A handful of states are easing certain licensing requirements, creating programs for foreign-trained doctors to work alongside U.S.-trained ones, reserving residency spots for immigrant health workers and providing help, sometimes including financial aid, for those working to get a U.S. license. States hope the efforts can not only get medical providers to more places where they are needed—particularly underserved rural and urban areas—but also lead to more professionals who speak the same language as and are culturally attuned to those they treat in an ever more diverse America.
But the story may be more complicated in rural America, where resistance to the vaccine remains strongest. Some rural hospital leaders worry the vaccine mandate will exacerbate a labor shortage that was profound even before the pandemic. There are predictions that some hospitals will have to close their doors.
Rural Americans are dying of covid at more than twice the rate of their urban counterparts — a divide that health experts say is likely to widen as access to medical care shrinks for a population that tends to be older, sicker, heavier, poorer and less vaccinated.
Across the country, thousands of hospitals are overwhelmed with critically ill patients, prompting many overburdened nurses to change careers or retire early. The shortages are particularly dire in rural areas, rural health experts say, because of the aging workforce and population, smaller salaries and intense workload.
Unvaccinated people are being hit hardest, and public health officials continue to urge everyone who has not gotten fully vaccinated to do so immediately.
Opening two new medical schools in Montana would stretch and possibly overwhelm the state’s physicians who provide the clinical training that students need to become doctors, UW leaders say.
Daily covid vaccination rates are falling nationwide. Gaps in vaccine uptake are starting to show, especially in rural America. That leaves many communities grappling with an imperfect pandemic endgame.
This decrease could lead to fewer doctors in less populated areas of the country
CARES Act funding for health care providers has been plagued by a dizzying rollout and, at times, contradictory guidelines for how to use the funding.
The hospitalization projections are scary. We’re already at 80% ICU capacity in Washington. Unless this turns around, our system will be overrun.
Papenfus is the lone full-time ER doctor in the town of 900, not far from the Kansas line. ““I’m chief of staff and medical director of everything,” he says.
In many communities, the goodwill seen early in the pandemic has given way to COVID fatigue and anger, making it hard to implement public health measures
The vaccine has to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius. Typical freezers don’t get that cold, making distribution of this vaccine a logistical nightmare.
The nation’s pandemic hotspots have shifted to rural communities, overwhelming small hospitals that are running out of beds or lack enough intensive care units.
As COVID-19 spreads, a growing number of rural communities find themselves without their hospital or on the brink of losing already cash-strapped facilities.