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The State of Critical Access Hospitals in 2022

The State of Critical Access Hospitals in 2022

Critical Access Hospitals fill a vital role within the healthcare community. Located in rural areas, they provide all sorts of essential services. They also face unique challenges that are quite different from larger, city-based facilities. Mission Search is deeply committed to serving this community, which means we understand their needs firsthand.

The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the landscape for Critical Access Hospitals, primarily as they work toward filling open leadership positions. We spoke with Joe Thomas, Mission Search’s Director of Business Development, to unpack the trends and challenges many Critical Access Hospitals are navigating today.

What’s the Current Snapshot for Critical Access Hospitals?

“Finding permanent staff is becoming the hardest transition at the moment,” says Thomas. “Many of these facilities are weighing how the financial cost of Covid is affecting them now and will continue to affect them in the future.”

 The pandemic had a significant impact on many Critical Access Hospitals. Healthcare workers became burned out, and many facilities were left woefully understaffed. At the same time, current economic conditions have presented additional challenges. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the inflation rate is now a whopping 8.3%. With consumer costs rising at such a rapid rate, prospective candidates are seeking higher compensation packages.

Are There Jobs Available in Critical Access Hospitals?

Thomas says that numerous leadership positions are open nationwide across Critical Access Hospitals. Though the trickiest part is attracting experienced leadership at the right cost.

 “Everything is going up, so the question is how are these facilities going to leverage what they have to attract the right permanent staff?” asks Thomas. “Our goal working with our clients is to make it financially fair for all sides. That means considering the costs for our clients while making sure that our candidates are compensated accordingly.”

It’s a balancing act that Mission Search is helping Critical Access Hospitals work through. It’s especially relevant when attracting out-of-state candidates. As housing prices continue ticking upwards, many candidates are weighing the pros and cons of relocating.

What Will the Future Bring?

Time will tell how things will unfold going forward, but creative solutions may be necessary to attract the right candidates today. Every Critical Access Hospital is different, but each will need to consider what leverage they have to draw in and retain the qualified staff necessary. This may involve modifying compensation packages, exploring employee benefits, and finding other ways to make it worthwhile for candidates. 

The common goal remains the same—delivering the best patient care possible. When Critical Access Hospitals screen potential candidates for permanent or interim positions, Thomas says that the most valuable quality is passion.

“You want to make sure their passion is coming through,” he says. “It’s absolutely necessary. As a leader, you have to bring up the next generation, which is crucial to the longevity of future healthcare workers.”

On the candidate side, prospective employees will have to consider the bigger picture when interviewing with Critical Access Hospitals. If you have experience and are a passionate healthcare worker, you might find the right fit within this setting, whether on an interim or permanent basis.

Filling these roles often requires personalized recruitment efforts. That’s where Mission Search comes in. We understand the unique challenges that Critical Access Hospitals are up against. We also have access to a vast network of potential candidates. We’re plugged into industry happenings and pride ourselves on the long-term relationships we’ve built. And we aren’t afraid to put ourselves out there to find the most qualified talent. It’s how we’re doing our part to drive optimal patient care. To learn more about our Critical Access Hospital recruitment solutions, visit here.

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