Arizona hospitals and healthcare workers are in world of hurt from both the demand and the supply side of the ledger. On the demand side- we are having a continued increase of unvaccinated persons presenting needing care for their COVID19 infection.

This is, of course, exacerbated by the fact that the governor and state health director are unwilling to use any of their public health emergency authority to implement any evidence-based public health measures like universal indoor mask mandates, vaccine status checks at bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, etc. They’re also hostile to any mitigation in schools – which leads to additional community spread.

Complicating the problem is that nurses, respiratory therapists, and other providers are increasingly calling in sick because of family illnesses- breakthrough or otherwise. Additionally, temporary and traveling nurse agencies are actively recruiting hospital nursing staff and then turning around and hiring out those nurses at a higher rate (and paying the nurses more than they were getting at their former employer). This has been a huge problem that is continuing to get worse.

Stephanie Innes at the Arizona Republic had a good story last week ‘Enough is enough’: AZ health care workers want action against omicron that highlights the struggles hospitals and healthcare providers are having – emphasizing a call to action from over 1000 healthcare workers urging Ducey and Herrington to exercise some authority to help.

It feels like an act of desperation though…  because neither have any interest whatsoever in even temporarily implementing the evidence-based measures that would reduce suffering and save lives.