Critical Access Hospital Workforce During COVID-19: Barriers and Facilitators for Recruiting and Retaining Staff


Existing shortages of health care staff in many rural areas have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many hospitals including Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) struggling to maintain their workforce and recruit new staff when needed. This brief describes findings from a national survey of CAH CEOs about the specific types of staff positions for which they have had challenges with recruiting and retaining, as well as the barriers and facilitators they have experienced regarding recruiting and retaining hospital staff. Participants reported significant difficulty recruiting and retaining staff in a variety of positions, but particularly nurses and respiratory therapists. The main barriers to staffing included competition, shortage of applicants, and costs to the hospital, whereas facilitators included incentives and organizational culture. Specific examples from CAH respondents highlight opportunities for State Flex Programs and other CAHs to consider. 


Best Practices COVID-19 Workforce