Healthcare worker shortages go mainstream

Healthcare's workforce shortages have 80 percent of Americans concerned, according to new data from the CVS Health-Harris Poll National Health Project. 

Here are four key takeaways from the poll, which was conducted Feb. 10-15 among 2,020 U.S. adults:

1. The strong majority of respondents (78 percent) are also concerned about shortages of hospital beds. 

2. Just over half (51 percent) of respondents have experienced one or more healthcare shortages, most of which are centered around their primary care physician: 

  • 45 percent reported trouble scheduling appointments
  • 36 percent reported their physician's office operating on reduced hours
  • 25 percent have experienced delays in treatments or surgeries
  • 21 percent reported their physicians stopped practicing
  • 13 percent reported their healthcare facilities closed completely
  • 13 percent said community health initiatives have either stopped or decreased

3. A third of Black Americans and 24 percent of Hispanic Americans said they will prioritize going to the physician more than they did before the pandemic, but 59 percent of Black and 54 percent of Hispanic Americans are stressed about accessing quality healthcare compared to 43 percent of the general population. 

4. Patients have varying degrees of understanding for healthcare disruptions. Fifty-nine percent of respondents believe supply chain problems are understandable because of the pandemic, for example. At the same time, 52 percent of millennials expect companies to honor their commitments and find service disruptions unacceptable.


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