HARRISBURG, Pa. — Hospital staffing across the Commonwealth has reached critical levels, according to one industry expert.
A recent study by the Hospital and Health System Association of Pennsylvania says three out of 10 positions remained vacant at the end of last year.
The positions include registered nurses, medical assistants, respiratory therapists, and nurse practitioners.
“[Hospitals] are making it loud and clear how severe this problem is, and the aggressive action we need to take," said Jeff Bechtel, the vice president of health economics at the Hospital and Health System Association of Pennsylvania. “It is not something we can take our time to address.”
Bechtel said a combination of workers leaving the healthcare industry and a lack of replacements in the pipeline have created a staffing crisis that requires immediate action.
He joins hospitals across the state in calling for action from the new Shapiro administration.
“There have been some conversations between our legislative team and the governor’s office," said Bechtel. "I think the governor’s office recognizes that this is a problem, and that everyone needs to work together to address it.”
Bechtel outlined several solutions to help fill the gaps in Pennsylvania hospitals, including providing affordable education, making it easier to license healthcare workers, and cutting government red tape.
He also advocates for offering incentives to healthcare workers to become educators, preceptors, and promote health careers.
“It’s an all-hands-on-deck situation," said Bechtel. "And as I said, it’s going to require all of us to work together to fix it.”