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COVID-19 required a global healthcare response that hadn’t been seen in more than a century. Doctors, nurses, and support personnel found themselves working long hours, running out of equipment, and trying to care for others while trying not to get infected.

The lasting impact of the coronavirus on healthcare workers is going to be one of lost jobs, burnout, and displaced professionals.

Hospitals Couldn’t Provide Elective Procedures

Doctors and nurses got furloughed at the height of the COVID-19 emergency because hospitals were losing money fast. Elective procedures tend to bring the most profits, but most governments rescinded the authorization to provide that form of care. Medical professionals were expected to care for coronavirus patients instead.

U.S. hospitals expect to lose about $3,000 per COVID-19 patients because of resource intensity, length of stay, and insurance coverage problems. Even when stimulus funds get calculated into that financial matrix, most facilities expect to lose at least $1,000 per treatment effort.

The medical professionals that didn’t get laid off found themselves being deployed to emergency wards to treat the virus. Many of these people haven’t been trained or have practiced this form of medicine in years. That requirement brings up the issue of malpractice.

Telemedicine has become a substitute for in-person clinic visits, but this service receives a lower reimbursement rate. Some doctors and patients don’t know how to use the technology for an adequate treatment option. That means reduced care is given to each person.

People Are Moving to Where Jobs Are

The United States was already critically low on doctors and physicians before the pandemic hit. This issue is only going to get worse as students re-evaluate their desire to enter medicine. Getting called into a dangerous situation to treat patients with COVID-19 is not what everyone imagines when entering the healthcare industry.

As economies slowly reopen, medical professionals are going to move to where the jobs are. That means a shift away from rural hospital systems will accelerate.

Even if a vaccine proves to be effective against the coronavirus, the impact on healthcare workers will have already worked its course. Millions of people could lose immediate access to care. Longer hours will be necessary as some professionals leave the industry for good. Government-mandated hiring freezes will increase the doctor-patient ratio in many communities.
There are lessons we can learn from COVID-19. Such as taking care of ourselves and others. This includes paycheck protection, exercising more, getting enough sleep, managing stress, being more mindful of being around people when we get sick, and supporting the immune system with silver products, such as those from Argentyn 23, Host Defense, or Jarrow Formulas If we fail to act on them, the next pandemic may create even more problems.

Scott Larson