SOS: Michigan’s health care shortage continues

“It got much worse during the darkest days of the pandemic”
Published: Jul. 20, 2023 at 6:48 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The help wanted sign over the state of Michigan should read “health care workers desperately needed.”

Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, said these are very difficult times for the hospitals and health systems across the state.

“That’s been a problem that existed before the pandemic. It got much worse during the darkest days of the pandemic. And it’s persisting today.”

A new report from the Michigan Health Council ranks Michigan in great need of healthcare workers. Some hospitals and doctor’s offices across the state are scaling back on services and appointments. According to health officials in Michigan, it doesn’t matter if it’s your dentist, your therapist, or your primary care physician, you could be waiting more than 10 days before the doctor can treat you.

“Since 2020, about 30% of the dental hygienist in the state of Michigan have left the dental profession and have not returned,” said Neema Katibai, Manager of Government and Insurance Affairs at the Michigan Dental Association. He said nationally, the average wait time to see a dentist is between 12 and 28 days.

“We are seeing, across the board, that there are a number of vacancies in social work and behavioral health positions across the state,” said Melina Brann, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the National Association of Social Workers.

Two different health care services. Both in need of more staff.

According to the report, mental health jobs like psychologists or community health workers are facing “immense” shortages across the state. “We are seeing longer wait times because of the need increasing,” said Brann. She said the state recognizes the need for more social and mental health employees. “Organizations across the state and even here in Lansing that have been trying to utilize more recent graduates from social work.”

She mentioned legislation recently signed into Michigan law. “The state actually just passed in their budget a grant and scholarship for people who have received their bachelor’s of social work to go back and do an accelerated program for their master’s of social work which is one year - if they commit to providing services for two years after graduation in a public sector.”

According to the report, Michigan will see shortages in nearly every healthcare role between now and 2032.

If you or someone you know is interested in a career in the healthcare industry, Michigan’s new Health Centers Careers Training Program will provide on-the-job training to help fill more jobs.

Read next:

Subscribe to our News 10 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning.