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Healthcare staffing in the Finger Lakes has reached crisis level

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A new study finds the healthcare system in the U.S. is even more stressed than previously imagined.

In the Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes region the ability for healthcare systems to attract and retain staff is an issue that has reached crisis level.

“We are now at a point where these workforce challenges are absolutely impacting all of us as individual patients,” explained Wade Norwood, the CEO of Common Ground Health. He recently spoke with News10NBC about the staffing shortages being experienced around the healthcare system in the region.

“I’m a taxpayer, I’m very concerned about making sure that my tax burden is affordable but if there’s any place where we can invest that generates a return and that actually contributes to the quality of life we enjoy as a community, it is in how we care for older adults and how we support the long-term care workforce,” Norwood added.

The study found more than 4,000 openings and a 71% turnover rate for home health aides and personal care aides. These positions, experts say, are the most demanding and least compensated positions.

The state has approved money in this year’s budget to give these workers a $2 per hour pay increase beginning in October. One point Norwood emphasized is the issue of childcare in the region. While many folks would be willing to take on these roles, they cannot if they’re parents and need childcare.

Worse yet if the childcare is still unaffordable.

Advocates hope the state takes further action to better the working conditions and systemic issues that make these positions difficult to keep filled.