The U.S. Physician Shortage
growing physician shortage

The U.S. Physician Shortage

COVID Mutations Mean More Hospitalizations

The news isn’t good.  As predicted, mutations of the COVID-19 virus are making the rounds.  People have gotten a little blasé about the topic but the hospitals are filling once again  with victims of the next generation of COVID.  Hospitals expected another wave or waves of COVID and have been stockpiling supplies in preparation.  However, all of the medical equipment and ppe is not much use without the professional medical staff to provide the needed patient care. One of the biggest impacts to patient care impact is the physician shortage.

There is a Growing US Physician Shortage

An AAMC pre-pandemic study reported a growing US Physician Shortage.  In fact the study projected a shortfall of up to 139K physicians by 2033.  Consider how long it takes to become licensed as a doctor in the USA and that number becomes even more alarming.

In an article in Statnews.com, the American Hospital Association’s vice president of quality and patient safety, Nancy Foster admitted to hearing from two dozen hospital leaders in a two week period warning of staffing shortages in Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and other states with large rural areas.  Health care providers in Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Ohio, Missouri, Michigan, Utah and a host of other states say they’re facing the same problem.

Factors of the Physician Shortage

The shortage is not exactly the result of COVID but the virus does feature prominently in the list of contributing factors.  The sheer scope of the pandemic created a problem.  When there is a shortage in one area or another, staff will travel to the priority region needing assistance.  The American healthcare system is designed to offset shortages by transferring backup staff and equipment from other areas.  It is impossible when all areas are unilaterally impacted.

States that sent doctors to New York in 2020, have nowhere to turn now that the shortages are border to border and beyond.  With all 48 states facing a new COVID resurgence simultaneously, where do you turn now? 

Doctors reaching the point of burnout want a break from the work.  Meanwhile, doctors and other healthcare workers exposed to the virus must quarantine for the minimum period, and those that get sick are out longer. 

Offsets

Brand Development

Many healthcare facilities have worked hard to develop their brand for patents.  Today they are also working hard to develop a culture that attracts top tier executives, physicians, and other healthcare workers. It will not cure the shortage nationwide, but it may alleviate some of the pain your institution suffers.

Enhanced Benefits

Hospitals and other healthcare organizations have begun to think creatively about giving flex time options, additional wages and bringing in food trucks etc. to sweeten the pie offered to new recruits.  When the shortage is so widespread, talent becomes an expensive commodity.

Postpone Elective Surgery Procedures

Several hospitals are postponing elective surgeries, as they did in the start of the pandemic.  It’s frustrating because many of the surgeries are needed to correct a problem that is not rated as life threatening, even if it is urgent.  People who need knee replacement surgery may be using a walking aid for a while longer etc.

Telemedicine

The impending shortages have pushed telemedicine out sooner as a way to handle more of the less serious health issues.  Doctors can see more patients in less time with video chats. Patients who might not make it to an office, can make appointments when they are video.

New Means of Recruitment

In the past, recruitment may have been handled primarily inhouse.  Today, with everyone working long hours, it makes sense to partner with a professional medical staffing firm like PX3 Medical Staffing.   Recruiting talented doctors and executives is all we do.  We developed methods and formulas to navigate the industry, finding the right match to your physician staffing needs.  You may still want to do a few interviews, but you won’t have to do hundreds of interviews.  You save weeks of time, and still get the right fit, even in a growing physician shortage.  For information on how to locate optimum healthcare candidates, Contact us or call (925)948-8749.

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