More Americans feel effects of healthcare staff shortages, poll finds

Hospitals and health systems are not alone in experiencing the effects of staff shortages that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. A growing number of Americans are also concerned about the issue.

The finding is from a HealthDayHealthDay/Harris Poll published March 10. 

More than one-third of respondents (35 percent) noticed or were affected by healthcare staff shortages in February, up from one-fourth in November, the poll found.  

The poll also found that 84 percent of respondents have tried to get healthcare in the past six months, and of those 73 percent experienced delays or challenges in getting needed care.

Additionally, 52 percent of respondents reported concern about being able to get needed care because of workforce shortages.

Hospitals and health systems have grappled with staffing shortages, with one system CEO warning that healthcare's workplace shortages present a public health crisis. 

Healthcare executives have responded to these challenges in various ways, including compensation, perks beyond pay, upskilling their workforce and providing more flexibility to staff through initiatives such as virtual nursing programs. At the federal level, the American Hospital Association has also called on Congress to take action toward addressing these challenges via solutions such as boosting the number of residency slots eligible for Medicare funding. 

The poll was conducted in February among 2,048 adults.

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