Summary: Although it appears that Covid-19 is now almost over, experts warn that the US healthcare system is facing some other severe threats. It is expected that in coming years, inflation, shortage of nursing staff, and burnout among physicians will significantly affect the quality of healthcare in the US.
Though seasonal epidemics are not rare, the Covid-19 pandemic took the world by storm and surprise. It dominated daily life for a couple of years before mass vaccination, and the emergence of herd immunity led to its decline.
We are already into the third year of the pandemic, and it is far from over. Nonetheless, most experts agree that the peak is now over. It is now more likely to become a low-level health threat, like the flu or other seasonal infections. It means that worse is behind us.
Though disaster predictions are often wrong, they have their role. These predictions do not create panic but rather prepare people for the worse. A well-prepared person or society is more likely to steer through the storm.
Researchers think that when it comes to healthcare in the US, there are a few things that everyone should be worried about. However, the US is facing certain threats that may cause significant physical and mental health issues soon.
Many economists have already warned that trillions spent to counter Covid-19 may cause severe inflation. However, most of those models did not take into consideration other issues that were not visible on the horizon at that time, like the war in Ukraine and rising oil prices. Together these factors can drive inflation to an all-time high.
These issues can significantly limit the ability of the federal government to fix the problems faced by the healthcare system. Researchers warn that healthcare costs can become exorbitantly high in the near future. It is worth understanding that these costs do not rise daily and are fixed for a few years. Hence, if the cost of living keeps rising, healthcare costs may suddenly rise. Moreover, insurers are planning to increase their premium in the coming year.
US data shows that the nation is going through a shortage of nurses, and as a result, delays in planned surgical procedures and other healthcare services are becoming all too common.
There are multiple reasons for these shortages. For example, one survey shows that one-third of RNs just want to change their current roles. Many of them plan to leave nursing altogether. Additionally, about one-fourth of baby boomer RNs are retiring within the year. These are highly trained nurses who would be challenging to replace.
It is expected that in the next year or two, the healthcare sector in the US will experience a severe shortage of nursing staff. Some experts warn that the shortage would be so acute that it would significantly affect the working of hospitals. This will result in a significant number of patients being turned away from hospitals.
Experts warn that it would be wrong to assume that such a problem can be resolved quickly. Though one can produce more nurses in a couple of years, it takes much longer to produce well-trained nurses. Most nurses acquire skills over years of practice
The burnout crisis
Innumerable studies are showing this problem among doctors. It seems that the burnout crisis is especially severe among doctors. The prevalence of burnout is much higher among doctors compared to other professions.
Further, it appears that the burnout crisis has been made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic due to emotional trauma. It seems that many healthcare workers have reached a boiling point.
Burnout crisis among doctors and shortage in nursing staff will significantly affect the healthcare quality in the US. Doctors are now rejecting the word burnout, instead calling it a “moral injury.” A pain caused to them due to their inability to provide excellent medical care. All this means that doctors are increasingly turning to private equity (PE) firms.
If these threats are not handled soon, they will have grave consequences for US healthcare in the short and long run.
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Medical Disclaimer: Keep in mind that the content provided is not direct medical advice for patient care, but is provided for thoughtful discussion.