- Positive working conditions, such as trust in management and help from supervisors, were associated with lower odds of poor mental health symptoms and burnout for healthcare workers.
- Research shows that loneliness is associated with elevated risk for a wide range of physical and mental health conditions, making such research a critical first step to improving health and well-being worldwide.
- The nation’s uninsurance rate would drop by 25% if the 10 remaining non-expansion states expanded their Medicaid programs.
Over the past few weeks, I have found these industry news stories that should be of interest to healthcare finance professionals.
1. Positive working conditions represent the No. 1 thing healthcare organizations can provide to boost employee mental health
Providing “positive working conditions” is the main thing healthcare organizations can do to help lessen burnout and ensure better mental health for employees, according to an Oct. 24 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Health worker respondents to the General Social Survey Quality of Worklife Module reported more days of poor mental health and were more likely to report burnout in 2022 than in 2018,” wrote the report’s authors. “Positive working conditions, such as trust in management and supervisor help, were associated with lower odds of poor mental health symptoms and burnout.
“Improving management and supervisory practices might reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and burnout. Protecting and promoting health worker mental health has important implications for the nation’s health system and public health. Health employers, managers, and supervisors are encouraged to implement the guidance offered by the Surgeon General and use CDC resources to include workers in decision-making, provide help and resources that enable workers to be productive and build trust, and adopt policies to support a psychologically safe workplace.”
Results from the report showed the following:
- 4.5 days of poor mental health were reported by healthcare workers in 2022, compared to 3.3 in 2018.
- 19% of health workers in 2022 reported feeling burned out “very often,” compared with 11.6% in 2018.
- 45.6% of health workers reported feeling burnout “often” or “very often” in 2022.
It’s been well-documented that burnout and poor mental health contribute to staffing shortages by forcing some workers to retire early, move into non-healthcare-related positions or move to new jobs in healthcare. In fact, 16.5% of healthcare employees in 2022 said they were “very likely to look for a new job with another employer,” compared with 11.1% in 2018, according to the report.
How to navigate ongoing staffing shortages
According to a related report, healthcare workers “reported fewer mental health issues when they said they work in supportive environments,” with the following factors helping make workplaces more supportive:
- Participation in workplace decisions
- Trust between management and workers
- Proactive and helpful supervisors who promoted stress prevention, psychological health, support for productivity, a harassment-free workplace and enough time to complete tasks
HFMA regularly provides content on workforce health, including:
- My Oct. 20 Healthcare News of Note blog “Physician burnout patterns are a potential threat to patient safety, study says.”
- “Solving the nursing crisis: 3 lessons learned from the COVID-19 experience,” a commentary by Jeff Richards, MMSc, MBA, published online Sept. 29.
- “Workforce of the Future,” a special report published as part of HFMA’s Healthcare 2030 series, which is now in its third year.
2. 25% of adults worldwide feel very or fairly lonely: What it means for healthcare
“In countries all over the world, millions of people experience loneliness in their daily lives,” wrote Ellyn Maese in an Oct. 24 Gallup blog post titled “Almost a Quarter of the World Feels Lonely,” which Maese says “translates into more than a billion people.”
The blog item is based on a Meta-Gallup survey, conducted in more than 140 countries, and can be found in the Global State of Social Connections report [download required].
Results, according to Maese, include:
- 17% of adults ages 65 and older felt “very or fairly lonely” (the group with the lowest rate).
- 27% of adults ages 19 to 29 reported feeling “very or fairly lonely” (the group with the highest rate).
- 49%, or approximately 2.2 billion people worldwide, reported they are “not lonely at all.”
U.S. data findings
In the United States, the survey shows:
- 18% of women and 12% of men reported feeling “very or fairly lonely.”
- 54% of women and 65% of men said they were “not lonely at all.”
Why healthcare organizations should care
“Research shows that loneliness is associated with elevated risk for a wide range of physical and mental health conditions, making research on loneliness a critical first step to improving health and wellbeing worldwide,” wrote Maese.
“Understanding differences in how people experience — or do not experience — loneliness across the globe can lead to new avenues for mitigating loneliness and improving social wellbeing in communities everywhere.”
WHO and the CDC on loneliness
An Oct. 19 article by the World Health Organization reported, “Social isolation and loneliness — which reflect deficits in social connections — affect people of all age groups and have serious consequences for mortality, physical and mental health (including suicide risk), and well-being. For instance, social isolation and loneliness are associated with 25-33% increased risk of mortality and are now widely considered to be risk factors for mortality which are as important as obesity, lack of physical activity, smoking, other forms of substance abuse, and poor access to health care.”
The CDC weighed in on the topic as well, saying: “Loneliness and social isolation in older adults are serious public health risks affecting a significant number of people in the United States and putting them at risk for dementia and other serious medical conditions.”
3. Nation’s uninsured rate would drop by 25% if these 10 states boosted their Medicaid programs
The nation’s uninsurance rate would drop by 25% if 10 states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming — expanded their Medicaid programs, according to a report published Oct. 23 by the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
These are some additional projections, per the report:
- More than 2.3 million people would gain access to health coverage.
- Non-Hispanic Black adults would see the largest reduction (43.2%) in the uninsured rate of any racial or ethnic group.
- People ages 19 to 24 would see the greatest decrease (32.4%) in the rate of uninsurance among age groups.
“In addition to reducing the number of uninsured, states that have expanded Medicaid see significant health and economic benefits that impact all residents, not just those who would gain coverage,” the authors concluded.
HFMA bonus content
- Read the Oct. 24 article “Hospital, physician advocates disagree over the role of physician-owned hospitals as policymakers ramp up focus,” by Nick Hut.
- Read the November issue of hfm magazine, including the cover story “Using data analytics to address SDoH and contain costs,” by Lisa. A. Eramo, MA, and the feature story “HFMA member Michael Bumann shares experience as Burning Man medic,” by Crystal Milazzo.
- Read HFMA’s comments on the proposed rule setting 2024 fees for the independent dispute resolution process, along with other comment letters and fact sheets as published on our Regulatory and Accounting Resources page.