Current Report Articles
President's Perspective – Workforce Strategic Initiative

Workforce (Sept. 30, 2022) – The topic of health care workforce continues to be a weighty issue facing Kansas Hospital Association members statewide. Recognizing the significance of this issue, the KHA Board of Directors and the Healthworks Board of Directors have each allocated additional resources to help our members address ongoing workforce challenges. I wanted to provide our members an update on the work being done by our KHA Workforce Committee and KHA staff team to address supply and capacity needs of Kansas hospitals and the communities they serve.

Our goals are to ensure a robust and resilient health care workforce and increase workforce supply through a pipeline of talent. Our strategic priorities are to:

  • Promote hospital and health care careers to younger generations.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders to increase health care graduates.
  • Develop strategies to recruit and retain physicians and health care employees.
  • Provide education and resources to support health career advancement.

KHA added a dedicated workforce strategies project manager, Jaron Caffrey to our team. This addition will help the association ramp up workforce strategies identified by the membership and the KHA Board. A few of the strategies already underway include:

  • The support of additional Health Occupations Students of America chapters
  • Continued work on a Kansas daycare tool kit to help hospitals and communities with childcare needs
  • A collaboration with partners to establish pathways for military service members to transition into civilian health care careers.
  • Engagement with the Kansas Department of Commerce to learn about setting up health care apprenticeships in Kansas.

KHA recently published the KHA Workforce Vacancy and Turnover Report and launched a mid-year compensation survey of 30 hot jobs. We also worked with the KHA Workforce Committee and subcommittee to identify five workforce-related measures to be collected monthly in the QHi benchmarking tool to assist hospitals in monitoring the pulse of staffing across the state. This information will assist our legislative team as we continue to gather legislative and regulatory policy ideas for the upcoming 2023 legislative session.

Besides the work that is being conducted on the state level, the American Hospital Association has been actively engaged in this space. One resource I would like to highlight developed by the AHA this past summer was the Strengthening the Health Care Workforce Strategy Guide. This resource provides practical approaches for organizations to assess, develop and sustain efforts in several key areas. Many additional tools and resources are expected to be unveiled later this year.

One way to share your thoughts on the current workforce challenges is to join us at our upcoming KHA Fall District Meetings. We will have a conversation on this topic to gather feedback from the membership as we continue to plan for the coming year to address the short-term and long-term workforce challenges. The comments received will be essential in the advocacy work that we will be conducting with our elected officials. Please plan to join us and provide us with your thoughts on how best we can retain and recruit a health care workforce to meet the needs of our state. See you there!
--Chad Austin