Health Workforce Shortages

Information on how the COVID-19 pandemic is creating workforce shortages, as well as organizational efforts to recruit and retain their workforce.

(08/23/22) Podcast: Ann Nguyen on Practicing Across State Lines in An Emergency
Ann Nguyen from Rutgers University discusses overcoming interstate licensing barriers for healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic on Health Affairs’ A Health Podyssey podcast. Nguyen is the co-author of the paper Impact Of The New Jersey COVID-19 Temporary Emergency Reciprocity Licensure Program On Health Care Workforce Supply.

(08/22/22) Why Immigration Falls Short As a Nursing Home Workforce Solution — And How to Fix It
Current immigration policies are impacting the recovery and potential growth of the nursing workforce exponentially. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the nursing home sector has lost 229,000 caregivers. The nursing industry is struggling to acquire international nurses and other staff because of the lengthy approval process and time it takes to become certified in the US. A solution proposed to help speed up and simplify this process is to create a separate streamlined immigration track for health care workers. There is also a call for comprehensive immigration reform in 2023.

(08/18/22) Removing Licensure Barriers for Immigrant Health Workers to be a Priority for Maryland Lawmakers Next Session
Maryland lawmakers may have legislation before them in the 2023 session that would remove the social security number requirement for immigrant health workers to receive licensure from occupational boards. Currently immigrant health care workers, despite having the educational and certification qualifications, are currently banned from licensure due to lack of a social security number. Furthermore, barring immigrants from obtaining licensure does not align with other state policies that provide immigrants who are not yet citizens assistance for health education and training programs such as in-state tuition and legislative scholarships. Additionally, some lawmakers see eliminating the social security number requirement as a way to bolster the health workforce and offset shortages.

(08/10/2022) Grim Long-term Care Forecast: 4 More Years Until Workforce Recovers If Help Doesn’t Arrive
According to a report released Monday by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, despite reports of recent monthly gains in the number of long-term care employees, full recovery of the workforce could drag on until 2026 without substantive new assistance. The report also noted that the industry has lost more than 362,000 employees during the pandemic, with 223,700 of those from nursing homes. Among the suggestions made, some were- the need for federal officials to prioritize long-term care with solutions such as student loan forgiveness, CNA to LPN to RN scholarships, and grants to both long-term care operators and universities to provide incentives to create formal partnerships and payment for tuition, a pathway for temporary nurse aids to become certified nurse aids and need for policymakers and stakeholders to work together to address the root causes of the staffing challenges in nursing homes.(

08/09/2022) Hospitals and Health Systems Add Almost 13,000 Jobs in July
Hospitals and health systems added 12,900 jobs in July, while U.S. jobs overall increased by 528,000, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hospital employment remains over 40,000 below its March 2020 peak but has grown in 19 of the past 28 months for a slow-but-steady job recovery. Total health care jobs grew by 69,600 in July to a seasonally adjusted 16.4 million. While these numbers are promising, hospitals and health systems continue to face workforce pressures and inflationary costs that far exceed revenue growth as the nation recovers from the pandemic.

(08/09/2022) HHS Invests Nearly $60 Million to Address Workforce Shortages and
Increase Access to Health Care in Rural Communities
The Health Resources and Services Administration recently awarded $45.7 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to develop the public health workforce in rural and tribal communities. The grants will help train dental hygienists, medical and dental assistants, doulas and other community health workers; health information technology and telehealth technical support staff; community paramedical workers; and respiratory therapists and care coordinators for patients with long-term COVID-19 effects and chronic medical conditions. In addition to the ARPA grants, the agency awarded $9.7 million to help hospitals and others establish new medical residency programs in rural communities; $2.9 million to improve health outcomes in rural counties; and nearly $1 million to improve access to care for rural veterans.

(08/08/2022) CMS Enhances Nursing Home Rating System With Staffing and Turnover Data
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently launched its enhanced “Nursing Home Five-Star Quality Rating System” which integrates data nursing homes report on their weekend staffing rates for nurses and information on annual turnover among nurses and administrators. CMS research shows that higher nurse turnover is associated with lower quality of care. Nurses who have worked at a facility longer are more likely to know residents well enough to recognize small health changes and act before they become larger issues. Similarly, administrators with longer tenures help create stable leadership which can lead to more consistent policies and protocols that are tailored to better serve residents. In January, CMS began posting weekend staffing and turnover rates on Medicare’s Care Compare website. The agency is now incorporating that information into the consumer-friendly Nursing Home Five-Star Quality Rating System. Through this enhancement, CMS will hold facilities to a higher standard and incentivize more robust staffing by strengthening personnel’s impact on overall star ratings.

(08/03/2022) New Data and Dashboards: PH WINS Survey of Public Health Workers
The de Beaumont Foundation announced that the 2021 Public Health Workforce Interest and Needs Survey (PH WINS) survey data and accompanying interactive dashboards have been released. The dashboards give a glimpse of the state of the public healthcare workforce amidst the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. The dashboards include demographics, training needs, intent to leave, job satisfaction, and overall well being for over 45,000 respondents. In March the preliminary findings from the survey were published in the research brief “The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Rising Stress and Burnout in Public Health.”

(07/28/22) Side Hustle or Exit Path? How COVID-19 Shifted the Side Gig Landscape for Nurses 
Pre-pandemic it was common for nurses, with their condensed work schedules, to have a paid or volunteer side gig on their days off. For some inflation and low wages have made that side gig a necessity, but many nurses are increasingly using a side gig to offset the increased mental and physical toll from the COVID-19 pandemic. Side gigs have become a way for nurses to reduce their bedside hours, but still practice nursing. Others take on side gigs with hopes of building business or a revenue stream that will eventually allow them to leave nursing altogether.

(07/28/2022) To Grow the Mental Health Workforce, Pay for Care Delivered by
According to an article published in Health Affairs, in order to tackle the mental health workforce shortage which is causing the longstanding crisis of inadequate access to mental health care, the trainees need to be paid for the care delivered. The current shortage of psychiatrists in the US is 6500, which HRSA predicted to grow up to 13000 by 2030, similar to the shortage of psychologists, which is predicted to be 14000 by 2030. The article suggested a slew of reforms such as supporting educators who develop these professionals, bringing billing rules for psychotherapy (talk therapy) provided by trainees on par with the billing rules for trainees in other medical specialties, requiring all payers to reimburse bedside clinical teaching using a service modifier on the mental health code billed by a teaching practice and pursuing workforce policy through payment reform, as opposed to grants, which ensures the policies are sustainable and scalable. The article also calls upon the Congress to build the financial arena in which training programs can thrive, existing programs can expand and new programs can come up.

(07/27/22) Rob Peter to Pay Paul’: How Hospitals Are Grappling With Staffing Shortages
Amidst a surge in COVID-19 related hospitalizations, many hospitals are simultaneously preparing for potential surges caused by the BA.5 subvariant and mitigating critical staffing shortages. As of July 2022, hospitals in almost 40 states reported critical staff shortages leaving many hospitals scrambling for short-term solutions. Many are re-evaluating services, including testing all patients for Covid-19 and shifting staff to critical areas. The challenges of health workforce shortages also are extending to public healthcare. According to The Center for Disease Control, the results of a survey of public healthcare workers shows that 26.9% of respondents said they were thinking of leaving within the next year and 44.2% said they were thinking about leaving or retiring in the next five years.

(07/25/22) Up Next for Patient Safety: The Great Resignation (Podcast)
The National Patient Safety Board’s podcast host Karen Wolk Feinstein discusses “The Great Registration” with Dr. Christine Sinsky, vice president of professional satisfaction at the American Medical Association and nursing leader Dr. Terry Fulmer, president of The John A. Harford foundation. They discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the health workforce and if the resulting exodus of experienced providers is a risk to patient safety.

(07/25/22) Survey Flags Public Health Worker Exodus Due in Part to COVID-19 Impact
According to findings from a 2021 survey published on July 22, 2022, in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), over 40% of the US public health workforce plans to leave their jobs within the next 5 years, and 51% said more staff were needed to respond to COVID-19. The survey was conducted by researchers from the de Beaumont Foundation and the University of Minnesota, who collected responses to the online 2021 Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS) of state and local governmental public health agency workers participating in the Big Health Cities Coalition and a national sample of local health departments from September 2021 to January 2022. In response to being asked what was needed to respond to COVID-19, in addition to funding, 51% cited more staff, followed by more support from the community (30%) and elected leaders (26%).

(07/25/22) Hospitals Struggle With Staff Shortages As Federal COVID Funds Run Out
Hospitals in the US are dealing with severe staffing shortages which are making it difficult to prepare for a potential COVID-19 surge in the fall and the new BA.5 subvariant. As of July 22, nearly 40 states have reported critical staffing shortages and patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has risen over 40% in the last month.. This comes as federal funding for COVID-19 is starting to run out, leaving hospitals with less flexibility to hire new staff. Hospital staffing shortages will continue to be a long-term issue. America’s resistance to preventive measures like social distancing and masking will also lead to more hospitalizations and stress the health care system even more than it currently is.

(07/21/22) Opinion: There’s a Dire Shortage of Nurses Across the US There’s Also an Overlooked Solution
The Covid-19 pandemic elevated an existing nursing shortage to critical levels and looking to newly-trained nurses to offset the shortages is an overlooked solution. There is demand for a nursing education. In 2020, while overall enrollment at universities increased slightly, over 66,000 qualified applicants for bachelor of nursing programs were rejected because institutions lack the resources to meet the increased demand. Providing specialized facilities and equipment, recruiting qualified instructors, and finding clinical training placements are significant barriers for institutions expanding enrollment. The Future Advancement of Academic Nursing (FAAN) Act that would help ease the costs associated with providing a nursing education by awarding funding to nursing schools, minority-serving institutions, and medically underserved communities to improve education programs. The authors also call for congress to expand an existing program that provides funding for clinical placements for graduate nurse education and to fund the National Health Care Workforce Commission.

(7/18/22) As US Covid Hospitalizations Climb, a Chronic Nursing Shortage Is Worsening
According to an article published in The New York Times, there is a chronic shortage of nurses amidst steadily increasing hospitalizations owing to coronavirus in the past few weeks. The daily average number of people in hospitals who are infected with the coronavirus now exceeds 39,000, the highest it has been since March. This rise is largely driven by the rapidly spreading Omicron subvariant BA.5, which is best at evading some antibodies. The chronic shortage of nurses has been at an “all-time high” according to some. The critical shortage levels are even more challenging in rural areas. There is a turnover rate of 25 to 30 percent, the highest we have seen in decades. Demand for nurses is projected to keep growing significantly in the United States, while the demand for travel nurses, which climbed to record high in 2021, after receding earlier this year, is rising steadily again.

(07/13/22) Confronting Health Worker Burnout and Well-Being
The new New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) perspective piece examines the causes of burnout in the health workforce and systemic shortfalls that have exacerbated this issue. The article also looks at several ways to better improve the well-being of health workers, including reducing administrative burdens, increasing access to mental health care, strengthening public investments in public health, and building a culture that supports well being.

(7/12/22) HHS Awards Over $155 Million to Expand Training for Primary Care Residents in Underserved and Rural Communities
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently announced $135 million in awards in American Rescue Plan funds, $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 relief package into law by the President early in the administration, to support existing and new teaching health centers to support additional resident positions and $20 million in Fiscal Year 2022 funds to support existing Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education residency programs to continue resident training in the upcoming academic year. HRSA’s Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program focuses on supporting residents in primary care residency training programs to meet the medical and mental health care needs of rural and underserved communities. The recipients of the award are 72 teaching health centers that operate primary care medical residency programs which include psychiatry and dental residency programs. Increasing the number of primary care residents training in community health centers and other outpatient community clinics is a key part of the current administration’s plan to address long standing health inequities in the most vulnerable communities. During the pandemic, the community health centers and hospitals across the country, cared for COVID-19 patients, supported the mental health of their communities, administered COVID-19 tests and lifesaving treatments.

(7/5/22) How Natural Language Processing Can Help Relieve the Healthcare Worker Shortage
The Covid-19 pandemic is a significant contributing factor to the 18 million global healthcare worker shortage predicted by 2030. This article discusses how emerging technologies can potentially serve the needs of healthcare workers by easing administrative burdens. Potential technologies explored include: using algorithms and natural language processing collect relevant medical records, using algorithms to predict patient flow to help determine staffing needs, and leveraging artificial intelligence to identify social determinants of health by geographic area.

(06/30/22) Policy Strategies for Addressing Current Threats to the US Nursing Workforce
An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine prescribes policy strategies for tackling the shortages in the U.S. Nursing Workforce, which is a result of unsafe and stressful work environments in hospitals during the pandemic. The Federal and State policy recommendations are two pronged: preventing the loss of current workforce and increasing the supply of qualified nurses. The recommendations include but are not limited to – rules for safe staffing ratios, penalties for exceeding safe workloads, funding and incentives to improve safety, promoting nursing education through loan forgiveness and investment in nurse education and legislations to remove restrictive regulations.

(06/28/22) Staffing Shortages Have US Nursing Homes in Crisis
A severe staffing crisis has caused nursing home facilities to cut back on new admissions, according to a survey conducted by the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL). Of the 759 nursing home providers surveyed, 61% have limited admissions due to staffing shortages and 73% are afraid they will have to close their facility due to shortages.

(6/27/22) Assisted Living, CCRC Workforce Recovery Among Slowest in Healthcare: NIC
According to a new report from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, assisted living communities, continuing care retirement communities, and skilled nursing facilities are facing among the slowest workforce recovery in healthcare. One positive finding from the report is that assisted living and CCRC sectors saw moderate employment increases (between 0.8% and 1.8%) respectively, but figures still remain well below the pre-pandemic employment levels.

(06/13/22) COVID-19 Pandemic and Physician Burnout: Ramifications for Healthcare Workforce in the United States
This paper published in the Journal of Healthcare Leadership analyzed the possible reasons for physician burnout, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as poor physical and emotional wellbeing, increased healthcare workers’ needs, and diminished labor supply because of quarantining due to seropositivity or staying away from work to provide care to children due to school closures or a sick relative. One of the consequences for the healthcare workforce is that 75% reported being overworked, with 50% considering an employment change during the pandemic, and 25% of women physicians considering early retirement.

(06/13/2022) Stop Workforce Shortages: 3 Ways
As staff shortages nationwide threaten patient access to care, health care leaders express strategies for dealing with the shortages. Strategies discussed in this article include: developing workforce pipelines, creating strong succession planning, and implementing technology including new AI to automate workflow and provide relief to the workforce in order to boost staff morale.

(06/06/2022) State Efforts to Expand the Healthcare Workforce
The National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices announces it will assist the efforts of state governors to increase recruitment and retention of healthcare workers and provide equitable access to medical career pathways. The Next Generation of Healthcare Workforce Learning Collaborative focuses on providing technical assistance to 7 key workforce priority areas including workforce planning data collection and analysis, policy coordination, recruitment and retention, coordinated education and training pathways, and health care workforce redesign.

(06/06/2022) Healthcare Payrolls Recovering, Still Lag Pre-Pandemic Levels
Based May 2022 labor statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Healthcaredive has reported the healthcare industry is experiencing a slow recovery of healthcare jobs lost during the pandemic and continues to operate below pre-pandemic levels of staffing. According to labor statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare sector added 28,000 jobs in May 2022, topping overall sector gains of over 124,000 jobs since January 2022. Hospitals experienced the highest increases of the healthcare subsectors with 16,000 jobs added in May 2022.

(06/05/22 ) ‘We Are Absolutely Destroyed’: Health Workers Facing Burnout, Even as COVID Levels Ease
Even though COVID-19 case numbers are dropping, the workload and stress facing health-care workers has not lessened. After years of increased workloads due to the pandemic, doctors and nurses in Canada and the US are experiencing more burnout and physical exhaustion than they have ever experienced. As a result, some health workers are re-thinking their career options.

(06/02/22) US Health-Care Crisis: Physician Burnout and Shortage
Physician burnout and shortage is a major crisis in the healthcare industry. According to this National Review article, the cause of these shortages is primarily population growth and retirements. Physicians are experiencing burnout for several reasons, including long working hours, extensive electronic medical record-keeping, and the process of prior authorization.

(06/02/22) Most of the COVID-19 Workforce Were Women of Color. What Happens Now As Those Jobs End?
According to experts, women of color conducted the majority of new jobs created by the pandemic (including contact tracing, COVID-19 testing, and vaccination administration). However, as COVID-19 cases decrease and the need for these positions dwindles, the future of this workforce is uncertain. This article interviews several of these women of color who put their lives on the line to help Americans during the height of the pandemic.

(05/31/22) Gender Pay Gap For Registered Nurses Widened During Pandemic
This Health Care Dive article reports that the gender pay gap widened significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Median salaries for male RN’s was $14,000 more than female RN’s in 2021. These reports come as hospitals continue to face staffing issues and trouble recruiting and retaining new staff.

(05/31/22) Doctors, Nurses Risked Their Lives to Battle COVID. Now They’re Facing a Mental Health Crisis
Although COVID-19 hospitalizations have declined, health care workers are facing another crisis, a mental health crisis due to burnout, exhaustion, and workforce shortages. In addition to these issues, early retirement and career changes will likely lead to more nurse and doctor shortages in the near future.

(05/23/22) How to Ease the Nursing Shortage in America
In this report the Center for American Progress (CAP) identifies the causes of the pre-pandemic nursing shortage and the challenges of the profession from the pandemic going forward. Focusing on the nursing higher education pipeline and diversity of the nursing workforce, the report makes a number of policy suggestions that support creating a diverse, trained, and resilient nursing workforce capable of addressing future public healthcare emergencies.(

05/22/22) How Orthopedic Practices Can Get Ahead of Workforce Shortages
The article published in Becker’s Spine Review focuses on the predicted shortage of over 5,000 orthopedic physicians by 2030. Hospitals and healthcare systems, currently facing recruiting and retaining health workforce talent caused by the C0OVID-19 pandemic, will soon be confronted with an increased demand for services from an aging population coupled with decrease in providers from an aging orthopedic physician population that is retiring. Suggestions to mitigate the predicted shortage focus on financial underpinnings and process-oriented workflows.

(05/22/2022) Clinician Shortage Exacerbates Pandemic-Fueled “Mental Health Crisis”
This article examines the driving factors behind clinician shortages and how this issue has contributed to the mental health crisis in the US during the pandemic. The article also discusses ways to increase well- being in the workplace and better recruit and retain the clinician workforce.

(05/13/22) More Men Are Going into Nursing: What about Travel Nursing?
A new Becker’s Hospital Review article investigates whether more male nurses are going into travel nursing. The data is incomplete and “foggy”, so it is hard to determine if this assumption is true. The article also interviews four male nurses about how they chose their career path.

05/12/2022) Resident Physician Wellness Postpandemic—How Does Healing Occur?
This article from JAMA discusses the possible strategies to relieve the increasing emotional exhaustion and occupational stress among resident physicians during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. One possible way is to allow for more personal space, limit work hours, and create a better work life balance.

(05/11/22) Nurse Workforce Shortage Looms as More Nurses May Leave Profession
The 2022 Nursing Salaries Report by found that the pandemic had both positive and negative effects on nursing careers. Of the 2,516 nurses surveyed notable concerns emerge including pay disparities among gender and race and increases to both the percentage of nurses considering changing employers and those who were considering leaving the profession.

(05/11/22) Assessing the Lingering Impact of COVID-19 on the Nursing Workforce
This McKinsey article evaluates the impact COVID-19 has had on the nursing workforce. In particular, the workforce and operational challenges caused by increases in patient demand and the potential gaps in the health care sector in the coming years. Three causes for this are: decreased supply of the RN workforce, increased patient demand due to COVID-19, and increased demands due to the aging population.This article also examines possible solutions and ways to address the problem.

(05/02/22) Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Hospital and Outpatient Clinician Workforce: Challenges and Policy Response
This report from the Office of The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation evaluates the effect of the COVID-19 on the hospital and outpatient clinician workforce. It reports that the total healthcare workforce shortage increased, especially during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that healthcare workers experience burnout, stress, and mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder. It also mentions that the government provided financial support to stabilize the health care delivery system.

(05/02/2022) How AI Is Helping to Address Staffing Shortages in Healthcare
Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to alleviate the burden on overworked health care providers. AI has shown its ability to improve productivity in a variety of domains. This article summarizes cases where hospitals improved their work processes and patient care by automating patient care, enabling predictive resource allocation, and triaging patients.

(04/29/22) AMA Strives for Health Equity, Greater Medical Workforce Diversity
Building on its commitment to tackle healthcare disparities by increasing diversity in the medical workforce, the AMA recently announced a new initiative “In Full Health Learning and Action Community to Advance Equitable Health Innovation.” The initiative assists healthcare organizations in ensuring their investments in healthcare technologies focus on improving healthcare equality.

(04/28/22) Amid Shortages and Burnout, Could Adding More Men Ease the Nation’s Nursing Woes?
For 2021-2022 Federal data shows the number of registered nurses dropped by about 2%. Increasing the number of male nurses would offset workforce shortages and improve healthcare provider diversity. Despite nursing programs seeing a 3.3% increase in program enrollment in 2021; males account for 14% of students enrolled in nursing programs. In 2021 just 13.3% of registered nurses were male. During the pandemic the increased attention to nursing and its opportunities may result in more males pursuing nursing as a career but the stereotype of nurses being female is a challenge that must be overcome. While the data shows small gains, it is unclear if the interest in nursing by males will be enough to offset the losses that the pandemic dealt to the nursing workforce.

(04/19/22) Recent Survey Shows Primary Care Practices are Overwhelmed, With 1 in 4 Clinicians Planning to Leave Within the Next Three Years
A recent study from the L.A. Green Center and the Primary Care Collaborative finds that 25% of primary care clinicians plan to leave within 3 years. This study comes at a difficult time for primary care clinicians who are struggling to meet patient needs during the pandemic, dealing with clinician burnout, and facing delayed access to care. 46% of survey respondents feel that “primary care is crumbling” and 53% feel that their ability to overcome adversity and recover is limited, which increased from 29% in 2020.

(04/18/22) What’s Driving Turnover in Health Care During COVID-19?
In a recent video interview with HCPLive, Researcher Bianca Frogner from the University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies discussed findings from her team’s research including, turnover rates among long term care facility workers in 2021.

(04/13/22) A Worrisome Drop in The Number of Young Nurses
Although registered nurses (RN) have seen increased growth in the US since the 1970’s, a new study in Health Affairs finds that RN growth during the pandemic “plateaued during the first 15 months.” Reasons for the RN lack of growth in the last year possibly include: pandemic burnout, staffing shortages due to COVID-19, and early retirements, among others. A major concern from the data presented, covering all of 2021, is that RN’s have decreased more than 100,000 in one year– a significant drop from anytime over the last forty years.

(04/11/22) Governor Hochul Announces Historic $20 Billion Multi-year Healthcare Investment in FY 2023 Budget
Governor Kathy Hochul of New York announced a $20 billion multi-year investment in healthcare in the Fiscal Year 2023 State Budget. Improving working conditions for healthcare workers will be a priority, with $1.2 billion set aside for frontline healthcare worker bonuses and a multi-year investment of $4.5 billion in payment reform. Other investments include $2.4 billion to improve healthcare infrastructure and $3.9 billion to assist hospitals suffering financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

(04/04/22) Nursing Facility Staffing Shortages During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This analysis examines nursing facility staffing shortages during the pandemic by looking at recent national and state level data (from May 2020 through March 20, 2022). This article also describes the Biden Administration’s recent policy initiatives to deal with staffing concerns in nursing facilities.

(03/31/22) Pandemic Funding Is Running Out for Community Health Workers
This jointly-published article from Kaiser Health News and U.S. News & World Report covers the current funding situation of community health workers, positioned as essential for delivering President Biden’s public health agenda and supported by pandemic relief funding. Much of the funding intended for community health workers was spent elsewhere, and funding is currently running out.

(03/23/22) California Delays Tighter Rules for Travel Nurses
California has extended the deadline by which out-of-state nurses will not be allowed to work in the state without a California nursing license, according to the state board of registered nursing. The original expiration date was March 31 but the new proposed deadline is June 30, or the end of the state of emergency or when the executive order is rescinded, according to the Emergency Medical Services Authority.

(03/18/22) VA Seeks Higher Pay Caps for More Health Care Workers to Address High Turnover Rates
Faced with thousands of job vacancies and a high turnover rate among its health care employees, the Department of Veterans Affairs is asking Congress to increase pay caps for more occupations and reduce onboarding requirements. The RAISE Act was passed as part of the fiscal 2022 omnibus funding bill. It will establish higher pay caps for VA registered nurses and physician assistants. The Veterans Health Administration continues to urge federal legislators to adopt legislation increasing the salary limitations for other occupations.

(03/18/22) Nursing Facility Staffing Shortages During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation covers the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on nursing facility staffing, as nursing facilities experienced deeper shortages and turnover. These issues were already long-standing pre-pandemic, and have only been made worse as the pandemic continued. The brief measures from May 2020 until February 2022.

(03/16/22) Hospitals Face Severe Pharmacy Technician Shortage, Surveys Show
Nearly 1 in 10 organizations are reporting they had lost at least 41 percent of pharmacy technicians, according to a new study from American Society of Health System Pharmacists. In addition to the study finding that pharmacy technicians are in short supply at hospitals and health systems, the study also found that a majority of pharmacy administrators reported turnover rates of at least 21 percent in 2021.

(03/16/22) Hospitals to Lean on More Expensive Travel Nurses Even After COVID
The use of travel nurses in hospitals to fill workforce gaps will continue after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, according to a new Bloomberg News report. In a tight labor market, organizations are struggling to fill job vacancies. Many hospitals and health systems are paying extra to retain and recruit workers. High housing costs are also preventing some health workers from taking healthcare jobs. Experts claim that demand for travel nurses will continue as long as the current workforce gaps exist.

(03/10/22) Nurses Are Waiting Months for Licenses as Hospital Staffing Shortages Spread
A New NPR report finds that hospitals and health systems in the US are making efforts to quickly increase staffing and fill workforce gaps, but nurses are still waiting months for licenses’ from states to begin treating patients. NPR made an analysis of licensing records in 32 states based on nursing board records for more than 226,000 registered nurses and licensed practical nurses issued new, permanent licenses last year. The study found that 1 in 10 nurses who received new licenses from nursing boards in 2021, waited 6 months or longer. More than one-third of the nurses waited at least three months.

(03/06/22) Two Years Into the Pandemic, Healthcare Workers Reflect on the Challenges and Rewarding Moments
Another COVID-19 wave is sweeping across hospitals. Despite the fact that Omicron cases are declining, staffing shortages continue to impose strain on health-care systems. This article contains interviews with doctors and nurses who describe how the two-year pandemic has affected them. Thousands of healthcare employees are quitting from their jobs. As baby boomers retire, nurses are departing, causing severe shortages in hospitals and nursing school programs.

(02/28/22) Many Mass Hospitals Are Short-staffed. The Culprit May Not Be a Shortage of Nurses
Although many Massachusetts hospitals are short staffed, there are more licensed nurses now in almost every category than before the COVID-19 pandemic. The shortage is not because of lack of nurse but lack of nurses willing to work under the current pandemic conditions. Retaining nurses and addressing burnout is now a top priority.

(02/28/22) Hospitals Turn to International Nurses to Fill Staffing Gaps
Hospitals nationwide are filling nursing shortages and staffing strain experienced by the COVID-19 pandemic, by bringing in foreign workers. As of January 24 in the US, around 1,000 nurses were arriving monthly from African nations. The American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment reported on February 11 that thousands of foreign-born nurses are waiting on visas so they can start jobs in the US.

(02/22/22) Virginia Gov Youngkin Signs Order Addressing Health Care Staffing Issues
On February 21, 2022, Virginia Governor’s Executive Order 16 went into effect. In order to address staffing shortages, it temporarily suspends various restrictions for hospitals and healthcare facilities. To combat COVID-19, the order would provide more flexibility to hospitals, health systems, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, certified nursing facilities, and other health care providers. Many guidelines are included in the order, such as provisions for telehealth support, recognizing out-of-state health care workers, and increasing hospital bed capacity.

(02/16/22) Michigan to Spend $1.2B to Fight COVID-19, Address Health Care Worker Shortage
Michigan’s governor signed legislation authorizing $1.2 billion in COVID-19 relief efforts. Part of the fund will be spent on health care staffing, COVID-19 testing in schools, and improving laboratory testing procedures. This new law comes amid four local hospitals calling in the National Guard for staffing support.

(02/13/22) ‘A Real Crisis’: License Backlogs in Some States Prevent Health-care Workers From Seeing Patients
Health care workers from New York and Wisconsin are facing license delays, which is preventing them from entering the workforce in certain states and seeing patients. The delays are putting further strain on the health workforce which is facing staff shortages and mental health issues during the prolonged pandemic. These issues are also affecting patients’ ability to get care.

(02/11/22) For Travel Nurses, Jobs at Home Can’t Come Close to Pay They Get on the Road
Travel nurses are finding more lucrative opportunities away from home. Although some hospitals are paying large sums to traveling nurses filling in staffing gaps, many hospitals require RNs to accept full time positions. The wages the hospitals are offering do no come close to the more than $120 an hour a travel nurses can make.

(02/10/22) In Rural America, Patients Are Waiting for Care — Sometimes With Deadly Consequences
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt access to care for many patients, including those seeking care for non-COVID-19-related illness. High patient loads paired with shortages in staff, bedspace, and resources are creating access issues at rural hospitals throughout the United States.

(02/09/22) The Doctor Will See You Now — In the Hallway
Even though cases of COVID-19 are receding in most states, hospitals are still struggling to accommodate all the new COVID-19 patients. In Oregon, the Salem Health Hospital, has been at 100 percent capacity for months with patients doubled up and even tripled up in hospital beds in some cases. The COVID-19 pandemic and staffing shortages has also led to struggles discharging patients to nursing homes. Most long term care facilities are closed to new admissions.

(02/07/22) US, State Politicians Aim to Cap Health Workers’ Pay
As hospitals and nursing homes resort to staffing companies to replace burned-out employees, some state politicians in Pennsylvania are considering capping employee compensation in order to save the health care facilities’ money. In recent weeks, US and state politicians from both parties have questioned the compensation paid to temporary medical professionals hired by staffing companies in letters and legislative proposals. The signatories requested that federal authorities look into whether the high fees violate consumer protection laws.

(02/06/22) Staff Shortages, COVID Patients Pushing Hospitals to Breaking Point
This article from 60 Minutes discusses the scene in a hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, where hospital staff were interviewed regarding their work through the COVID-19 pandemic. The case of this hospital struggling with staffing shortages and burnout is not unique, given over 400,000 health care workers have left the profession since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

(02/04/22) Nurses Can Earn Much More As Traveling Nurses. But the Job Comes at Another Cost
An interview on All Things Considered from NPR features a travel nurse describing the reasons a nurse may want to leave a single hospital and instead travel. Travel nurses can receive hourly rates significantly higher than registered nurses can, and can address localized staffing shortages at least in the short term, albeit at significant cost to hospitals. Workers can also suffer from being far from their families and outside of a stable and consistent work environment.

(02/03/22) Pandemic-fueled Shortages of Home Health Workers Strand Patients Without Necessary Care
This jointly-published article from CNN and Kaiser Health News highlights a crisis in home health care, where as many as 40% of new referrals for patients to receive home health care are rejected due to shortages in staff to provide the needed care.

(01/29/22) A Bizarre Wisconsin Hospital Lawsuit Shows How COVID-19 Changed the Balance of Power for Medical Workers
A unique lawsuit at a hospital in Wisconsin shows the immense change the COVID-19 pandemic has brought on the labor market for health care workers. Widespread worker shortages have been sustained for nearly two years, if not longer in some cases, and lawsuits are being filed to attempt to prevent workers from leaving their positions for higher paying positions elsewhere, with fear of hospital closures due to lack of staff.

(01/28/22) COVID-19’s Impact on Nursing Shortages, The Rise Of Travel Nurses, and Price Gouging
This article published in Health Affairs looks at the rise of use of travel nurses to address during the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact this has had on workforce shortages and the price of labor in health care. Travel nursing has significantly higher pay to workers and cost to employers, but helps alleviate existing shortages. State and federal programs seek to monitor and potentially restrict potential price gouging practices.

(01/25/22) With a Vaccine Mandate Looming, Nursing Homes Face More Staffing Problems
As the pandemic continues, inadequate staffing at nursing homes continues to be a major issue. Now a new vaccine mandate may cause nursing homes like Frontier Health and Rehabilitation in St. Charles, Missouri to risk losing funding from Medicaid and Medicare if their staff is not fully vaccinated by March 15. Frontiers staff vaccination rate was just 30% at the start of 2022 which is 50 percent less than the national rate, according to federal data.

(01/19/22) COVID-19 Is No Longer the Biggest Issue Facing Hospitals. Staffing Is
This opinion piece published in STAT covers challenges brought up by health system CEOs and CFOs at the 40th Annual JP Morgan Health Care Conference: health care staffing issues are especially difficult given the demands of the profession and related burnout from two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently there are thousands of open positions at health care facilities throughout the United States, with a need to recruit, accelerate education, and seek other methods to meet the consequences of labor shortages.

(01/18/22) Medicine’s Great Resignation? 1 in 5 Doctors Plan Exit in 2 Years
This article from the American Medical Association discusses the findings of a recent study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings covering the stress and work intentions of health care workers in the United States as they relate to working during the COVID-19 pandemic. While many providers are considering reducing hours or leaving the profession entirely, the article suggests some opportunities to help improve morale among providers, including supporting child care and ensuring access to confidential mental health services.

(01/14/22) Some States Have Fewer Than 10% of ICU Beds Left As Health Care Staffing Shortages Complicate Care
The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has increased demand for intensive care unit beds in health care systems throughout the United States. Less than 15% of intensive care unit beds are available in nineteen states, with the national guard and other federal emergency teams responding in multiple states to help with both medical and non-medical tasks, increasing workforce capacity.

(01/13/22) ERs Are Overwhelmed As Omicron Continues to Flood Them With Patients
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the United States continue to be a major challenge for health systems throughout the nation. As reported by NPR, the apparent lack of severity of the Omicron variant is being offset by the contagiousness of the virus, with emergency departments taking the brunt of the waves of patients while already short on staff, making a bad situation worse.

(01/13/22) A Cascade of Omicron-driven Shortages Puts US Hospitals in a Bind
Shortages of medical supplies to treat COVID-19 are being exacerbated by shortages in staff to attend to patients and lack of bedspace due to rising infections and hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the United States. This article from STAT covers how shortages of both supplies and staff are leading to worse patient outcomes and frustration for both patients and providers

(01/10/22) Health Care Workers Are Panicked As Desperate Hospitals Ask Infected Staff to Return
This article from Politico discusses the current reality of COVID-19-positive health care workers who are asymptomatic, and sometimes even symptomatic being forced to return to work. Hospitals and health facilities across the United States are experiencing unprecedented outages of staff due to COVID-19, with the highly-vaccinated workforce still becoming sick.

(01/07/22) Hospitals Recruit International Nurses to Fill Pandemic Shortages
This article, jointly published by NPR and Kaiser Health News, covers the demand for international health care workers in the struggle to meet staffing requirements to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, one-sixth of the nursing workforce in the United States is foreign born, and a backlog exists of thousands of nurses seeking visa approvals to begin working in health care facilities in the United States.

(01/04/22) Nurse Employment During the First Fifteen Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic
New research published in Health Affairs evaluates the labor market for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nursing assistants through the first 15 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, ending evaluation in June 2021.

(01/03/22) 16 States Where Hospitals Are Experiencing Workforce Shortages
This list from Becker’s Hospital Review offers insight on sixteen states with critical staffing shortages in at least 25% of their hospitals. Beyond these sixteen states, another twenty-one states expect critical staffing shortages in the coming week.

(12/29/21) 75% of Healthcare Facilities Need Temp Workers, Survey Finds
A recent survey by AMN Healthcare finds that three-fourths of health care facilities in the United States are seeking temporary health care workers, especially allied health professionals, in an effort to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. The most in-demand workers include respiratory therapists, laboratory technologists, and radiologic technologists.

(12/24/21) CDC Shortens Isolation Time for Health Care Workers With COVID-19
In response to the Omicron variant, the CDC is shortening the isolation period for healthcare workers who test positive for COVID-19. According to a new guideline released Thursday, healthcare workers with COVID-19 may return to work after seven days if they are asymptomatic and test negative. The agency says that the isolation period can even be shorter if there are staffing shortages. To return to work after the infection, healthcare workers should obtain a negative test result within 48 hours.

(12/21/21) Biden Announces Free Home COVID Testing, Emergency Hospital Support to Head Off Winter Omicron Surge
President Joe Biden announced this week that his administration plans to provide half billion COVID-19 at home rapid-tests that will be distributed to Americans for free. In addition to opening new testing sites, the Biden administration is directing an additional 1,000 medical personnel from the armed services to assist at hospitals as needed starting in January and February 2022. The president has also ordered to deploy six emergency response teams (more than 100 clinical personnel and paramedics) to hard hit states including, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona, New Hampshire and Vermont.

(12/21/21) With Omicron Now Dominant, Depleted US Hospitals Struggle to Prepare for The Worst
This article from NPR covers the current struggles in hospitals across the United States as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 becomes the dominant strain in the country. Hospitals are short on staff and increasingly filling with this more contagious variant.

(12/13/21) Some Hospitals Drop Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates to Ease Labor Shortages
Several of the largest hospitals in the US have dropped vaccine mandates for hospital staff after a federal judge halted a Biden administration that health workers get vaccinated. The mandates are being dropped due to rising labor costs, nurse shortages, and burnout.

(12/06/21) Gov Hochul Will Order Some NY Hospitals to Halt Elective Surgeries
Following sustained issues maintaining capacity, the governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, has announced new COVID-19 regulations that will halt certain elective procedures in an effort to maintain capacity. New York has previously paused elective procedures as a tool to address COVID-19 surges.

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