Florida hospitals say potential staffers can't find affordable housing

Hospital systems in southwest Florida say the lack of affordable housing is hindering their ability to plug staff shortages, Fox 4 reported Feb. 24.

Leaders from the two systems — Fort Myers-based Lee Health and Naples-based NCH Healthcare System — detailed what they characterized as unprecedented volumes of patients in the emergency room and hospital. At the same time, they cited staffing shortages, pointing to lack of affordable housing as a contributing factor.

"We are finding talent elsewhere that wants to move here, but they cannot afford to do so," NCH Human Resources Director Todd Lyon told county commissioners at a meeting this week, according to Fox 4.

Armando Llechu, chief officer of hospital operations at Lee Health, cited an influx of seasonal residents as a contributing factor to the high volume of patients and staffing issues.

Amid staffing shortages, both hospital systems encouraged residents to look at options outside of the ER for nonemergency situations, and they encouraged patients to consider telehealth.

Florida health systems are not the only organizations that have pointed to lack of affordable housing as a contributor to staffing shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amber Green, MSN, RN, COO and chief nursing officer of St. Luke's McCall (Idaho) Medical Center, told Becker's in November that four people turned down a job for a building service manager position because of their inability to find housing.

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