CEO Message

Ahead of Omicron Peak, Time to Act Is Running Short

This post has been archived and contains information that may be out of date.

In the throes of the current omicron surge, where hospitalizations are growing daily and the peak is still projected before the end of the month, it’s essential that state health leaders seriously consider every tool at their disposal to alleviate a treacherous gap between the number of Californians who need hospital care and the number of qualified staff available to provide that care. 

Late last week, CHA held a statewide media briefing to share the “state of the state” of California’s hospitals ahead of the peak and lay out options that must be discussed with lives hanging in the balance — including temporary flexibility on nurse staffing ratios.  

The Jan. 13 media call was attended by nearly 15 media outlets and provided a means to not only call for implementation of any and all necessary regulatory flexibilities, but also dispel several myths around the reasons for the current workforce challenges. Most importantly, CHA was able to make clear that the nationwide reduction of 20% of our health care workforce, coupled with unpredictable daily outages due to illness or caring for family members who are ill, are the driving forces behind shortages. 

A sampling of coverage is below (audio clips from the press conference also aired multiple times on KNX1070 Radio in Los Angeles): 

In addition, CHA participated in four TV news interviews via Zoom last Friday:   

These next several weeks will be pivotal for California’s health care system, with the Feb. 13 Super Bowl playing an unknown role in the trajectory of omicron’s spread following the peak at the end of January. (To help Californians preserve emergency care for those who truly need it, we are amplifying social media messages that educate and inform about appropriate ED use.) 

We will continue to engage daily with state health officials to share with them what’s going on in your hospitals and the things that you need to care for those who arrive at your doors (regulatory flexibility, testing supplies, qualified federal and state personnel), and we will continue to make your voices heard before the media and the public to further advance these issues. 

As the crisis continues, please know there is no wrong door for questions or help. Whatever your needs may be, reach out to me or a member of the CHA team or your Regional Association team, and we will get back with you quickly. 

Stay safe, stay strong, and know that we are in this together.