Inland NW Health Care Providers Reassess After 2-Year Anniversary of COVID
NWPB’s Rachel Sun reports on how Inland NW health care providers have been impacted after 2 years of the COVID pandemic / Runtime – 1:43
It’s been almost two years since the first COVID-19 case was detected in the Inland Northwest. As COVID-19 rates drop, providers say the pandemic has had a major impact on health care systems.
As hospitalizations for COVID-19 lower, health care providers are putting a new emphasis on recapturing patients with chronic conditions and those who missed out on regular screenings during the pandemic.
Jonathan Boyd, a hospitalist at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, says he’s seen more patients with problems that are difficult to treat because they delayed care.
“We’re seeing sicker patients coming into the hospital,” Boyd said. “People whose chronic conditions have been exacerbated by lack of care. And it makes it more difficult to treat, makes it more difficult to get these chronic conditions back under control.”
Another impact of the pandemic was a provider shortage felt by healthcare facilities nationwide due to employee burnout, illness and difficulty finding child care.
Providers are still trying to fill that gap. At CHAS Health, prospective employees may be offered incentives like child care stipends, loan repayment benefits and signing and retention bonuses. Other providers are working to expand training programs to replace the staff they’ve lost.
As physicians see more patients in person, they’re also working to gain the trust of many who remain skeptical of health care systems, vaccines and specific treatments.
“It’s very easy to imagine that that big, faceless healthcare system does not have your best interests at heart,” Boyd said. “I think that one of the big parts of building trust is getting a face in front of them, somebody they can know somebody that they interact with. ‘This is a person, this is a doctor that cares about me.’ Listening, addressing concerns, spending that extra five minutes with the patient and building that relationship.”
This report is made possible by the Lewis-Clark Valley Healthcare Foundation in partnership with NWPB, the Lewiston Tribune, and the Moscow-Pullman Daily News.