By MADELINE ARMSTRONG | January 17, 2024
House Representative Selina Bliss has proposed a bill that establishes a Health Care Workforce Advisory Council as well as an Arizona Health Care Workforce Investment Fund that would address the healthcare workforce shortage in Arizona.
“As of January 2022, Arizona ranked among the top 5 states with the most severe healthcare staffing shortages,” reads a press release from the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
Among those most affected by the healthcare workforce shortage are Arizona’s rural communities including Mohave County.
According to a report released from the Arizona Department of Health Services on medically underserved areas in Arizona, Mohave County is home to a number of underserved areas including Lake Havasu City, Bullhead City, Kingman, Golden Valley, Colorado City and the Hualapai Tribe.
Phil Fitzgerald, CEO for Havasu RegionalMedical Center in Lake Havasu City and Valley View Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City, said that staffing shortages are a challenge that his hospitals have faced for years.
“Every range of departments is experiencing some type of shortage,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re not able to open as many beds as we have before. We can’t bring in as many patients as we would like to - people who are trying to access our facility for care, so we do have to send some of those patients outside of their own support area.”
Fitzgerald said that there are a number of reasons why Mohave County is facing a healthcare workforce shortage including the cost of living in the area.
“The area that we’re in; it’s hard. The cost of living has something
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