affecting health care as well as other areas. The survey was conducted by KLAS Research. The 7 reasons outlined in the article include:

  1. Feeling burned out
  2. Chaotic work environments
  3. Spending too much time on bureaucratic tasks
  4. Frustration with the electronic medical record
  5. Lack of effective teamwork 
  6. Too heavy of a workload
  7. Lack of shared values with organization leadership

The survey questioned whether clinicians were considering a change in the next two years. To date, they’ve had nearly 60,000 respondents so the data is likely very accurate. This is the underbelly of the COVID-19 pandemic and needs serious attention by the leaders of health care organizations. So, the question remains: What is the data showing? Consider the following:

  • The Great Resignation is affecting health care as much as other industries. Across all industries, ince Q2-21 aabout 3% of workers have been leaving their positions every month. The stress of care delivery is actually causing a higher rate of resignation than the average might show. In fact, a survey by Morning Consult revealed that 18% of healthcare workers have quit their jobs since the start of the pandemic. That’s a massive turnover not for the purposes of filling positions but – as importantly – for training and care delivery process management as well. The same survey revealed among the healthcare professionals are still working – fully one-third or 31% have recently considered a move.
  • The direct care delivery team consisting of physicians, advanced practice providers and nurses are also exhibiting workforce stress. Nearly 1/3 of these providers intend to reduce their work hours in the coming year. In fact, 20% of physicians and 40% of nurses intend to leave practice completely. The message is clear: closer your work with the patients, the more stress there is!! 

Long Term Care Also Impacted – In a report from Care Delivery, the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living reported that more than 400 nursing homes are expected to close during the coming year. We’ve actually experienced this in our family with reduced availability of staff at the facility where Mom is located!! These closures come on top of the pre-existing challenges faced by the nursing home sector where more than 1,000 homes have closed since 2015. The pandemic has simply accelerated the problem. Furthermore, nearly 50% of the homes that have closed received 4- and 5-star ratings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

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