March 25, 2021

HHS report finds US hospitals in crisis

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's report

A new report released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) on March 23 details how the COVID-19 pandemic has created new problems and worsened existing issues at US hospitals, leaving staff frustrated, exhausted, and burned out.

Among the problems outlined in the report:

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  • Hospitals have had to set up their own systems for handling an unpredictable and insufficient supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Staff illnesses and deaths have worsened workforce problems, with staff having to work longer hours and more shifts and take on increased responsibilities.
  • Hospitals report financial instability because of increased expenses associated with responding to the pandemic and lower revenues from decreased use of other hospital services, such as cancelling elective surgical procedures.
  • Hospitals fear they will be unable to address a looming mental health crisis, resulting from lockdowns, reduced social interaction, online learning, and burnout.

The report surveyed 320 front-line US hospital administrators from February 22-26, 2021.


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