When COVID-19 was declared a national health emergency in March 2020, healthcare providers pivoted from typical day-to-day activities to focus on responding to the pandemic. We suddenly had to manage patient care remotely to prevent exposure to the virus, and patients needed to adjust to having less access to regular doctor visits. At the same time, many people were dealing with added stressors, such as lost jobs and insurance coverage, as well as the isolation and uncertainty of life during a pandemic. It shouldn’t be a surprise that as COVID-19 surges across the country, behavioral and mental health issues are surging as well.
When people think of life in California, they often think of movie stars, mansions, and pristine beaches. The reality can sometimes be less glamorous. Since 2016, the homeless population in California has risen by 13 percent. There are now an estimated 130,000 homeless individuals living across California, including 50,000 in Los Angeles alone. Walking the streets in San Bernardino County, the sight of people sleeping in cars, under bridges, and in parks is all too common.
According to a new report from Navigant, 21% of rural hospitals in the U.S. are at a high risk of closing. Lack of liquidity, outdated technology, and knowledge gaps with minimal financial resources to fill them are just a few of the challenges rural hospitals are struggling to overcome. Despite these alarming statistics and obstacles, there are steps organizations can take to be successful and address socioeconomic drivers for their communities.
In the latest installment of our thought leader podcast series, I chat with Billie Lynn Allard, MS, RN, and Jennifer Fels, RN, MSN, co-founders of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center's transitional care program. Allard and Fels explain how they designed a program that addresses recurring gaps in care caused by social determinants of health in their rural community.