The U.S. health care system relies on a strong and well-trained workforce to best serve patients and communities. Unfortunately, a significant and pervasive health care workforce shortage exists, especially in communities essential hospitals serve. Amid health care worker burnout, essential hospitals face significant staffing shortages as demand for care forces them to compete for staff with more financially stable systems serving less medically complex patients.
Provider shortages have the potential not only to affect patient care, but also to stretch staff’s mental health to the limits, exacerbating challenges to maintaining a healthy workforce at sufficient levels. To prevent a future provider shortage, an estimated additional 139,000 physicians and 1.1 million nurses will be needed by 2033. These shortages, coupled with a lack of health care staff diversity in many areas nationwide, have the potential to affect patient care. Given the urgency of these concerns, most recently highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, states have taken steps to protect and uplift their health care workforces while also increasing access to the health care workforce pipeline.
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A recently passed New Hampshire law requires health care facilities to implement and maintain workplace violence prevention programs.view more »
New laws in Wisconsin and Utah criminalize threats against health care workers, while other state legislatures consider similar bills.view more »
In the early months of 2022, Alabama, Delaware, Kansas, and New Jersey passed legislation to mitigate health care workforce shortages amid the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency.view more »
In a letter to CMS, Republican Govs. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia and Jim Justice of West Virginia cite strained health care workforce and staffing crises as reasons for requesting relief. They ask for broader conscience exemptions, flexibility on enforcement, or simply a six-month delay of the rule.view more »
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) gave her first State of the State address, highlighting plans to retain and grow the state’s health care workforce and invest in initiatives to advance health equity.view more »
The pressures of the COVID-19 public health emergency led to significant burnout among the health care workforce. This State Policy Snapshot summarizes how state and local governments sought relief to help meet this challenge.view more »
States facing a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases are making efforts to support their increasingly burdened health care workforce. Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency requested teams to support civilian health care workers treating COVID-19 patients in local state hospitals.view more »
As hospitals respond to the rising delta variant and struggle with capacity, some states are calling on hospitals to once again postpone elective surgeries. Executive orders in other states expand flexibility to address health care workforce shortages amid COVID-19 surges.view more »
New York establishes an advisory council on trauma-informed care for workers on the front lines of COVID-19. The advisory group will develop reports on immediate needs for front-line health workers and findings and recommendations on long-term, trauma-informed care for these individuals.view more »