On Feb. 26, CHA sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly on surge preparations, seeking to continue to partner, assess lessons learned, and resolve unfinished business that must be addressed in the event of another surge.
Specifically, the letter makes five recommendations:
- Align the Governor’s state of emergency with the federal public health emergency (PHE). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has stated the PHE will last through 2021 and that it will provide 60 days’ advance notice before ending it.
- Conform the time frame for the space flexibilities established by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) in All Facilities Letter 20-26.6 to the PHE, as well.
- Address when nursing supply is not enough to meet patient demand. The letter states a goal of reaching a shared understanding of the combination of strategies to be used if hospitals experience future staffing shortages.
- Obtain operational patient movement guidance from the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA).
- Work together to ensure that any future need to temporarily suspend non-essential services will not delay outpatient surgeries, which does not contribute to inpatient capacity.
CHA will work through these issues with leaders from the California Health and Human Services Agency and its departments, CDPH and EMSA.