department of health and human services

More than 1,000 hospitals across the United States are "critically" short on staff, according to numbers released this week by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Those hospitals, which span all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, represent about 18% of all hospitals that report their staffing status to HHS. And that number is expected to grow: 21% of all hospitals reporting say they anticipate having critical staffing shortages in the next week.

Key government policies on religious freedom and discrimination, once set through legislation, are increasingly dictated by presidential orders, meaning they shift capriciously from one administration to the next.

Updated 2:50 p.m. ET Wednesday

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will no longer pay for some safety measures related to COVID-19 that it had previously covered.

Keith Turi, FEMA assistant administrator for recovery, announced the changes during a call Tuesday with state and tribal emergency managers, many of whom expressed concerns about the new policy.

Updated Thursday at 4:55 p.m. ET

The Trump administration has stirred confusion and concern by rewriting its guidelines for coronavirus testing. Public health experts fear the revised guidelines will lead to less testing – something the president has repeatedly asked for — but the administration denies that.

State officials and federal agencies warn there's a new phone scam circulating: Callers posing as COVID-19 contact tracers are trying to pry credit card or bank account information from unsuspecting victims.

The grifters apparently are taking advantage of a genuine public health intervention that is crucial to stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus: contact tracing.

The federal government has reached a $1.95 billion deal with Pfizer to acquire 100 million doses of its vaccine candidate against the coronavirus if the Food and Drug Administration OKs it. The vaccine would be free to Americans, according to the deal, though health care providers could charge to administer it.

A coalition of LGBTQ clinics and organizations are suing to block a Trump administration rule that aims to strip "sex discrimination" protections for transgender people from laws that govern health care. The rule, issued in final form by the Department of Health and Human Services on June 12, is distinct from last week's landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that bars discrimination against LGBTQ people in the workplace.

Psychiatrist Philip Muskin is quarantined at home in New York City because he's been feeling a little under the weather and doesn't want to expose anyone to whatever he has. But he continues to see his patients the only way he can: over the phone.

48states, Wikimedia Commons

Fort Knox will not receive child immigrants, despite being mentioned by lawmakers, including Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Kentucky 3rd District Representative John Yarmuth issued a statement Monday stating the Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed it is not considering Fort Knox for housing of children fleeing violence south of the border. The Depart of Defense had submitted Fort Knox as a site large enough to house the immigrants, but HHS has final say.

www.education.ky.gov

Kentucky officials say they want to make the state's voluntary rating system for childcare facilities mandatory and they will have help in the amount of $44 million to do it.

That’s the amount of money Kentucky won as part of the federal government’s Race to the Top grant competition for early childhood education. It's the third round of such funding provided by the the U.S. Department of Education with help from the Department of Health and Human Services.