News Roundup July 3rd, 2020

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) has now reported a decrease of unemployment levels over the previous months. While still at high levels at around 11.1% due to an erosion of the labor market during the pandemic, there is some movement that an industry like healthcare is starting to see jobs regained as the economy tries to reorient itself back on track.

From Washington Post:

“Education and health services regained 568,000 jobs and health care 358,000 as people returned to the offices of dentists, physicians and other medical practitioners.”

Texas and Florida, where the pandemic is growing at a faster rate than other states are reducing elective surgeries to increase hospital beds for COVID patients. A reduction in elective surgeries, a main driver for occupational and physical therapy cases in the home health industry, will translate to declines in work for clinicians skilled in these areas. 

From the Texas Tribune:

“Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday morning that he is putting a stop to elective surgeries and other procedures in four South Texas counties that are seeing a rapid surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.” 

While we saw bans for elective surgeries coming from the state level in Texas, in Florida many hospitals and health institutions made decisions independently of the state and local governments as a way to free more hospital beds for patients that need them the most.

From South Florida Sun Sentinel:

“Major South Florida hospitals announced plans Wednesday to restrict elective surgeries, as the resurgence of coronavirus dashed hopes that the state had come through the worst of the epidemic.”

As more medical organizations and providers facilitate the adoption of telehealth in their health practices the pandemic has forced many actors in HIPAA regulations to relax restrictions to fully facilitate an evolution in healthcare delivery. 


“As the Covid-19 outbreak sparked a widespread shift from in-person medicine to telemedicine, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) eased some HIPAA security rules to facilitate the transition…”

Of course there are still points in the regulation that providers can’t avoid and it concerns the ultimate protection of personal data and patient privacy. 

“While companies no longer face the same compliance requirements or penalties as they did before the pandemic, this doesn’t mean they can lower their vigilance about ensuring patient privacy and safeguarding their electronic protected health information (ePHI), personally identifiable information (PII) and financial data.”