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Amidst the continuing repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on the healthcare sector, a recent survey reveals a significant trend: healthcare workers are strongly considering leaving corporate-owned facilities and hospitals for private practice. The survey, conducted by Tebra, a frontrunner in automation solutions for independent healthcare practices, highlights the growing dissatisfaction among hospital employees and the concerns of patients feeling increasingly constrained by their health insurance.
Tebra’s survey, part of its comprehensive June 2023 report titled “Private equity firms and their impact on private practices: A deep dive,” involved 360 medical practitioners and 610 US patients. The findings indicated that 42% of hospital system employees are contemplating switching to private practice, seeking a better work-life balance. This trend is a nationwide issue, and nurses in New Jersey have joined this movement, advocating for improved staffing in hospitals.
New Jersey, like many states, has seen a surge in nurses’ dissatisfaction with staffing levels, which has led to an unprecedented strike by nurses across the state. They are demanding better nurse-to-patient ratios and improved working conditions. The survey’s results corroborate the recent New Jersey nurse strike, nurses who have long been dealing with the ramifications of understaffing, burnout, and concerns about patient safety.
The survey also shared patients’ concerns over their healthcare freedom, with 56% feeling controlled by health insurance policies. The apprehension is particularly pronounced among baby boomers, 63% of whom worry that the surge in private practice acquisitions could narrow their healthcare options.
Moreover, 62% of patients emphasized the importance of knowing whether their providers are part of a hospital system or an independent practice. Beyond the respondents, patients across the country are eager for transparency in this regard, as they want to make informed decisions about their healthcare providers.
The survey shed light on the distressing level of professional burnout: 53% of hospital system employees reported feeling burned out, compared to 44% in private practices. New Jersey nurses have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic, and the stress of understaffing has taken a significant toll on their mental and physical health.
This burnout correlates with staffing issues, as 60% of hospital respondents called for more robust recruitment and retention support, contrary to 48% of their counterparts in private practice. The New Jersey nurses are pushing for improved staffing as one of their key demands, stressing the importance of adequate staffing levels to alleviate the burden on healthcare workers and ensure quality patient care.
Moreover, feelings of underappreciation are more prevalent in hospital systems, with only 56% of employees feeling valued, significantly lower than the 73% of satisfied private practice professionals.
Kevin Marasco, Chief Marketing Officer of Tebra, reflects on these findings, stating, “The pandemic has intensified the challenges faced by independent practices, driving unprecedented consolidation with larger healthcare providers and leading to severe staffing shortages.”
In New Jersey, the pandemic’s challenges have been particularly acute, leading to nurses’ strikes and a call for addressing staffing shortages. Nurses and healthcare practitioners alike are seeking to emphasize the importance of striking a balance between large healthcare providers and independent practices to maintain a diverse healthcare ecosystem that ensures quality care for all patients.
These insights from Tebra’s survey underscore the critical inflection point at which the healthcare industry finds itself. The shift toward private practice emphasizes the need to reassess healthcare professionals’ work conditions and reevaluate patient access to healthcare diversity. The ongoing nurses’ strike and other strikes throughout the US exemplify this shift and highlight the urgency of addressing staffing and work conditions before the country finds itself in a more severe healthcare worker shortage predicament.