Advocates call for action to combat medical workforce shortages

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ALBANY, NY (WENY) — At a press conference Wednesday, advocates urged lawmakers to address the state’s medical workforce shortages.

They asked for permanent funding for recruitment and retention programs and vocational pipeline programs. They also asked for an increase in financial relief directed to upstate teaching and rural hospitals.

Dennis P. McKenna, Emergency Room Doctor and President of Albany Med said that hospitals are dealing with a staffing crisis and that it’s critical for action to be taken to address this.

“It’s impeding our ability to focus on our mission because we don’t have enough staff to take of the patients who need our services,” he said.

He added that Albany Med is dependent on staffing agencies to fill the gaps caused by the great resignation– a term allocated towards a record number of workers in the U.S. who resigned from their jobs in 2022. Staffing agencies help provide contracted nurses to hospitals and nursing homes. McKenna said the money that Albany Med has to pay for this service is tremendous and not financially sustainable for them.

Assembly Member John T. McDonald said hospitals and nursing homes sustainability will be a priority for the legislature.

“We know that we’ve gotta put the proper resources in place and the proper tools in place to help address this issue,” he said.

New York State Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie said there are shortages in a variety of professions that the legislature plans on addressing.

“I do think that’s something we need to do to make sure that we have enough people in different professions to provide the services that we need in the state,” Heastie said.


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