In a new data report by the Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI) and the nonprofit de Beaumont Foundation, the analysis showed that public-health agencies, especially in rural areas, need at least 80,000 new full-time employees to reach “adequate staffing levels”.

From the report: “Budget and staffing cuts have weakened the nation’s collective health and increased its vulnerability to emerging infectious disease and unchecked chronic disease. In the past decade, state and local health departments lost 15 percent of their essential staff. These cuts have limited the ability of health departments to plan for and respond to emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic and to meet the daily needs of their communities.

Based on this analysis, state and local health departments need to hire a minimum of 80,000 more full-time equivalent positions (FTEs) — an increase of nearly 80% — to provide adequate infrastructure and a minimum package of public health services. (See Figure 1.) This increase in staffing would provide the infrastructure needed upon which additional staff could be added to provide more comprehensive services to respond to emergencies.”

With the current pandemic only exacerbating the problem, public-health agencies and other medical facilities across the country are working to hire more staff as quickly as possible. But even in rural areas medical staff are still leaving the profession in droves, to take a higher paying job or due to burnout.

To read the rest of the report and to see the data analysis, click here.

To see The Rural Blog post on the analysis, click here.

SOURCE: The Rural Blog, www.debeaumont.org