Maryland’s Medical Workforce Encountering Troublesome Shortages

On Monday, August 8th, the Maryland Hospital Association released its 2022 State of Maryland’s Health Care Workforce Report, highlighting a growing shortage of nurses and other medical professionals across the state. 

Maryland Matters summarized the report’s findings in a recent article. In its summary, Maryland Matters notes, “Maryland is currently short 5,000 full-time registered nurses and 4,000 licensed practical nurses,” and “the state could see shortages two or three times larger than current levels by 2035.” Nurse staffing shortages were the subject of much discussion at the 2021 MACo Winter Conference session “Health Behind Bars,” during which Senior Vice President Larry Doll of Wellpath Care suggested a nursing shortage could significantly impact the ability to provide primary healthcare in correctional facilities.

In total, Maryland has a 21.2% vacancy rate among hospital personnel. High vacancy rates go beyond just the nursing profession and extend to many technician positions. Hospital staffing shortages are attributable to several issues, including the stress of acute care, an aging workforce/early retirement, competitive wages from other industries, a choice of roles outside of acute care and additional remote work alternatives, COVID-related burnout, capped reimbursement models, and violence against hospital personnel. Understanding the demoralizing nature of threats, violence, and harassment against health workers, including those employed by counties, MACo offered strong support for House Bill 267, which would have created a misdemeanor for engaging in said behavior.

According to MHA, policymakers and hospitals should undertake the following steps to address Maryland’s medical workforce shortage:

  • Expand Maryland’s workforce pipeline
  • Remove barriers to health care education
  • Retain the health care workforce
  • Leverage talent with new care models

Workforce retention is a significant issue facing not just the medical industry but many county agencies. During the “Workforce Well-being: Preventing Burnout” session at the 2022 MACo Summer Conference, a panel of experts will examine the stressors facing county employees, potential coping mechanisms, and initiatives counties can adopt to promote a healthier and happier workforce.

Read the full Maryland Matters article.

Read MHA’s 2022 State of Maryland’s Health Care Workforce Report.

The 2022 MACo Summer Conference will be held at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD from August 17-20. This year’s theme is “Taking Care of Business.” More information can be found on our conference website.
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