MD hospitals face shortage of health professionals

Like their peers across the country, Maryland hospitals are continuing to struggle with a shortage of health professionals, according to a study released this week by the Maryland Hospital Association. Vacancies for physician assistants, occupational therapists, speech therapists and respiratory therapists shot above 15 percent in 2007, the Association found. Meanwhile, vacancy rates for respiratory therapists showed the greatest increase, at almost 20 percent. That's up six points in just one year.

From 2006 to 2007, vacancy rates for nurses actually declined, a surprising finding given the usual state of the nursing market. Vacancy rates in 2007 fell to 10 percent, down from 13 percent in 2006 and a high of 15.6 percent in 2001. Still, Maryland hospitals need an additional 2,603 nurses to meet the state's growing demand, and vacancy rates were well above the national average of 8 percent in 2007.

To learn more about the shortages:
- read this Baltimore Business Journal piece

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