CHA Comments on Rising Cases of RSV
"Children's hospitals are currently experiencing higher volumes of patients and many are at or beyond capacity. However, long before this fall, children's hospitals saw annual surges in RSV cases," said Children Hospital Association's CEO Mark Wietecha. "The continued influx of patients in the emergency departments seeking care for the flu, RSV and other pulmonary infections, as well as the continued mental and behavioral health crises coupled with the growing medical workforce crisis—we simply do not have enough pediatric specialists to staff the beds in our children's hospitals.
"The trend for 2022 is following the 2021 pandemic-related pattern with respiratory incidence rates rising earlier than usual, beginning this past summer, and running ahead of prior pre-pandemic levels by 50%. This current trend brings national pediatric RSV volumes into last year's range and is already causing capacity issues in most markets.
"While immediate steps such as temporary tents and structures to create more patient capacity outside the children's hospitals, as well as the engagement of first responders and clinical volunteers will help, we cannot create immediate adequate pediatric capacity under current pediatric hospital, workforce and financial constraints, including the continued low Medicaid reimbursement rates. Children's hospitals and their dedicated staff are doing their part but improving our medical surge response for all pandemic and viral seasons requires having better national plans in place. The solution is a continued partnership between our hospitals, state, local and federal governments. We are already working with the administration during this challenging time so we can help children in need of our care. Congress and the administration can act swiftly to help our pediatric patients now and long term and help avoid these surges in the future."