26 states to face shortages in ICU physicians, estimator finds

Most states are at risk for healthcare worker shortages amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including a number of states predicted to face shortages in intensive care unit physicians, according to the Aug. 7 update of the Mullan Institute State Hospital Workforce Deficit Estimator.

The estimator, developed by The Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., shows 26 states will face shortages in ICU physicians, up from five the week prior.  

The update also shows 10 states are at risk of running low on their supply of critical care nurses, and seven states will face shortages in hospitalists, up from zero the week prior.

Additionally, nine states will face shortages in respiratory therapists, and six states — Arkansas, Georgia, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah — will face shortages in pharmacists, according to the update.

"These highly trained doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and pharmacists all work together to provide potentially life-saving care to COVID-19 and other seriously ill patients," said Patricia Pittman, PhD, director of the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity at the Milken Institute, according to ABC News.

"At a time when COVID-19 continues to surge in the United States," she added, "our current analysis shows that most states are at risk of running low on these critical healthcare workers."

The estimator uses the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation COVID-19 demand model, American Hospital Association 2018 hospital survey data, CMS data, Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, and data from the 2018 National Sample Survey of registered nurses. More information about the methodology is available here


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