11,000 Vacancies in Virginia Health Care, with Hospital Contract Labor Costs Up 154 Percent

There are over 11,000 open positions in health care in Virginia, and hospitals in the commonwealth saw their costs for temporary contract labor increase a combined 154 percent between January 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) said in an announcement of a new “On Board Virginia” website promoting healthcare employment.

“The past few years have been especially trying for healthcare providers, with workforce issues and staff burnout among the challenges we have faced,” Centra Health President and CEO Amy Carrier said in the press release. “Having a robust workforce with trained and caring clinicians is pivotal to meet the medical needs of the families and communities we serve, now and in the future. With the launch of On Board Virginia, we are taking action to shore up the healthcare workforce in the Commonwealth.”

The VHHA cited burnout from COVID-19 as a factor in worsening the healthcare workforce shortage, and cited statistics that nationally, shortages of registered nurses could hit between 200,000 and 450,000 by 2025, and shortages of physicians could hit between 37,800 and 124,000 by 2034. Additionally, the VHHA notes a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expectation that healthcare employment will add about 2.6 million new jobs nationally between 2020 and 2030, due to an aging population.

A national October survey from Bain and Company reported that 25 percent of physicians, nurses, and advanced practice providers are considering career changes, Becker’s Hospital CFO Report said in a look at the ongoing cost of contract labor.

“Staffing shortages are driving labor costs to an unsustainable level for hospitals operating on razor-thin margins and reducing temporary staffing costs is top of the agenda for many financial executives looking to reduce expenses in the coming quarters,” Beckers reported.

The On Board Virginia site includes job openings, information about health career paths and educational incentives, details about Virginia hospitals and communities, and testimonials from Virginia healthcare professionals.

“The hospital community has successfully worked with lawmakers in the Virginia General Assembly and the U.S. Congress to advance healthcare workforce development policy solutions,” Carilion Clinic Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Arner said. “To complement that ongoing work with our elected leaders, we have joined together to focus our healthcare workforce outreach and promotion efforts to attract talented professionals and encourage them to establish their careers in Virginia.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].




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