Oregon passes a law setting minimum staffing levels for nursing, the end of the public health emergency, and other stories gained wide attention.
The healthcare industry is changing rapidly, driven by changing patient trends, workforce demands, and by sheer necessity.
Chief Healthcare Executive® strives to explain how and why the industry is evolving, and what that means for leaders, workers, and patients. Here’s a look at the most popular healthcare transformation stories over the past year.
In August, Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek signed legislation establishing minimum nursing standards for hospitals and health systems.
Nurse staffing ratios won’t formally be in place until June 2024. Hospitals that don’t comply could face fines beginning in June 2025, under the new law.
It’s worth noting that the Oregon Hospital Association backed the minimum staffing law, said Matt Calzia, director of nursing practice and professional development for the Oregon Nurses Association.
Calzia said he could see similar efforts succeed in other states.
“Healthcare leaders are going to just acknowledge that this is one of the things that needs to happen to start repairing our broken healthcare system,” Calzia said.
The federal government’s COVID-19 emergency expired on May 11, and that brought some changes for hospitals and health systems.
Among the key changes: Hospitals no longer received bigger reimbursements for treating patients with COVID-19.
In addition, states gained more flexibility in assessing Medicaid eligibility, and states dropped coverage for some residents.
Sachin Jain isn’t shy about outlining the shortcomings of the American healthcare system. Jain is the CEO of SCAN Group and SCAN Health Plan, which operates nonprofit Medicare Advantage plans in California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas.
In an interview with Chief Healthcare Executive, Jain talked about the prevalence of middlemen in healthcare, the lack of progress in improving outcomes, and the need for more integration in healthcare with a greater focus on patients.
“We've normalized the abnormal in American healthcare,” Jain said. “I think the fact that we don't even call out some of that abnormality is a function of the fact that we've just accepted it as being a necessary part of our landscape.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation to raise the minimum wage for the state’s healthcare workers to $25 per hour in October, and unions and hospitals both touted victories.
Labor unions touted the new law as a historic victory that will make a real difference in the lives of healthcare workers. Hospitals say they secured some predictability, leading them to support the legislation. Hospitals had worried about the prospect of some cities and regions imposing higher minimum wages.
The increases will be phased in over time, with staggered schedules based on the size of hospitals and systems.
Carmela Coyle, president & CEO of the California Hospital Association, said the bill “strikes the right balance between significantly improving wages while protecting jobs and safeguarding care at community hospitals throughout the state.”
Healthcare leaders and medical schools denounced the Supreme Court ruling that struck down the use of affirmative action in college admissions.
With a 6-3 ruling that mirrored the court’s ideological divide, the court said that considering race as a factor in admissions is unconstitutional.
The Association of American Medical Colleges said in a statement that it was “deeply disappointed” with the ruling.
Geoffrey H. Young, the AAMC’s senior director of transforming the healthcare workforce, said the ruling was a blow “to healthcare and health equity.”
“I believe that we're resilient,” Young said. “And, you know, those schools that remain committed to their mission, we will figure out how to educate a diverse workforce.”