Staffing shortages continue to impact health care sector

 Staffing shortages continue to impact health care sector

No industry is unaffected by major releases, at least in all health care. Staffing solutions were the topic of the day at BizWest’s CEO Roundtable on Health Care.

There can be many reasons for the lack of qualified workers in the health care industry. Kevin Unger, president and CEO of Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center in the Rockies, is concerned about the size of the pipeline for new workers.

“It takes some creativity and a different way of thinking, how we grow the pipeline,” Unger said.

Craig Luzinski, CEO of Associates in Family Medicine, finds that bringing new people into health care can be more difficult than it looks.

“We have an apprenticeship program; we just need a lot of people to feed us, ”Luzinski said.

Some of Northern Colorado’s health care leaders think expanding incentives could be a solution. Lisa Melby, senior director of Loveland’s Good Samaritan Society, finds that incentive programs can help fill less desirable transfers.

“People are also looking for rewards, and we really need to focus on that, especially on our hard-to-fill transfers (like) weekends and nights,” Melby said.

While increased pay may bring in workers, others may be driven by the rising cost of living in Northern Colorado. Dan Karpel, CEO of the Eye Center in Northern Colorado, has found that many health care workers can find it difficult to live in the communities they serve.

“While it’s a very fast growing area, it’s also a very expensive area,” Karpel said.

The opposite of this problem can be felt in rural areas. Jeff Christinson, CEO of Summit Pathology, toured pathology offices around Northern Colorado and Wyoming and found many practices of someone with doctors ready to retire and no one to replace them. .

“How many pathologists want to move to Gillette, Wyoming? And if they want, when will they get there to let this man retire? ” Christinson asked.

Another factor that may alienate qualified workers from the health care industry: Patients who do not respect them. Alan Qualls, CEO of Banner Health’s Northern Colorado division, is concerned about the safety of his employees.

“Most people don’t realize it’s a crime to hit a health care worker, but it happens all the time,” Qualls said.

Health care providers are turning to unique ways to retain staff. Nate Lamkin, president of Pathways Hospice, has found success in breaking down traditional silos between positions for registered nurses.

“We have to change the silos and take advantage of the fact that an RN can operate in different settings,” Lamkin said.

Greg Berman, vice president of facilitation and engagement at Colorado Permanente Medical Group, has seen an increase in struggles among telehealth staff. Telehealth is also more convenient for patients.

“We know the more care we can provide virtually, the more we rely on traditional staff models,” Berman said.

John Bender, CEO of Miramont Wellness Centers, sees telehealth as a cost -effective solution to Colorado’s living crisis. He provides opportunities for workers to continue working for the same company while moving to a cheaper region.

“They’re in a part of the country where the cost of living is low, and they don’t have to pay for child care,” Bender said.

Despite staff and supply chain struggles, Northern Colorado Anesthesiology Professionals CEO Shawn Wotowey still views the patient as his number one priority.

“Our emphasis on patient quality and safety must still be determined,” Wotowey said.

Christinson agreed, emphasizing the need to take care of an industry where mistakes can be fatal.

“There are no mistakes, it’s something where the quality, which doesn’t go down,” Christinson said.

Even if COVID cases come to an unseen low in months, the future of the health care industry is still uncertain. Qualls reminded his peers that not everyone is sure yet.

“We no longer know what normal will look like, in terms of planning for the future, for the staff, for anything,” Qualls said.

Berman was accompanied by partner Dawn Paepke for the event. Sponsor Plante Moran is represented by Owen Ronk. Darren Atteberry represents the sponsor of Elevations Credit Union. Ashley Cawthorn from Berg Hill sponsor Greenleaf Ruscitti attended via Zoom.

This article was first published by BizWest, an independent news organization, and is published under a license agreement. © 2022 BizWest Media LLC.

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