Resilience, dedication, conviction: Hospital CEOs write thank-you notes to staff

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/resilience-dedication-conviction-hospital-ceos-write-thank-you-notes-to-staff.html?utm_medium=email

Words of appreciation: Thank-you notes from 15 health system CEOs ...

Healthcare workers have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing care to ill patients and battling the public health crisis from various angles. In honor of these workers, Becker’s asked hospital and health system CEOs to share notes to their staff and team members.

Michael Apkon, MD, PhD
President and CEO
Tufts Medical Center & Floating Hospital for Children (Boston)

At Tufts Medical Center, we see some of the sickest people in Boston. Our teams routinely surround each of these patients with the extraordinary care and services they need to get well.

This pandemic is unprecedented.  I know our staff are balancing the concerns that we all have for our families and friends, our own health, as well as the changes to our lives outside of work at the same time they do everything they can to provide the level of care people have come to trust from our organization. I can tell you that over my 30 years in this industry, I have not seen more dedication, innovation and willingness to help than I have during these past few months, as we fight a largely unknown enemy.

I could not be more proud of our doctors, nurses, technologists, transporters, housekeepers, cooks, public safety officers and all others who have been vital to the care of all of our patients, including those with a COVID-19 diagnosis. I know that people are coming together across our industry in nearly every city and town. Many thanks to each of our team members and to the healthcare workers around our country as well as to their families, who have had to worry day after day about their loved one on the front lines. Please know your partners, mothers, fathers, sister, brother, sons or daughters have played a critical role in saving lives, and we are doing everything we can to keep them safe.

Marna Borgstrom
CEO Yale New Haven (Conn.) Health

During these unprecedented times I welcome the opportunity to reflect on all that our staff at Yale New Haven Health are doing for each other and for our communities. We have a team of more than 27,000 hardworking and talented people to care for communities in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island. I am truly humbled and honored to work alongside these amazing individuals.

Our staff, like healthcare workers everywhere, are being tasked in seemingly conflicting ways during this pandemic. Not only are they continuing to do their jobs by caring for the sickest patients, but they are also managing extremely challenging issues at home. Children of all ages are home from school, some need to be home-schooled. Businesses are closed, impacting many spouses and other family members. Staff worry that they may not have an adequate amount of protective equipment and supplies while at work.

But Yale New Haven Health staff are strong, they are resilient and most of all they are caring. As we do everything in our power to keep our staff safe, they are doing everything in their power to care for very ill patients in a world where new information is coming in real time and changing rapidly. We all hope and pray that this pandemic will end soon, but until it does, we are all in this together. I have never been more proud to work with this this wonderful Yale New Haven Health team.

Audrey Gregory, PhD, RN
CEO of the Detroit Medical Center

We know that the current situation around COVID-19 is unnerving, and as things continue to change rapidly every day, it can also be overwhelming.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the front-line staff at every level in our organization and at healthcare facilities all across the country.

I also would like to say thank you to all of the providers, including residents, fellows and advanced practice providers. I recognize the commitment that you have to provide care to our patients. Not only do I want to acknowledge that, I never want to take that for granted. As healthcare workers, this is the time that we courageously stay on the front lines.

Please be safe and do your part to protect each other. If you have any flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, body aches or shortness of breath, please stay home. I know that as healthcare workers we have a tendency to ignore symptoms, and work through them, so that we do not let the team down. This is the time that I implore you not to do so.

Thank you for your commitment and dedication to the patients and families that depend on us during this challenging time.

R. Guy Hudson, MD
CEO of Swedish Health Services (Seattle)

As we come together to fight this unprecedented pandemic, I am continually impressed by the resilience, professionalism and dedication of our community’s healthcare workers, first responders and other providers of essential services. Without their selfless commitment to serving others, we would not be able to weather this crisis.

Though we have yet to see the full costs that COVID-19 will exact on our region, I am confident that our community will continue to come together, support each other and manage through this situation with resolve.

I am grateful to the community’s outpouring of support for healthcare providers on the front lines, including the 13,000 dedicated caregivers at Swedish. It is often in times of crisis that our humanity, resilience and compassion shine brightest.

The pandemic poses the greatest risk to the most vulnerable members of our community. There are hundreds of nonprofits and other organizations that are doing heroic work to help our neighbors who struggle with mental illness, housing instability, food insecurity and other challenges. Their efforts are more critical than ever and need our support.

In this unchartered territory, I find strength in the dedication and conviction of the caregivers I have the privilege to work alongside. Providing care to our community in a time like this is exactly why we chose careers in healthcare. In the face of this pandemic, we will continue to serve the needs of our community, and we will not waver in our commitment to our patients.

To all our Swedish caregivers: I am proud to work with you.

Alan Kaplan, MD
CEO of UW Health (Madison, Wis.)

We find ourselves in an unprecedented time. We are preparing for a global pandemic, an insidious virus, that is already at our doorstep. To do this, the physicians and staff at UW Health are adjusting every aspect of our standard service to care for those who need us now, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to save as many lives as possible.

Despite these dire circumstances, I remain optimistic and proud. The faculty and staff at UW Health, from our diligent technicians to our expert physicians and nurses, are all working incredibly hard to ensure we are doing everything in our power to care for the communities we serve. Your early actions and quick flexibility gave our health system the best chance to manage this crisis. I am especially impressed by the ongoing collaboration, because it shows how much we are capable of accomplishing together. This work is highly valued and deeply appreciated, both within our walls and beyond.

I know this is a trying time for everyone in our organization and so many others around the world. Much of our specialty care has been put on hold, clinics have closed, and regular schedules are nonexistent. I appreciate the long hours and commitment it takes to serve patients and the public good in a time like this. For those on the frontlines of COVID-19, know that our entire organization and our community are proud of the work you are doing.

Finally, I hope you all do what you can to stay healthy, refresh and take time for yourself and to be with loved ones however possible during this new and challenging time. Thank you for everything you do. You are a daily inspiration.

Sarah Krevans
President and CEO of Sutter Health (Sacramento, Calif.)

The healthcare profession attracts those who want to make a difference in the lives of others. They all have a higher calling and always rise to the challenges in front of them. This happens every day, but it’s very apparent during this time in our history. There is no part of our organization that is untouched by this public health emergency. And yet, our teams stand tall. They don’t back down. From front-line health workers, to food and nutrition services staff, to information services personnel — they are committed to keeping our communities safe. Words will never be able to adequately thank them for their dedication, their perseverance and their heart, but all of us across our organization are forever grateful.

Jody Lomeo
President and CEO of Kaleida Health (Buffalo, N.Y.)

As we face these historic and challenging times, it is vitally important that we come together and stick together as a community. It’s just as important that we remain unified as the Kaleida Health family.

That said, let me thank everyone for their incredible dedication and teamwork this past week.

This is an unprecedented issue for healthcare providers to have to deal with; yet the response by the organization as a whole is what we have come to expect: nothing short of remarkable and solely focused on taking care of our community.

On behalf of a grateful community, the board of directors and the Kaleida Health leadership team, we thank you all for your incredible dedication these past few weeks. I have said it numerous times this week: You are the true heroes of this pandemic. And while our way of life has been forever changed, one constant that remains the same: the outstanding work that is done by the Kaleida Health team!

A special note of gratitude goes out to all of those who have volunteered to care for COVID-19 patients within their respective hospitals and across the Kaleida Health system. We could not do this without you!

In closing, thanks again. Stay healthy, stay safe.

We remain #KaleidaStrong.

Elizabeth Nabel, MD
President of Brigham Health (Boston)

We face an unprecedented challenge — possibly the greatest we will ever experience in our careers, maybe even our lifetimes. I am inspired by the indomitable dedication, courage and innovative spirit of our medical and scientific community as we navigate through these most trying events. From providers working on the front lines of patient care to investigators racing to discover an effective treatment for COVID-19, we are surrounded by countless demonstrations of commitment, collaboration and compassion. We will get through this together and come out on the other side stronger than ever.

 

 

 

 

Special Report: Doctors embrace drug touted by Trump for COVID-19, without hard evidence it works

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-hydroxychloroq/special-report-doctors-embrace-drug-touted-by-trump-for-covid-19-without-hard-evidence-it-works-idUSKBN21O2VO

Special Report: Doctors embrace drug touted by Trump for COVID-19 ...

The decades-old drug that President Donald Trump has persistently promoted as a potential weapon against COVID-19 has within a matter of weeks become a standard of care in areas of the United States hit hard by the pandemic — though doctors prescribing it have no idea whether it works.

Doctors and pharmacists from more than half a dozen large healthcare systems in New York, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Washington and California told Reuters they are routinely using hydroxychloroquine on patients hospitalized with COVID-19. At the same time, several said they have seen no evidence that the drug, used for years to treat malaria and autoimmune disorders, has any effect on the virus.

Use of hydroxychloroquine has soared as the United States has quickly become the epicenter of the pandemic. More than 355,000 people in the United States have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and more than 10,000 have died. The federal government estimates that as many as 240,000 people in the country may die from the disease before the outbreak is over.

Facing those numbers, and in the absence of any known effective treatments, doctors on the frontlines said they began using hydroxychloroquine and the related chloroquine on patients who are deteriorating based on a few small studies suggesting a possible benefit. Some said they had come under pressure from patients to use the therapies widely touted by Trump and other supporters.

“I may take it,” Trump said on Saturday, referring to hydroxychloroquine, though he has twice tested negative for coronavirus, according to the White House. “We’re just hearing really positive stories, and we’re continuing to collect the data.”

Potential side effects of hydroxychloroquine include vision loss and heart problems. But doctors interviewed by Reuters say they are comfortable prescribing the drug for a short course of several days for coronavirus patients because the risks are relatively low and the therapies are inexpensive and generally available.

However, protocols directing how these drugs should be used vary from one hospital to another, including when to introduce them and whether to combine them with other drugs. In addition, some studies showing promise involve patients who took the therapies for mild or early-stage illness. Many of those people are likely to recover from the virus on their own.

Patients admitted to the hospital in the United States are generally much sicker than the mildly ill cases cited in such studies when they receive therapy. These factors, doctors said, have made it difficult for them to determine whether the drugs are making a difference. “I have seen hundreds of patients with severe COVID and most of these people are on hydroxychloroquine,” Dr Mangala Narasimhan, regional director of critical care at Northwell Health, a 23-hospital system in New York, said in an email. “In my opinion, although it is very early, I do not see a dramatic improvement from the hydroxychloroquine in these patients.” Dr Daniel McQuillen, an infectious disease specialist at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts, said he has prescribed a course of hydroxychloroquine for about 30 COVID-19 patients so far because the drug has shown “a little bit of antiviral activity.” But he has not seen “marked improvement for patients.”

“Anecdotally, it may have had limited effect in patients with milder disease,” McQuillen said. The therapy “has had no effect in limiting or slowing progression of our patients that have been at or near ICU level when they arrived.”

‘SEE WHAT STICKS’

The experience of David Lat, a legal recruiter and commentator who founded the blog Above the Law, reflects the mixture of hope and uncertainty surrounding the drugs now being pursued as possible coronavirus treatments.

Since early March, the 44-year-old New Yorker has chronicled his near-fatal infection with coronavirus in social media posts followed by thousands of people. Lat’s case has resonated with a U.S. audience that has begun to recognize the risk that coronavirus poses not only to elderly patients with serious medical conditions, but also to generally healthy younger adults.

After more than a week of worsening symptoms, Lat was admitted to NYU Langone Medical Center on March 16 and later placed on a ventilator. On March 28, he shared on Facebook that his doctors had taken him off of the ventilator and had moved him out of intensive care after his condition improved dramatically.

In an exchange of text messages with Reuters, Lat said he was treated with hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin. He also received the experimental therapy clazakizumab, which aims to regulate an overreaction by the body’s immune system thought to trigger the respiratory distress seen in severe COVID-19. After the story was published, Lat clarified that he received a fourth therapy, the antiviral Kaletra, not Kevzara, as he had initially recalled.

“The doctors haven’t concluded what caused my recovery,” Lat said. “The state of coronavirus research is very much ‘throw stuff against a wall and see what sticks’ – but when something does stick, in terms of a good patient outcome, you’re not sure what stuck.” Lat’s doctors were not immediately available to comment on his treatment.

Some doctors have been vocal in advocating the drug. Dr Vladimir Zelenko, a general practitioner in upstate New York, has claimed that a three-drug cocktail of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and zinc sulfate has helped mitigate the infection in nearly 200 hundred of his patients before they became sick enough to require hospitalization. His recommendations have attracted the attention of Trump’s supporters. Zelenko wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Despite such encouraging reports, hard evidence that any of the therapies now under study will work is weeks and possibly months way.

Early, but mixed, data has emerged from COVID-19 trials of the malaria drugs in China. A research team in Marseilles, France, has published data showing that out of 80 mild COVID-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, 93 percent had no detectable levels of the virus after eight days.

Doctors have questioned the value of the Marseille study and several papers from China as being too small or poorly designed to offer hard evidence of benefit. Most do not compare outcomes of patients who received the malaria therapies with people who did not, considered the most reliable measure of a drug’s effectiveness. Last week, doctors in Paris reported that they tried to replicate the results of the Marseille study and failed. Results from a trial conducted in Wuhan, China, were released that included a control group of patients who did not receive the anti-malarial therapy for comparison. But critics questioned why information on the trial’s main goal — detecting viral load — was not disclosed, and said data was missing for some patients. More rigorous U.S.-led trials are now underway. But most focus on whether the drugs can help prevent illness in people exposed to the coronavirus, such as healthcare workers or relatives of confirmed patients, and not people who are already sick. Randomized, controlled trials of the drugs are being conducted in other countries, including China, Brazil and Norway.

Until the evidence is in, “each institution is setting their own treatment guidelines,” said Dr Otto Yang, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. “There is simply no data,” he said. “It is a matter of opinion, and opinions differ.”

GAME-CHANGER?

Trump is deeply invested in the idea that the malaria drugs will show a benefit, and personally pressured federal health officials to make them available, Reuters reported on Saturday. The president announced on Twitter last month that hydroxychloroquine, when combined with azithromycin, has the potential to become “one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.”

 

 

 

 

Dying Patient’s Last Question

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Dr. Derrick Smit shares the final words from one of his COVID-19 patients as he struggled for his last breath, “Who’s going to pay for it?”

This doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world. Only in America.

During a Pandemic, an Unanticipated Problem: Out-of-Work Health Workers

https://www.yahoo.com/news/during-pandemic-unanticipated-problem-health-150355070.html

Jordan Schachtel on Twitter: "The people at The New York Times are ...

As hospitals across the country brace for an onslaught of coronavirus patients, doctors, nurses and other health care workers — even in emerging hot spots — are being furloughed, reassigned or told they must take pay cuts.

The job cuts, which stretch from Massachusetts to Nevada, are a new and possibly urgent problem for a business-oriented health care system whose hospitals must earn revenue even in a national crisis. Hospitals large and small have canceled many elective services — often under state government orders — as they prepare for the virus, sending revenues plummeting.

That has left trained health care workers sidelined, even in areas around Detroit and Washington, where infection rates are climbing, and even as hard-hit hospitals are pleading for help.

“I’m 46. I’ve never been on unemployment in my life,” said Casey Cox, who three weeks ago worked two jobs, one conducting sleep research at the University of Michigan and another as a technician at the St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea Hospital near Ann Arbor, Michigan. Within a week, he had lost both.

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York has begged doctors and other medical workers from around the country to come to the city to help in areas where the coronavirus is overwhelming hospitals.

“Unless there is a national effort to enlist doctors, nurses, hospital workers of all kinds and get them where they are needed most in the country in time, I don’t see, honestly, how we’re going to have the professionals we need to get through this crisis,” de Blasio said Friday morning on MSNBC.

And the Department of Veterans Affairs is scrambling to hire health care workers for its government-run hospitals, especially in hard-hit New Orleans and Detroit, where many staff members have fallen ill. The department moved to get a federal waiver to hire retired medical workers to beef up staff levels.

But even as some hospitals are straining to handle the influx of coronavirus patients, empty hospital beds elsewhere carry their own burden.

“We’re in trouble,” said Gene Morreale, the chief executive of Oneida Health Hospital in upstate New York, which has not yet seen a surge in coronavirus patients.

Governors in dozens of states have delivered executive orders or guidelines directing hospitals to stop nonurgent procedures and surgeries to various degrees. Last month, the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Jerome M. Adams, also implored hospitals to halt elective procedures.

That has left many health systems struggling to survive.

Next week, Morreale said, Oneida will announce that it is putting 25% to 30% of its employees on involuntary furlough. They will have access to their health insurance through June. Physicians and senior staff at the hospital have taken a 20% pay cut.

“We’ve been here 121 years, and I’m hoping we’re still there on the other side of this,” Morreale said.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare, a 13-hospital system in eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia, has seen a 30% decrease in its overall business because of a decline in patient volume and services related to the pandemic. Last week, the hospital system announced it would furlough about 8% of its workforce — around 500 employees.

Hospital executives across the country are cutting pay while also trying to repurpose employees for other jobs.

At Intermountain Healthcare, which operates 215 clinics and 24 hospitals in Utah, Idaho and Nevada, about 600 of the 2,600 physicians, physicians assistants and registered nurses who are compensated based on volume will see their pay dip by about 15%, said Daron Cowley, a company spokesman.

Those reductions are tied to the drop in procedures, which has fallen significantly for some specialties, he said. The organization is working to preserve employment as much as possible, in part by trying to deploy 3,000 staff members into new roles.

“You have an endoscopy tech right now that may be deployed to be at hospital entrances” where they would take the temperatures of people coming in, Cowley explained.

In Boston, a spokesman for Partners HealthCare, with 12 hospitals, including Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s, said staff members whose work has decreased are being deployed to other areas or will be paid for up to eight weeks if no work is available.

But redeployment is not always an option. Janet Conway, a spokeswoman for Cape Fear Valley Health System in Fayetteville, North Carolina, said many of the company’s operating room nurses trained in specialized procedures have been furloughed because their training did not translate to other roles.

“Those OR nurses, many have never worked as a floor nurse,” she said.

Conway said nearly 300 furloughed staff members have the option to use their paid time off, but beyond that, the furlough would be unpaid. Most employees are afforded 25 days per year.

Some furloughed hospital workers are likely to be asked to return as the number of coronavirus cases rise in their communities. But the unpredictable virus has offered little clarity and left hospitals, like much of the economy, in a free fall.

Many health systems are making direct cuts to their payrolls, eliminating or shrinking performance bonuses and prorating paychecks to mirror reduced workload until operations stabilize.

Scott Weavil, a lawyer in California who counsels physicians and other health care workers on employment contracts, said he was hearing from doctors across the country who were being asked to take pay cuts of 20% to 70%.

The requests are coming from hospital administrators or private physician groups hired by the hospitals, he said, and are essentially new contracts that doctors are being asked to sign.

Many of the contracts do not say when the cuts might end, and are mostly affecting doctors who are not treating coronavirus patients on the front lines, such as urologists, rheumatologists, bariatric surgeons, obstetricians and gynecologists.

Such doctors are still being asked to work — often in a decreased capacity — yet may be risking their health going into hospitals and clinics.

“It’s just not sitting well,” Weavil said, noting that he tells doctors they unfortunately have few options if they want to work for their institution long term.

“If you fight this pay cut, administration could write your name down and remember that forever,” he said he tells them.

In other cases, physicians are continuing to find opportunities to practice in a more limited capacity, like telemedicine appointments. But that has not eliminated steep pay cuts.

“Physicians are only paid in our clinic based on their productivity in the work they do,” said Dr. Pam Cutler, the president of Western Montana Clinic in Missoula. “So they’re automatically taking a very significant — usually greater than 50% or 25% — pay cut just because they don’t have any work.”

In some areas, layoffs have left behind health care workers who worry that they will not be able to find new roles or redeploy their skills.

Cox in Michigan said he was briefly reassigned at his hospital, helping screen and process patients coming in with coronavirus symptoms, but eventually the people seeking reassignments outgrew the number of roles.

He also expressed concern that inevitable changes in the health care industry after the pandemic — paired with the possibility of a lengthy period of unemployment — could make it difficult to get his job back.

“I’m just concerned that the job I got laid off from may not be there when this is over,” Cox said. “The longer you’re away, the more you worry, ‘Am I going to be able to come back?’ So there’s a lot of anxiety about it.”

Even as many of the largest hospital networks grapple with sudden financial uncertainty, much smaller practices and clinics face a more immediate threat.

According to a statistical model produced by HealthLandscape and the American Academy of Family Physicians, by the end of April, nearly 20,000 family physicians could be fully out of work, underemployed or reassigned elsewhere, particularly as cities like New York consider large-scale, emergency reassignments of physicians.

“Many of these smaller practices were living on a financial edge to start with, so they’re not entering into this in a good position at all,” said Dr. Gary Price, the president of the Physicians Foundation. “Their margins are narrower, their patients don’t want to come in, and many of them shouldn’t anyway, so their cash flow has been severely impacted and their overhead really hasn’t.”

 

 

 

Already Taxed Health Care Workers Not ‘Immune’ From Layoffs And Less Pay

Already Taxed Health Care Workers Not ‘Immune’ From Layoffs And Less Pay

Already Taxed Health Care Workers Not 'Immune' From Layoffs And ...

Just three weeks ago, Dr. Kathryn Davis worried about the coronavirus, but not about how it might affect her group of five OB-GYNs who practice at a suburban hospital outside Boston.

“In medicine we think we’re relatively immune from the economy,” Davis said. “People are always going to get sick; people are always going to need doctors.”

Then, two weeks ago, she watched her practice revenue drop 50% almost overnight after Massachusetts officials told doctors and hospitals to stop performing elective tests and procedures. For Davis, that meant no more non-urgent gynecological visits and screenings.

Late last week, as Davis and her partners absorbed the stunning turn of events, they devised a stopgap plan. The 35 nurses, medical assistants and secretaries they employ would have two options: move from full-time to part-time status or start collecting unemployment. Doctors in the practice would take a substantial pay cut. Davis said she’s hearing from colleagues who may have to permanently close their offices if the focus on crisis-level care continues for months.

“It’s shocking,” she said. “Everyone has been blindsided.”

Atrius Health, the largest independent physician group in Massachusetts, said patient volume is down 75% since mid-March. It is temporarily closing offices, placing many nonclinical employees on furlough and withholding pay for those who remain. The average withholding is 20%, and the company pledges that pay withheld will be returned. The lowest-paid workers, those earning up to $55,000, are exempt.

“What we’re trying to do is piece together a solution to get through the crisis and keep employed as many people as we can,” said Dr. Steven Strongwater, Atrius Health’s CEO.

Atrius cares for 745,000 patients in clinics that often include primary care, specialists, radiology and a pharmacy under one roof.

Strongwater said physician groups must be included when the federal government distributes $100 billion to hospitals from the $2 trillion stimulus package.

It’s not clear if that money will stop the tide of layoffs and lost pay at hospitals as well as in doctor’s offices. A Harvard Medical School physician group will suspend retirement contributions starting April 1.

Beth Israel Lahey Health, the second-largest hospital network in Massachusetts, announced executive pay cuts Monday.

“The suspension of elective procedures and decline in visits to our primary care practices and urgent care centers have resulted in financial challenges,” wrote CEO Dr. Kevin Tabb in an email to employees. Tabb said he would take a 50% salary cut. Other executives and hospital presidents in the system will forgo 20% of their salaries for the next three months.

“Although executive leadership compensation is being reduced, we will never compromise on doing the things that are essential to protect your safety and the safety of our patients,” Tabb told staff.

Dallas-based Steward Health Care has told hospital employees in Massachusetts and eight other states where it operates to expect furloughs focused on nonclinical staff. In a statement, Steward Health Care said it prepared for the pandemic but is experiencing a “seismic financial shock.”

“Elective surgeries are the cornerstone of our hospital system’s operating model — and the negative impact due to the cancellations of these procedures cannot be overstated. In addition, patients are understandably cautious and choosing to defer any nonemergency treatments or routine visits until this crisis has passed.”

Dr. Kaarkuzhali Babu Krishnamurthy, an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School who studies medical ethics, said employers need to think more carefully about the ethics of asking doctors and nurses to live on less when many are working longer hours and putting the health of their families at risk.

“At a time when health care systems are calling on doctors and nurses to do more, this is not the time to be making it more difficult to do that,” said Krishnamurthy.

There’s talk of redeploying laid-off health care workers to new COVID-19 units opening in shuttered hospitals or to patient overflow sites. Tim Foley, executive vice president for the largest health care union in Massachusetts, 1199SEIU, is promoting the development of a staff registry.

“It is more important, now more than ever, to explore all options to maintain the level of urgent care needed across the state and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to do just that,” Foley said in an email.