16 states where hospitals are experiencing workforce shortages

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Sixteen states are experiencing critical staffing shortages in at least 25 percent of their hospitals, according to HHS data posted Dec. 28.

A critical staffing shortage is based on a facility's needs and internal policies for staffing ratios, according to HHS. Hospitals using temporary staff to meet staffing ratios are not counted among those experiencing a shortage. 

States in which at least 25 percent of hospitals are experiencing critical staffing shortages as of Dec. 28, listed in descending order:

1. New Mexico: 52.94 percent

2. Vermont: 47.06 percent

3. Rhode Island: 42.86 percent

4. South Carolina: 35.53 percent

5. West Virginia: 35.48 percent

6. Arizona: 33.67 percent

7. North Dakota: 33.33 percent

8. California: 32.44 percent

9. Kentucky: 31.73 percent

10. Wyoming: 31.03 percent

11. Wisconsin: 29.93 percent

12. Oklahoma: 28.68 percent

13. Colorado: 27.96 percent

14. Missouri: 27.35 percent

15. Georgia: 26.97 percent

16. Alabama: 26. 32 percent

Twenty-one states reported that they expect to have critical staffing shortages in at least 25 percent of their hospitals within the next week, listed in descending order:

1. Vermont: 58.82 percent

2. New Mexico: 52.94 percent

3. Rhode Island: 42.86 percent

4. West Virginia: 41.94 percent

5. Wyoming: 37.93 percent

6. California: 37.27 percent

7. Tennessee: 35.83 percent

8. Kentucky: 35.58 percent

9. South Carolina: 35.53 percent

10. North Dakota: 33.33 percent

11. Wisconsin: 32.12 percent

12. Arizona: 31.63 percent

13. Oklahoma: 30.88 percent

14. Missouri: 29.1 percent

15. Alabama: 28.95 percent

16. Nebraska: 28.72 percent

17. Colorado: 27.96 percent

18. Massachusetts: 27.71 percent

19. Georgia: 27.63 percent

20. New Hampshire: 27.59 percent

21. Michigan: 27.39 percent

New Hampshire, Michigan, Massachusetts, Nebraska and Tennessee are the five states that did not report currently having shortages in at least 25 percent of their hospitals, but expect to in the next week.

Ten of the states on these two lists reported seeing a 14-day percent change increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to The New York Times. The rest are experiencing decreases. 

The five locations with the biggest 14-day percent change increase in hospitalizations are Washington, D.C. (135 percent), Louisiana (84 percent), Florida (79 percent), Hawaii (77 percent) and New Jersey (66 percent).

Massachusetts, Ohio, Indiana, Maine and New Hampshire reported enlisting help this month from state National Guard units because of staffing challenges. Pennsylvania will receive support from FEMA as it struggles with hospital capacity strain, according to a Dec. 28 news release from the state.

The U.S. is seeing a 126 percent increase in cases over the past 14 days and an 11 percent increase in hospitalizations, according to The New York Times.

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