As the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions begins drafting bipartisan legislation to contain the healthcare workforce crisis, the American Hospital Association is urging it to take clear action to sustainably address “a national workforce emergency that could jeopardize access to highly qualified medical workers”. quality and fair patient care,” the March 20 letter reads.
On behalf of its 5,000 hospitals, health systems and other healthcare organizations, the AHA named key drivers of the ongoing workforce crisis, including the challenges uncovered by the pandemic, a rapidly aging workforce, elevated levels of anxiety and burnout, and nursing and medical school teachers. deficit.
“Tackling well-being cannot be completely isolated from other efforts to improve the working conditions and well-being of healthcare workers, including reducing unnecessary administrative workload, reducing workplace violence, and expanding access to behavioral medicine,” the organization wrote to the committee chair. Senator Bernie Sanders and senior member Senator Bill Cassidy, MD.
In summary, the AHA outlined 12 key actions that Congress can take to ease the burden on healthcare workers, including by:
- Supporting wellness initiatives and behavioral health projects through grant funding.
- Creation of a federal law to protect health care workers from violence through the passage of the Health Workers’ Safety from Violence Act.
- Providing more funding for mental health services, streamlining licensing processes, and lowering barriers to remote services for mental health professionals.
- Thoroughly investigate reports of anti-competitive behavior from travel agencies.
- Avoiding mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios, which the AHA says “restricts innovation and threatens to impair access to healthcare.”
- Continue flexible regulation of new technologies and support initiatives to pilot-test technological advances in healthcare.
- Investment in nursing and education.
- Providing loan repayment programs, reliable scholarships and apprenticeship support.
- Restoring funding to the National Health Service.
- Increasing the number of residency positions for medical graduates.
- Providing support to medical professionals trained abroad.
- Increasing diversity among healthcare professionals.
The AHA argues that taking the above actions at the political level will reduce labor shortages and strengthen key areas of the healthcare system to provide meaningful support for patients and workers alike.