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Studies show a shortage of healthcare workers in Arizona

(Jamie Rhodes/Norton Healthcare via AP)

PHOENIX — Some new studies have concluded that there is a shortage of healthcare workers in Arizona.

The city of Phoenix supported the Vitalyst Health Foundation in commissioning the University of California-San Francisco to conduct four studies on the workforce of the healthcare industry in Arizona. The studies included hospitals, community health centers, long-term care facilities and home health agencies.

They found that there aren’t enough workers.

“In long-term care facilities, we saw a high demand for registered nurses and nurse practitioners,” said Suzanne Pfister, the president and CEO of Vitalyst. “In home health, there was a high demand for occupational therapists and physical therapists. In clinics, there was a high demand for almost everything.”

Pfister explained what is causing the shortage.

“The cause is the growth in Arizona, and some people using the Affordable Care Act or their employer health care insurance to meet their healthcare needs,” Pfister said.

Some of the facilities are desperate for workers.

“I had one executive from one of the hospitals say, ‘I could hire every RN that I could get my hands on,’” said Pfister. She said he told her that he especially needed people with five years or more of experience.

Vitalyst has shared the results with a number of state leaders and will brief the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity soon. You can see the reports here.

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