Staff Shortages Have Become a Fast-Growing Concern, Hospital CEOs Say
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Staff Shortages Have Become a Fast-Growing Concern, Hospital CEOs Say

Shrinking talent pools of registered nurses and primary-care doctors are a growing issue for hospitals, survey says.

Financial challenges are always a concern for hospital executives. But moving up fast on the list of things that keep hospital leaders up at night are personnel shortages.
That’s according to the latest annual survey from the American College of Healthcare Executives on the top issue confronting hospitals. This year’s report is based on a survey of 299 hospital CEOs.
Financial concerns once again topped this year’s ranking of the CEOs’ top issues as they consistently have for as long as the ACHE has been conducting its annual survey. The top-five specific financial concerns cited by the hospital leaders this year are:

  • Medicaid reimbursement
  • Increasing costs for staff and supplies
  • Reducing operating costs
  • Government funding cuts
  • Bad debt

As previously reported in Twin Cities Business, bad debt expenses incurred by Minnesota hospitals rose 3.1 percent in 2016 to $374.5 million, according to the Minnesota Hospital Association.
Bad debt expenses incurred by hospitals in the state may have risen at an even faster clip in 2017. A report released this week by the Minnesota Department of Health said the percentage of the state’s population who didn’t have health insurance in last year rose to 6.3 percent from 4.3 percent in 2015.  
Yet it was personnel shortages that jumped out from the ACHE’s report. The surveyed hospital CEOs ranked personnel shortages as their third most-pressing issue this year. That’s up from fourth in both 2017 and 2016 and up from 10th in 2015.
“That personnel shortages have become one of the top three concerns suggest that hospitals are keeping their attention on attracting and retaining a talented workforce to ensure the short- and long-term needs of the patients can be met,” ACHE said in a statement.
The top-five specific personnel shortages areas cited by the hospital leaders this year are:

  • Registered nurses
  • Primary-care physicians
  • Physician specialists
  • Nurse practitioners and physician assistants
  • Therapists

Given their financial challenges, the question for many hospital CEOs this year will be where to find the money to pay for the talent they need.
To learn more about the top concerns of healthcare executives, read “How the Other Half Lives” in Twin Cities Business.