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Healthcare across New York faces massive staffing crisis

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  • Staff Report 

The healthcare system in New York is grappling with a workforce shortage after losing around 47,000 jobs during the peak of the pandemic, according to the USA TODAY Network.

The staffing crisis initially impacted New York City and Long Island in 2020 and later spread upstate in 2021 due to staff burnout, national competition for healthcare workers, and resistance to vaccine mandates. Although the workforce in New York City and Long Island has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, it remains inadequate to meet patient needs.

Upstate communities continue to face severe staffing shortages, having lost almost 6% of their healthcare workforce from 2019 to 2021.

Iroquois Healthcare Association reports indicate a record-high nurse vacancy rate of 23%, quadruple the pre-pandemic average.

Over the same period, upstate hospitals lost more than 11,200 jobs, reducing the workforce by approximately 6%, while nursing homes and residential facilities statewide lost nearly 14% of their staff. Experts warn that the sector’s recovery will require more resources and significant adjustments, including addressing worker pipeline issues and enhancing burnout resilience.