As front-line healthcare workers continue to be spread thin by the pandemic and high numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations, four California healthcare organizations will receive a combined $8.7 million in federal funding to combat burnout and promote mental health among staffers in an attempt to curb attrition.
The Health Resources and Services Administration awarded Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, Touro University in Vallejo and the San Diego-based San Ysidro Health system with the grants, which will be distributed over three years.
Children’s Hospital will receive over $2.1 million, Samuel Merritt will receive over $2 million, Touro will receive nearly $1.6 million, and San Ysidro Health will receive nearly $3 million.
The money is part of over $100 million that will be distributed to 45 organizations across the country, funded by last year’s $1.9-trillion American Rescue Plan.
The grants are meant to fund programs and training for healthcare providers to cope with stress and “build resiliency,” with special consideration given to those in underserved and rural communities, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a release.
“I have traveled to many health centers across the country and know that the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified issues that have long been a source of stress for frontline healthcare workers — from increased patient volumes to long working hours,” Health Secretary Xavier Becerra said in the release.
In California, hospital staffers have had to deal with high patient counts, long hours and employee shortages as the Omicron coronavirus variant spread rapidly in recent months.
In the Sharp health system in San Diego County, more than 1,000 health workers are unable to work for coronavirus-related reasons, even amid signs that Omicron’s spread in California may be at its peak.
The conditions have led to a slew of burned-out healthcare workers leaving the industry altogether.
“COVID-19 has compounded rates of depression and anxiety among healthcare workers,” the HHS wrote in the release. “The relentless physical and emotional demands of treating patients during a pandemic have exacerbated longstanding barriers to workplace well-being.”