Urgent Steps Hospitals Should Take If Nurse Staffing Ratio Waivers Are Still Needed
CHA has been advised by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) of the steps that hospitals must take to maintain any needed staffing waivers. As a reminder, all existing approved COVID-19 staffing-related waivers end at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 8 (per All Facilities Letter (AFL) 20-26.6). Hospitals that do not have enough staff to meet the standard ratios are encouraged to take these steps immediately, if they have not already.
First, hospitals that need to maintain staffing waivers should request additional staff from their Medical Health Operational Area Coordinator (MHOAC) or contracted staffing agencies. Alternatively, if a hospital has received a call from CDPH’s Centralized Program Flexibility Unit about its existing approved staffing waiver(s) and requested staff during that call, CDPH will request those staff directly from the state’s deployment team (bypassing the MHOAC). However, the hospital may want to also notify their MHOAC they have made a staffing request to CDPH so the MHOAC is aware of their urgent staffing needs.
Second, if those staff will not be obtained and onboarded before Feb. 8, hospitals should tell the Centralized Program Flexibility Unit that they need to maintain their waiver while they await additional staff. This can be done by emailing the Centralized Program Flexibility Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hospitals are reminded that the state may, at its discretion, subsidize staffing provided through the state’s contracted staffing agencies (see AFL 21-07). However, the state’s contracted hourly rates may be higher than rates hospitals have negotiated directly with their own staffing agencies. Hospitals may wish to talk to the state about available subsidies and compare the final cost to their other options for obtaining additional staff, if any.
CDPH Director Letter to Vaccination Providers Has Four Key Messages
On Feb. 3, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Tomás J. Aragón sent a letter to all vaccination providers. It carries four key messages:
- We want you to get your doses out.
- Manage your vaccine inventory normally: a dose is a dose.
- We will begin to manage and approve future orders based on shots in arms.
- We need you to report your shots administered and your inventory. Every day.
State Announces Partnership with Biden Administration for Community Vaccination Sites in Los Angeles, Oakland
On Feb. 3, Gov. Newsom and the Biden-Harris administration announced a pilot project to establish community vaccination sites at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum and California State University, Los Angeles. The goal of these joint pilot sites is to continue to expand the rate of vaccinations in California in an efficient, effective, and equitable manner. The sites will be co-run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and are expected to be open to the public by Feb. 16.
Summary of Feb. 2 CDPH Call
CDPH has provided a summary of its recent weekly call with health care facilities.
Surge-Related Data Resources
- State Resources: Monitor ICU capacity by region or by county.
- CHA Resources: Hospitals can access county dashboards through the CHA COVID-19 Tracking Tool, which includes hospital-specific data on ICU capacity.