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Communication Remains a Two-Way Street

Good communication is key to so much of our daily lives and success in work and relationships. Without effective communication, a message can turn into error, misunderstanding, frustration, or more — lessons that we have all likely learned the hard way.

Throughout the pandemic, regular communication at the local, state, and federal levels has been paramount to our advocacy and policy work. But communication has been and always will be a two-way street. If governmental agencies truly want to partner with us, we need open lines of communication, and not surprises like the All Facilities Letter (AFL) on testing that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released the evening before Thanksgiving.

Despite being engaged with us in ongoing discussions about testing hospital workers, and knowing the many challenges and expenses associated with weekly testing, CDPH chose to issue the AFL anyway, and nearly under the cover of darkness. I recognize that many of you are frustrated with these testing recommendations and are eager for some resolution. As you are well aware, this is just one of many issues, including nurse staffing ratios and patient transfers, that are still pending. Until they are resolved — and we hope to have decisions on them soon — we will continue to advocate and engage for our members. To assist hospitals in complying with the testing recommendation, CHA is offering these materials:

As we head into the holidays — and watch as our ICU capacity continues to shrink ­— the next few weeks will be critical. Thankfully, there’s good news on the horizon. By Dec. 15, the first doses — albeit limited — of the COVID-19 vaccine should begin arriving in hospitals. While this will not wipe out the pandemic immediately, the hope is that, with the vaccine and the current stay-at-home orders affecting the majority of Californians, we will see start to see reductions in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

In advance of the vaccine’s arrival, CHA has prepared a COVID-19: Vaccination Primer for California Hospitals, which summarizes the latest information from CDPH and the steps that hospitals will need to take to participate as vaccinators. If you haven’t yet seen it, I encourage you to take a look so you have the latest information, and please share with all who might find it useful.

While many Californians have chosen to move on from COVID-19, the same cannot be said of the disease. There is a light — albeit faint — at the end of the tunnel. I know the stress is real, the burnout is real, and the efforts of all your front-line workers are not lost on any of us.