Officials worry Central California county may lose 40% of nursing workforce

The expiration of California's COVID-19 emergency declaration could spell more trouble for Fresno County hospitals since they will no longer be allowed to hire travel nurses with out-of-state licenses, The Fresno Bee reported March 1. 

The state's emergency order expired Feb. 28, meaning the end of certain flexibilities for healthcare facilities, including the ability to hire out-of-state licensed travel nurses.

It's unclear how many out-of-state travel nurses Fresno hospitals utilize, though local hospitals "rely heavily" on travel nurses, Dan Lynch, emergency medical services director for Fresno County and the Central California Emergency Medical Services Agency told the news outlet. He estimates up to 40 percent of the nursing workforce could be lost. Local officials worry the change could worsen capacity challenges at Fresno hospitals already struggling  to keep up with an influx of patients in the aftermath of Madera (Calif.) Community Hospital's recent closure

"The loss of potentially half of our nursing staff because they're from out of state is a significant impact for our hospitals," Mr. Lynch said  "They're going to have to make adjustments." 

Deanette Sisson, MSN, RN, chief nursing officer at Fresno-based St. Agnes Medical Center, told the Bee it has transitioned to employing only California-licensed travel nurses.


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