10 numbers that show US hospital staffing strains

Staffing strains have affected hospitals and health systems across the U.S. amid the latest COVID-19 wave. Here are 10 numbers showing how workforce shortages affect hospitals, by state:


1. On Aug. 9, 68 percent of Florida hospitals expected a critical staffing shortage in the next seven days, according to a survey conducted twice weekly by the Florida Hospital Association. The survey reflected responses from 188 hospitals.


2. Health systems in Massachusetts are reopening incident command centers and escalating employee outreach as staffing challenges persist, the Boston Business Journal reported Aug. 13. Michael Gustafson, MD, president of UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, told the newspaper the hospital had 400 vacant positions and another 600 workers on paid leave.


3. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Aug. 11 that the state will spend $30 million in federal funding made available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act for temporary hospital staffing and monoclonal antibody infusion stations. The efforts are aimed at mitigating current COVID-19 hospital strain amid the latest virus wave. 


4. In an Aug. 11 tweet, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said the challenge facing the state is that hospitals may not have an adequate number of healthcare workers to staff beds. The Mississippi State Department of Health estimated as of Aug. 12 that 920 healthcare professionals are immediately needed in the state.


5. Dallas-based Parkland Health & Hospital System has had to transfer pregnant patients to other area hospitals during the last few weeks because of staffing challenges. In a statement shared with Becker's, Parkland Chief Medical Officer Joseph Chang, MD, said the number of pregnant patients transferred depends on need and will vary day to day. A total of 23 pregnant patients were transferred over the last two to three weeks.

6. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Aug. 11 the deployment of more than 2,500 medical workers to help hospitals care for COVID-19 patients. The state will fund this deployment through Sept. 30, the governor said.


7. Hospitals in Kansas are grappling with shortages of nurses, according to The Kansas City Star. The newspaper reported Aug. 12 that 13 of the state's 125 hospitals expect critical staffing shortages within the next week, per the Kansas Hospital Association.


8. A staff shortage persists at Mobile-based Infirmary Health hospitals in Mobile and Baldwin counties, according to WPMI. The news station reported Aug. 12 that there were 650 job openings for Infirmary Health.


9. St. Bernards Medical Center, part of Jonesboro-based St. Bernards Health System, and outlying parts of the system, have 350 to 400 job postings daily, The Washington Post reported Aug. 12. This is out of a 4,200-person workforce.

10. Hospitals across the U.S., including in Arkansas, are offering incentives to nurses. Little Rock-based University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences said it would offer a $25,000 sign-on bonus for nurses hired to work in 24/7 critical care areas. 

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