The trends Methodist Healthcare CEO Allen Harrison is watching in 2022

Allen Harrison, president and CEO of San Antonio-based Methodist Healthcare System, shared the major issues and trends he's watching closely on a recent episode of "Becker's Healthcare Podcast."

Here is an excerpt from the podcast. Click here to download the full episode.

Editor's note: This response was lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: When you look at 2022, what are the three or so issues, trends that you're watching closely?

Allen Harrison: We have historically had staffing challenges in local markets, but what COVID has done is really nationalized our labor market. And so now we're dealing with a nursing shortage on a national scale. And again, that's always been the case, but that's always previously been translated into local market dynamics. Now we're dealing with all the travelers and the national contracts. We're having to deal with a national labor market and having to compete at a scale that we've just never had to deal with before.

We're trying to reimagine our care teams because there just don't appear to be enough RNs to be able to staff it the way we historically have. I think you'll find that answer to be consistent really sort of across the industry. Everybody's going to be struggling with that. 

COVID and the uncertainty of COVID continues to be our reality. What that looks like for our patients and for our workforce is still being written. And then a new variant comes up and a new surge happens. So, we're anticipating getting back to normal, but you would not have a whole lot of confidence in any of my predictions over the last two years for how things were going to go.

Then I'd say the third thing that's on our mind is we are in a reasonable position from a financial perspective. We returned our CARES Act money. So I think we will continue to look at opportunities in our system for partnerships, for acquisitions, for affiliations and those types of relationships that probably have not been something that made sense to pursue in all the uncertainty the last two years. But as we start to feel like 2022 is hopefully going to be more normal, we're going to look at those opportunities as well.

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