Healthcare workers defy national emergency, hospitals say

The American Hospital Association is urging Congress to address the workforce challenges facing healthcare facilities, calling the issue a national emergency.

In one letter submitted to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on March 1, the group said the workforce challenges “constitute a national emergency that demands immediate attention from all levels of government and viable solutions.”

The letter discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare workers, workforce shortages, and how hospitals and healthcare systems support their employees.

The association urged lawmakers to implement recruitment policies to revitalize and diversify the health workforce.

A number of policy solutions were recommended, including lifting the cap on Medicare-funded medical residencies; increase support for nursing schools and faculties; and the granting of scholarships and loan cancellations.

The association also called for expedited visas for international healthcare workers; investigate reports of anti-competitive behavior by travel nurse recruitment agencies; and provide more funding and flexibility to meet the mental health needs of healthcare workers.

The letter was sent before a Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee Hearing March 2. In February, the group also urged Senate lawmakers to establish policies to address workforce challenges.

Read the last letter here.

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