Recent Surveys Reveal Majority of Healthcare Systems Short Staffed

17 Jan, 2022 F.J. Thomas


Sarasota, FL ( – Healthcare facilities have been hit with staffing shortages for well over a year, and according to a new survey released by ASC Focus, which is published by the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, it doesn’t appear the shortages are going to stop anytime soon.

Seventy-seven percent of the 322 healthcare workers polled stated that they short staffed, with no differences between single and multi-specialty facilities. When asked about which personnel were effected the most, 88 percent stated that nursing (RNs, LPNs) had the most impact. Twenty-four percent felt that the shortage was greatest among other licensed staff, and 29 percent felt the shortages were greatest among non-licensed staff.

When asked about the reasons behind staffing shortages, only 6 percent cited the vaccine mandate. Higher salaries, primarily for traveling nurses, was attributed to causing shortages by 76 percent of the respondents. Burnout was cited by 33 percent, and 21 percent stated shortages were due to staff not returning from the cutbacks earlier in the pandemic.

While the large majority stated they were understaffed, close to 40 percent stated that the staff shortages have had no effect on their facilities ability to return to normal volume of procedures. Around the same 40 percent stated that the shortages had caused 5 percent or less reduction in the number of cases. Twelve percent stated that the staff reductions had caused their case volume to drop greater than 5 percent. In regards to caring for Medicare patients in particular, 32 percent stated that the shortages were effecting their ability to care for those patients.

In a November report from the Chartis Group, 98.5 percent of their rural health survey participants stated they were short staffed, with 96.2 percent stating the shortage was in nursing. Ancillary was the second highest area with shortages at 66.2 percent, and facilities came in third at 28.5 percent.

 As in ASC Focus survey, 41 percent of workers stated that better paying opportunities for staff leaving, making it the top reason for shortages. In the Chartis survey however, workers felt that the shortages impacted volume. Over half of the respondents stated that staffing shortages had prevented them from admitting patients within the last 60 days. In addition, 26.9 percent stated nursing shortages have resulted in suspension of services.

While the Supreme Court has upheld the CMS vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, it will be interesting to see if this further impacts staffing shortages, and healthcare as a whole. According to a recent Becker’s report, at least 7 hospitals are closing medical departments and ending services in an attempt to address staffing shortages.



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    About The Author

    • F.J. Thomas

      F.J. Thomas has worked in healthcare business for more than fifteen years in Tennessee. Her experience as a contract appeals analyst has given her an intimate grasp of the inner workings of both the provider and insurance world. Knowing first hand that the industry is constantly changing, she strives to find resources and information you can use.

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