Talent Tuesday: The Healthcare Workforce

Taking a break from who is hiring and who was hired, we rounded up some reading on the state of the healthcare workforce. Like many things in our lives for the past two years the pandemic has taken a toll on it. The healthcare workforce might be on the top of the list of disruption. With 18% of healthcare workers having left their jobs and another 12% being laid off, what are the solutions for healthcare as a whole? You can’t open a paper, magazine, or watch news and not hear about the crisis that has evolved. Here are some insights and reports.

The Employment Situation — December 2021
Bureau Of Labor Statistics
Twitter: @BLS_gov

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 199,000 in December, and the unemployment rate declined to 3.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment continued to trend up in leisure and hospitality, in professional and business services, in manufacturing, in construction, and in transportation and warehousing. This news release presents statistics from two monthly surveys. The household survey measures labor force status, including unemployment, by demographic characteristics. The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry. For more information about the concepts and statistical methodology used in these two surveys, see the Technical Note.

Strategies to Mitigate Healthcare Personnel Staffing Shortages
Twitter: @CDCgov

This guidance is for healthcare facilities that are expecting or experiencing staffing shortages due to COVID-19. Conventional strategies for return to the workplace for HCP with SARS-CoV-2 infection or higher-risk exposures are described in the Interim Guidance for Managing Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 | CDC.

Maintaining appropriate staffing in healthcare facilities is essential to providing a safe work environment for HCP and safe patient care. As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, staffing shortages will likely occur due to HCP exposures, illness, or the need to care for family members at home. Healthcare facilities must be prepared for potential staffing shortages and have plans and processes in place to mitigate these shortages. These plans and processes include communicating with HCP about actions the facility is taking to address shortages, maintaining patient and HCP safety, and providing resources to assist HCP with anxiety and stress.

From AHealthcareZ – Healthcare Finance Videos with Dr. Bricker an Internal Medicine Physician and the former Chief Medical Officer of Compass Professional Health Services.

US nursing homes short 230,000 caregivers in historic staff shortages
Fox News
Twitter: @FoxNews

Dr. David Gifford, chief medical officer of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) says, “People are burnt out, people are leaving, but now people are getting sick with Omicron, and so they can’t come into work. That’s sort of a double whammy. We really need help. We need help from the states, the feds to send staff in our sector. We’ve responded to the hospitals, but they’re forgetting about the nursing homes.

Nursing Homes At A Tipping Point: Many Are Forced To Freeze Admissions, Stranding Patients In Hospitals For Weeks
The Boston Globe
Twitter: @BostonGlobe

State data show just nine nursing homes were ordered to freeze admissions in the past month after exceeding the case limit. But over 60 percent of homes reported closing admissions intermittently because of staffing shortages, according to Massachusetts Senior Care Association, a trade group … Last month, the Baker administration deployed 300 National Guard members to help 55 overwhelmed hospitals and 12 ambulance service providers. Mass Senior Care said similar help from the Guard is sorely needed in nursing homes, too, for assistance in nonclinical roles including laundry, housekeeping, meal preparation, and delivery.

Nursing Home Staff Shortages Are Worsening Problems At Overwhelmed Hospitals
The Washington Post
Twitter: @washingtonpost

Nursing home bed and staff shortages were problems in the United States before the coronavirus pandemic. But the departure of 420,000 employees over the past two years has narrowed the bottleneck at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities at the same time that acute care hospitals are facing unending demand for services due to a persistent pandemic and staff shortages of their own. With the omicron variant of the coronavirus causing even more hospitalizations, the problems nursing homes face are taking on even more importance. Several states have sent National Guard members to help with caregiving and other chores.

COVID-Era Nursing Home Staff Crunch Hurting Hospitals, Too
Associated Press
Twitter: @AP

The worker shortage at nursing homes predated the pandemic, but has worsened over the past two years in a state with one of the nation’s highest proportions of older people. A recent survey of long-term care facilities found that 20% of the long-term care workforce – representing tens of thousands of people – has departed since early 2020, with the result that 85% of Pennsylvania nursing homes are now limiting new admissions. One nursing home operator in western Pennsylvania said it is declining 80% of resident referrals from hospitals, the survey said.

National Guard Empties Bedpans And Clips Toenails At Nursing Homes
The New York Times
Twitter: @nytimes

Over the past two weeks, 30 Guard members have been working as certified nursing assistants at North Ridge, which has been so badly hobbled by an exodus of employees that administrators have been forced to mothball entire wings, severely limiting new admissions. As a result, hospitals cannot send patients to long-term care centers like North Ridge, creating a backup that is eroding Minnesota’s capacity to treat people with Covid-19 and other medical emergencies. Similar backlogs – hospital patients well enough to be discharged but too fragile to go home – are choking health systems across the country.

Incidental Cases and Staff Shortages Make Covid’s Next Act Tough for Hospitals
By Lauren Weber and Phil Galewitz and Andy Miller, Kaiser Health News
Twitter: @KHNews

The Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida, on Jan. 11 was treating 80 covid-19 patients — a tenfold increase since late December. Nearly half were admitted for other medical reasons. The surge driven by the extremely infectious omicron variant helped push the South Florida hospital with 206 licensed beds to 250 patients. The rise in cases came as the hospital struggled with severe staff shortages while nurses and other caregivers were out with covid. The challenge is finding room to safely treat all the covid patients while keeping staffers and the rest of patients safe, said Dr. Scott Ross, chief medical officer.

Hospitals Recruit International Nurses to Fill Pandemic Shortages
By Nick Ehli, Kaiser Health News
Twitter: @KHNews

Before Mary Venus was offered a nursing job at a hospital here, she’d never heard of Billings or visited the United States. A native of the Philippines, she researched her prospective move via the internet, set aside her angst about the cold Montana winters and took the job, sight unseen. Venus has been in Billings since mid-November, working in a surgical recovery unit at Billings Clinic, Montana’s largest hospital in its most populous city. She and her husband moved into an apartment, bought a car and are settling in. They recently celebrated their first wedding anniversary. Maybe, she mused, this could be a “forever home.”

Staffing Resource Center
Twitter: @MGMA

With physician burnout on the rise and engagement on the decline, it can feel like there’s nothing you can do to combat the staffing shortage impacting the healthcare industry.

We’ve put together a list of our best resources to help you restore your staffing levels and make it through the twilight of this pandemic. You can do this, and we’re here to help.