5 keys to tackling hospitals' workforce shortage

High contract labor costs, fewer inpatient admissions and staffing shortages are some of the major challenges Massachusetts acute care hospitals are grappling with today and are resulting in care delays and reduced access to care.

Without addressing the widespread staffing shortage, hospitals will continue to face capacity challenges and overpay for labor, which will lead to fiscal instability, according to a survey published Oct. 31 by the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association.

The MHA has urged providers, payers, public officials and government agencies to collaborate on five key areas to address the workforce crisis: 

1. Advancing new models of care

  • Maintaining the public health emergency flexibilities that were implemented throughout the pandemic and enabled effective licensing, staffing and capacity innovations.
  • Empowering services like telehealth and Hospital at Home, which maximize the abilities of healthcare workers and allow for patients to be treated at home. 

2. Expanding the workforce pipeline

  • Launching a campaign to encourage entrance into healthcare careers with direct connections to jobs, education and training opportunities.
  • Continued development and recruitment of registered nurses in all healthcare settings.

3. Investing in training and education

  • Increasing training for behavioral health, substance use disorders and trauma-responsive competencies to expand capacity to care for — and discharge — patients to non-hospital settings, including skilled nursing facilities and other post-acute care settings.
  • Extending to the entire healthcare system loan forgiveness, scholarship and other pipeline development strategies that recent legislature afforded behavioral health providers. 
  • Creating an "AmeriCorps-type" program where new entrants receive targeted tuition assistance for healthcare employment. 

4. Protecting the safety of healthcare workers

  • Passing workplace violence prevention legislation, including enhanced penalties for patients and visitors who intentionally attempt or carry out violence against healthcare workers.
  • Emphasizing zero-tolerance policies and a culture of reporting among caregivers. 

5. Providing financial support

  • Providing additional federal funding in addition to the dispersal of remaining American Rescue Plan Act funding.
  • Factoring hospital pressures into conversations about the cost growth benchmark and upcoming policy reforms, so providers are not penalized unfairly for factors beyond their control.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars