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Allied Health Worker Shortage Strains Community Clinics
Date:1/15/2009

ns to the challenge. Almost 70 percent are partnering with local training programs to provide clinical training sites, a popular practice among health care providers that helps increase the pool of trained health workers. The survey also polled clinics on policy recommendations to help increase the number of allied health workers in California. Of these proposals, most clinics favored increasing the number of allied health training programs and expanding loan forgiveness programs for health workers across California.

Specific findings from the survey include:

  • Eighty-one percent of clinics reported that keeping allied health positions filled with qualified, trained personnel is a challenge.
  • For clinics that hire such positions, 76 percent of clinics reported difficulties hiring licensed vocational nurses (LVNs). Case managers (56 percent) and dental assistants (50 percent) were also cited as difficult positions to fill.
  • Of the problems resulting from an allied health worker shortage, overworked staff was the most serious problem (60 percent). Clinics also cited decreased productivity for existing staff (59 percent), too much staff time required to recruit and train staff (58 percent), and a limited ability to serve more patients (57 percent) as serious problems.
  • Over 70 percent of clinics reported increasing overtime for existing staff (72 percent) as a way to deal with this shortage, and 55 percent have hired temporary workers or contracted services to an off-site provider.

This research was conducted via an online survey of 108 California community clinics between Nov. 25 and Dec. 8, 2008 by Goodwin Simon Victoria Research. This survey was funded by a grant to Fenton Communications from The California Wellness Foundation.

    Media contact:
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