Shortage of anesthesiologists causes Denver VA hospital to postpone dozens of surgeries

Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center has delayed between 65 and 95 nonemergency surgeries since early August due to a shortage of anesthesiologists, according to The Denver Post

The hospital has eight anesthesiologists and eight nurse anesthetists, but they are unable to keep up with the nearly 400 surgeries performed at the hospital each month, a hospital spokesperson told The Denver Post. The spokesperson noted that in recent months some staff have left for other jobs or are on paternity and maternity leave, which has caused the shortage.  

"In Colorado, it's a very competitive market for physicians in general, and particularly anesthesiologists," Ellen Mangione, MD, chief of staff for the Eastern Colorado Health System, which operates Denver's veterans hospital, told Fox-31 News.

Dr. Mangione said the hospital is taking several steps to fill the shortage of physicians. The hospital signed a contract Oct. 1 that allows it to hire physicians and nurses on a freelance basis from nearby hospitals. The hospital also increased the annual salaries it can offer anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists to $400,000 and $173,000, respectively.

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