• Adventist Health Mendocino Coast Hospital in California, U.S., forced to limit the number of available beds due to staffing shortages. The lack of clerical and other support staff also has resulted in longer wait times to get referrals processed or even have phones answered.
    • Cumulative effects of deferred care have already led to more severe cases and are expected to contribute to ballooning health care costs for a long time.
    • The World Health Organization estimates a projected shortfall of 18 million health workers by 2030, mostly in low- and lower-middle income countries. As 70% of the health and social workforce are women, the WHO recommends investing in the health workforce as an opportunity to create decent employment opportunities for women and youth.

21 March 2022 | The Adventist Health Mendocino Coast Hospital in California, U.S. wants people to get a job—a healthcare job.

For several months, the hospital has been forced to limit the number of available beds due to staffing shortages. Both Mendocino Coast Clinics (MCC) and Adventist Health Medical Offices said there are long wait times to get an appointment because there aren’t enough healthcare providers. The lack of clerical and other support staff also has resulted in longer wait times to get referrals processed or even have phones answered, according to an article in the Mendocino Voice. 


More than half of all Americans say they’ve directly felt the effects of health care worker shortages, reported Axios, a news website.

Timely health care access is important because more than one in five Americans said they’ve skipped an annual checkup during the pandemic. The cumulative effects of deferred care have already led to more severe cases and are expected to contribute to ballooning health care costs for a long time, reported Axios.

And the situation does not look like it will be improving any time soon.

As the population ages with “baby boomers” moving now from their 70s into their 80s, there is an increasing need for more healthcare workers, said Dr. William Miller, chief of staff at the Adventist Health Mendocino Coast Hospital, in the Mendocino Voice article. At the same time, young people entering the work force have tended to avoid healthcare-related jobs, going into more tech and software jobs, he said.

Also, many, many nurses are leaving their positions. A Jan. 27, 2022, American Hospital Association article said about 500,000 nurses were expected to be lost by the end of this year, many through retirement, bringing the overall shortage of nurses to 1.1 million.

However, the AHA reported that due to significant shortages of faculty, classroom space, and clinical training sites, nursing schools actually turned away more than 80,000 qualified applicants in 2019.

Persistent staff shortages caused by the pandemic have forced hospitals to increase their use of contract workers to fill nursing, technician and other essential positions, said the AHA. The AHA said this practice has led to some staffing agencies exploiting the severe workforce shortages by charging uniformly high rates and retaining up to 40% or more of those amounts for themselves.

The conduct of some of these staffing agencies suggests widespread coordination and other abuses, said the AHA. It has asked federal agencies to investigate possible collusion and price gouging.

Shortages in the healthcare workforce are a problem on a global level, as well. The World Health Organization estimates a projected shortfall of 18 million health workers by 2030, mostly in low- and lower-middle income countries.

Chronic under-investment in education and training of health workers in some countries is contributing to continuous shortages, said the WHO. Also, the increasing international migration of health workers may exacerbate health workforce shortfalls, particularly in low- and lower-middle income countries.

As 70% of the health and social workforce are women, the WHO recommends investing in the health workforce as an opportunity to create decent employment opportunities for women and youth, in particular.


(Photo: Healthcare workers pose for a picture at Adventist Health Mendocino Coast Hospital in California, U.S. The hospital has been experiencing staffing shortages. Photo via Adventist Health Mendocino Coast Facebook page.)

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