health workers

Venezuela's health system has been decimated by catastrophic economic collapse. During the COVID-19 pandemic, that's made personal protective equipment, or PPE, especially scarce for Venezuela's health care workers.

One tragic result: of the nearly 500 COVID deaths Venezuela has reported as of this week, almost a third were doctors, nurses and other frontline medical personnel.

medical worker hands giving shot into patient arm
National Cancer Institute

With proposed rules to expand the scope of practice for Florida pharmacists now published, attention has turned to carrying out another new law that will allow certain advanced practice registered nurses to have independent practices.

Like so many of our jobs, what it is to be a nurse has changed drastically because of COVID-19. And Florida hospitals need more nurses to continue to fight the pandemic and not run out of steam, says Maggie Hansen.

Hansen represents about 5,000 nurses at Memorial Healthcare System in Broward County — as their chief nurse executive and a senior vice president. This summer Governor Ron DeSantis appointed her to the Florida Board of Nursing.

Engin Akyurt / Unsplash

Discussions about exempting medical students and medical residents from disclosing past mental health treatment on their Florida licensure applications have been put on hold.

The Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine have canceled a Sept. 11 meeting on “health history questions.”

Many COVID-19 Workers’ Comp Claims Rejected

Aug 31, 2020
hospital worker with medical mask on
S.J. Objio / Unsplash

Thousands of Florida workers, including people on the front lines battling the coronavirus pandemic, say they have gotten infected with COVID-19.

But state numbers show that insurers have refused to pay nearly half of the workers’ compensation insurance claims filed by first responders, health care professionals and other workers.

Many People Of Color, Immigrants Among Over 1,000 US Health Workers Lost To COVID

Aug 28, 2020
Kaiser Health News

More than 1,000 front-line health care workers reportedly have died of COVID-19, according to Lost on the Frontline, an ongoing investigation by The Guardian and KHN to track and memorialize every U.S. health care worker who dies from the coronavirus. Earlier this month, the organizations published a major interactive database. It is the most comprehensive accounting of U.S. health care workers’ deaths in the country.

Jennifer Mackinday said her life changed in an instant.

In 2005, her brother James suffered severe injuries while serving in Iraq with the U.S. Army—including traumatic brain injury, PTSD, damage to his spine and hearing and vision loss. He was left with lasting disabilities. He was prone to falling. He could walk into traffic without warning. He would forget how to get home.

Jennifer decided to become her brother’s full-time caregiver.

At the height of summer, temperatures climb to nearly 100 degrees most days in Pharr, a small city in South Texas. Nonetheless, nurse practitioner Oralia Martinez and her staff have set up a temporary exam room outside her small clinic.

This is their way of preserving masks and other personal protective equipment as they treat COVID-19 patients in the Rio Grande Valley, where infections are spiking. While Martinez and her colleagues sweat in full gear outside, the staffers and other patients inside the clinic aren't exposed and don't need as much PPE.

Primary Care Doctors Look At Payment Overhaul After Pandemic Disruption

Aug 13, 2020
Tommy Martino for KHN

For Dr. Gabe Charbonneau, a primary care doctor in Stevensville, Montana, the coronavirus pandemic is an existential threat.

Charbonneau, 43, his two partners and 10 staff members are struggling to keep their rural practice alive. Patient volume is slowly returning to pre-COVID levels. But the large Seattle-area company that owns his practice is reassessing its operations as it adjusts to the new reality in health care.

Jasmine Obra believed that if it wasn't for her brother Joshua, she wouldn't exist. When 7-year-old Josh realized that his parents weren't going to live forever, he asked for a sibling so he would never be alone.

By spring 2020, at ages 29 and 21, Josh and Jasmine shared a condo in Anaheim, Calif., not far from Disneyland, which they both loved.

Both worked at a 147-bed locked nursing facility that specialized in caring for elderly people with cognitive issues such as Alzheimer's and where Jasmine, a nursing student, was mentored by Josh, a registered nurse.

Marion County Jail Nurse Dies From COVID-19

Aug 10, 2020
Heart of Florida

A nurse who worked for more than 12 years at the Marion County Jail has died from COVID-19.

Charles “Dan” Manrique, 71, died on Saturday. He was the night charge nurse at the jail.

Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested Friday a further broadening of what constitutes an “essential” worker as he continues efforts to revive the coronavirus-staggered economy.

For the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, correctional officer Kareen "Troy" Troitino says things were "pretty relaxed" at FCI Miami. There were no cases of COVID-19 at the low-security federal prison, which currently houses some 1,000 inmates.

That all changed, he says, early last month. "And then on the week of the Fourth of July, we had one case, and then it just spread in one week. I mean, tremendously. It's like wildfire. And you don't even see the fire because you don't know who has it until it's too late."

When the coronavirus pandemic began, public health experts had high hopes for the United States. After all, the U.S. literally invented the tactics that have been used for decades to quash outbreaks around the world: Quickly identify everyone who gets infected. Track down everyone exposed to the virus. Test everyone. Isolate the sick and quarantine the exposed to stop the virus from spreading.

senior citizen with hands folded

COVID-19 test kits sent to nursing homes and assisted living facilities are for employees, not residents, the state said Thursday.

Florida is now the epicenter of COVID-19 in the United States.

The progression of COVID-19 is predictable: Case counts go up, hospital admissions rise, and then ICU admissions increase. And finally, the death toll rises.

The emergency room overflowed with patients. Then, the next wave arrived. This time on stretchers.

"They were lined up along the walls in the ER," a health care worker inside a Navicent Health-owned hospital in middle Georgia told GPB News. "We never have had an influx like that. Since the Fourth of July, it has just exploded."

During her 17 years running Okanogan County's small public health department in eastern Washington, Lauri Jones rarely encountered any controversy.

"Usually, we kind of sit here under the radar," says Jones, whose department before the pandemic was mostly known for mundane duties such as recording births, issuing permits for septic tanks, and investigating reports of food poisoning.

Health care professionals and first responders are facing the strain of fighting the coronavirus at work while scrambling to arrange for child care at home. According to a new study, the US health care system appears disproportionately prone to labor shortages from school closures.  

In Sarasota County, a dozen public and nonprofit partners have teamed up to open safe spaces for the children of essential workers.  

Staff and volunteers from Camillus Health treat members of South Florida’s homeless population by going out to the streets after clinic hours to find those who refuse both shelter and traditional medical attention.   The team, mostly nurses, are identifiable by their blue scrubs. When their van pulls up, homeless people come out of the shadows to seek services, according to a Miami Herald reporter who accompanied them one night.