Modern Healthcare: Hospital staffing troubles, raging COVID-19 leave leaders eyeing service cuts

OBHG's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Simon was recently interviewed by Modern Healthcare about nursing shortages, and how hospital leaders are navigating vaccine mandates and worker shortages.

The article addresses the difficult staffing decisions that healthcare leaders are being forced to make as healthcare systems struggle to keep up with the ongoing COVID-19 surge.

Select quotes from Dr. Simon within the article:

"The physicians are concerned the longer this goes on and the more you ask of the nursing staff, the more likely it is they will burnout and take time off or leave. That is certainly something that weighs on our minds," said Dr. Mark Simon, chief medical officer of Ob Hospitalist Group, an obstetric staffing provider based in Greenville, South Carolina.

"There is an increased risk to smaller hospitals in particular. I also worry that some of these more rural institutions are also located in areas with higher rates of vaccine hesitancy," Simon said. "You lose a higher proportion of the staff in those locations. And in those locations, losing staff is a much bigger deal because you have less staff to begin with."

One approach to avoid shuttering services is to over-staff, if possible, before vaccine mandates are put in place, Simon said. Or hospitals could cross-train nurses so they can work in multiple highly specialized departments, such as labor and delivery.

"Even if we hire more people than we need, in healthcare, we can find a place for people to work," Simon said. "You do need to try to prepare for worst-case scenarios.

"Administrators need to be proactive about gauging staff views on vaccine mandates and provide hesitant workers with quality information, Simon said. Leaders also need to listen to employees' overall concerns about the future of staffing.

To read the full article in Modern Healthcare, click here.

The U.S. nursing shortage is one of the biggest safety concerns on labor and delivery according to a survey of more than 1,000 OB/GYNs in OBHG’s Future of Obstetrics Industry Survey Report. Download report here.


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