'Critical condition:' Michigan hospitals have thousands more unfilled jobs than applicants

May 24, 2022, 8:39 AM

Hospitals in Southeast Michigan and elsewhere in the state continue to have many more openings than applicants, even with sizable bonus offers for nurses and other recruits in high demand.

"The labor shortage at Michigan hospitals is stabilizing, but still in critical condition as thousands of positions remain open," Crain's Detroit Business reports.

Shortages were amplified by Covid-19 surges overwhelming limited staff and causing shutdowns of services.

Beaumont Health still has a reduction in services due to staffing woes, Mark Geary, senior director of communications, said in a statement to Crain's. "Labor shortages have forced us to reduce services in some areas, but we are reopening as much as we can as quickly as possible as we hire more staff," Geary said.

"Beaumont Health has had tremendous success adding Canadian citizens to our staff and we're expanding our program," this pitch says.

Beaumont lists $10,000 bonuses for new registered nurses and respiratory therapists. Incoming medical technicians get $10,000 to $15,000 extra, depending on shifts, and special procedure technicians qualify for $7,000. The Southfield-based network of eight hospitals dangles a $5,000 sign-on sweetener for licensed practical nurses.

Recruiting efforts include outreach to Ontario nurses, pharmacists, medical technologists and occupational/physical therapists.

These other three large networks currently have over 6,800 openings, checks by Deadline Detroit show:

  • McLaren Health Care: 2,751 jobs at eight Michigan locations, including 311 in Mt. Clemens

  • Trinity Health: 2,027 openings, including 430 in Ann Arbor and 280 in Livonia 

  • Spectrum Health: 2,103 positions available, mainly at its Grand Rapids base (1,055)

Examples of hospital recruiting elsewhere, as also shown above the article.

Brian Peters, chief executive of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, told Michigan Radio last week that pandemic-related early retirements and job-hopping to traveling nurse agencies that pay more have created a severe labor crisis. 

Peters warned if hospitals don't get more help, the trend of hospitals having to shutter entire departments to stay afloat will get worse. ...

He said there are a number of solutions. First, Congress needs to recognize the crisis, he said, and provide more federal funding; the federal government could fast-track the immigration process for nurses and other health care workers from other countries; and he said Michigan should join the Nurse Licensure Compact so out-of-state nurses can work here.

At Trinity, which runs eight Michigan hospitals, benefits now kick in on the first day of employment instead of after a month. It also added retention contracts, providing bonuses for a commitment to stay with the company, a spokesman tells Crain's.

Read more:  Crain's Detroit Business

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