Page 4 - Healthcare News Nov/Dec 2021
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                Critical Condition
Healthcare Workforce Shortage Has No Easy Solutions
hile workforce shortages in health-
care are not a new story, Spiros Hati-
ras said, COVID-19 certainly didn’t help the situation. Far from it.
“We had some challenges even before, but really, the pandemic has created a sort of crisis situation,” said Hatiras, president and CEO of Holyoke Medi- cal Center and Valley Health Systems, noting that
“We had some challenges even before, but really, the pandemic has created a sort of crisis situation.”
industry estimates peg current healthcare vacancies around a half-million jobs nationally. “There’s a mix- ture of reasons why they left, and a lot of them had to do with the pandemic.”
Essentially, he explained, many nurses and spe- cialists have re-evaluated what they want to do for
a living, while others who were close to retirement anyway decid- ed to make that transition earlier than they might have. Others who had been part of a double-income household stayed home with the kids during the pandemic and decided they wanted to continue to do so.
“You have people who got burned out dealing with acute illness and decided to stay in
the profession, but looked for a setting where they weren’t deal- ing with acute illness,” he went on. “Then you had some people with an existential crisis, saying ‘healthcare is not for me.’ We certainly had some of those. Put it all together, and we had a lot of folks leave the profession on the clinical side.”
Entry-level, non-licensed jobs in healthcare, like housekeeping and dietary services, have been a struggle to fill as well, Hatiras said, but nowhere near as difficult as on the clinical side.
Spiros Hatiras says hospitals like Holyoke Medical Center are feeling the bottom-line impact of soaring workforce costs.
   Adam Berman also recognizes that these issues predate COVID. Well before the pandemic — for several years before, actually — Berman, president and CEO of Legacy Lifecare, would attend trade-
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