This week in Insider News, we're sharing Massachusetts' nursing home reforms, a telehealth study from J.D. Power, and research that shows the impact of COVID-19 on kindergarteners' reading ability.
The Baker administration implemented a second round of reforms at the state's long-term care facilities, including a requirement that all nursing home staff get a flu vaccine by the end of the year. Under the order, only staff with medical or religious exemptions can opt out of the flu shot.
The latest reforms require nursing homes to reduce or eliminate rooms with more than two residents to improve infection control. There will be increased scrutiny over homes that create isolation spaces for COVID-19-positive patients discharged from hospitals. The state is also providing up to $140 million in additional funding for the facilities and restructuring Medicaid rates.
According to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Telehealth Satisfaction Study,SM patients feel highly satisfied with the telehealth services they've received. Even still, the study found areas for improvement around access and technology issues.
Key findings include:
- Overall, customer satisfaction for telehealth scored 860 on a 1,000-point scale. This is among the highest across all health care, insurance, and financial services industry studies conducted by J.D. Power.
- More than half of telehealth users report encountering one barrier to accessing telehealth, including limited services (24%); confusing technology requirements (17%); and lack of awareness of cost (15%).
- 35% say they experienced a problem with a telehealth visit, primarily tech audio issues.
- Of those who used telehealth this year, 46% say it was for safety reasons.
In a paper released earlier this month Xue Bao, a speech pathology doctoral researcher at the MGH Institute of Health Professions, and her colleagues predicted a significant impact on kindergarden students' reading ability due to school closings during COVID-19.
According to their research, these students may have lost one-third of the reading skills they would have learned in school. Their ability to learn them now may also take more time.
However, there are ways for parents to offset these losses. Reading to kids for 15 to 20 minutes a day, giving them books, and playing audiobooks can all help children maintain their reading abilities.