West Virginia hospitals struggling with ongoing staffing concerns

West Virginia hospitals are facing 20 percent fewer staffed beds than in 2020, The Exponent Telegram reported Aug. 2. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many West Virginia hospitals were already experiencing high levels of retirement and staffing issues. After the onset of the pandemic, many more quit, according to the publication. 

"COVID really has exacerbated that equilibrium in that we have a lot more people exiting than coming into the workforce," Marty Wright, CEO of the West Virginia Health Care Association, told the publication. "The equilibrium is completely upside down now, and that's really the worrisome part." 

Healthcare facilities in the state have been trying to solve the issue of recruiting and retaining healthcare workers by offering higher pay, but are close to having no federal funds to support this tactic. 

Competition with other states has been another issue for West Virginia hospitals, but increased reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid would help, according to West Virginia Hospital Association President and CEO Jim Kaufman. 

The association also suggests expanding nursing programs and nurses aide programs in colleges and high schools within the state.

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