In a recently released podcast episode Hosted by Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA) CEO Brian Peters, University of Michigan Health – Michigan Medicine Senior Vice President and CEO T. Anthony Denton said continuing to address shortages state health care workforce and the long-term sustainability of the state health care ecosystem will be top priorities for the 2022-23 programming year.
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MHA Data showed the significant increase in labor costs for healthcare professionals in the state during the pandemic. From 2019 to 2020, compensation for direct nursing and residential jobs increased by about $200 million, while the number of jobs fell by about 11,000. Hospital jobs fell by about 7 000 while the compensation remained about the same.
Denton stressed the importance of addressing workforce shortages exacerbated by the pandemic to be able to meet the needs of patients in the future.
“We are witnessing shortages, which will have an impact on access to care, [and] it will lead to delays in care,” he said. “We don’t want to find ourselves in an upside down situation where it would have a negative impact, because we don’t have enough human capacity to meet these needs. The pandemic has made the situation worse, people have left the industry, forcing us to find a way to replace as the demand for patient care increases. So the problems doubled.
Being able to attract the attention and recognition of those who provide financial support through decisions made or policies adopted becomes essential. Because we’re all going to be patients at some point, and we’re going to want to have the talents or the resources available to take care of us when we need them. That’s why it’s so important for us to be able to make sure lawmakers hear what we say, because it affects us all, and it includes the communities they represent.
Denton said Michigan Health has partnered and collaborated with public educational institutions to recruit new professionals into training programs, including career fairs, to help students see the value of learning. a Rewarding Career in Michigan Healthcare. He said these partnerships between providers like Michigan Medicine and public educational institutions are critical to efforts to address labor shortages in the state.
Denton said efforts to encourage University of Michigan health care students to consider careers at Michigan Medicine are especially important for nurses.
“We have a pool of talented nurses who also aspire to go elsewhere after spending a few years in Ann Arbor,” he said. “So we have to keep in mind that while we certainly offer field placements for nursing students for paramedic health programs across the state [and] out of state, [we need to] to provide opportunities for students in training to be exposed to Michigan medicine, for them to evaluate us and for us to evaluate them as potential employees of the future.
Denton also discussed Michigan Medicine’s efforts to promote employee retention by making frontline caregivers feel mentally and physically safe. He pointed out that healthcare workers are increasingly exposed to violence and emotional turmoil exacerbated by the pandemic.
Denton pointed to this significant increase in employee harm, citing that the healthcare industry tends to see 4-5 times more employee harm events compared to other industries.
He said Michigan Medicine has embarked on a workplace violence prevention program that focuses on situational awareness and de-escalation training, as well as counseling services and “recharge rooms” for that employees take care of their mental health.
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