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Healthcare personnel crisis looming with shortage of doctors/nurses

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In just over a decade, America will face a shortage of up to 124,000 doctors and 200,000 nurses will need to be hired each year, according to the American Hospital Association.

Overall, there will be a 3.2 million shortage of healthcare workers by 2026, according to a white paper presented by

Some of this is attributable to “COVID burnout” by healthcare workers but we also are facing a crisis of both our population getting older and healthcare workers quitting the profession, says Dr. Kenneth Johnson.

Dr. Johnson is the Dean of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and chief medical officer at Ohio University. Dr. Johnson also serves as chair of the Ohio Council of Medical School Deans.

Dr. Johnson says we have known about this looming crisis for years but as a country, we have failed to adequately address it.

COVID also has exacerbated this situation. Some 30 percent of healthcare workers are considering leaving the profession and almost 60 percent have reported impacts to their mental health because of work during the pandemic, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation Survey

One reason for a shortage of doctors is that most doctors’ residencies in hospitals are funded by Medicare and about 25 years ago, Congress capped the number of residencies as a cost-cutting measure. Congress has failed to agree to remove the cap.

Dr. Johnson also says that there is a paucity of faculty members to teach new medical personnel, especially in nursing fields. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing says that 80,000 qualified nursing applicants were turned away in 2019 due to lack of qualified faculty, clinical sites, classroom space and other budget constraints.

Dr. Johnson explains to Spectrum host Tom Hodson what needs to be done to quell this crisis.