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Hospitals are also struggling to fill jobs across Arizona

Employers across almost all job sectors are struggling to find and keep workers. Health care is another area that is desperately trying to fill positions. 

Ann-Marie Alameddin is the president and CEO of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. She says staffing shortages are both a rural and urban problem. 

And it’s everything from behavioral health providers to phlebotomists to administrative staff, even environmental services. 

"So, environmental services are the critical people in a hospital that clean the rooms, they are the front line when it comes to infection control and prevention," she explained.

And they’re critically important to patient care.

"And so to have shortages in those kinds of areas, so that really it shortens the amount of time that you can really turn over a room from when one patient is discharged to admitting another patient," she said. 

Alameddin says hospitals are still very busy. She says many hospitals are at 90% capacity due to people delaying care during the pandemic. 

"I think if people are experiencing slowdown in the health care system or even the turnaround time with laboratory reports,  this all can be due to the staffing shortages that are pervasive that are really far and wide right now," she said.

Alameddin says progress is being made to help expand the workforce pipeline — at least on the nursing front. A bill is moving through the Arizona Legislature that would provide funding for training and retention programs. 

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.