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While Dealing With Rise In COVID Cases, Western Mass. Hospitals Face Staffing Shortages

Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Kevin Gutting
Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com
Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Two western Massachusetts hospitals said they are experiencing staffing issues. This comes as they've seen a rise in COVID-19 cases in recent months.

Dr. Estevan Garcia, the chief medical officer at Cooley Dickinson in Northampton, Massachusetts, said the hospital has between 150 and 200 open positions. He said the gap is pretty significant for an institution its size.

"It's risky now to be in health care, so I do think some of our workforce is concerned for their own safety around unvaccinated individuals," Garcia said Monday.

Garcia said the shortfall is among frontline staff, including nurses and medical assistants.

Dr. Mark Keroack, who leads Baystate Health, said his institution is also facing a workforce challenge.

"We now, as a result of early retirements, resignations, and leaves, have 1,400 open positions among our 12,000 employees," Keroack said at a Thursday press conference. "We've done a number of things to get our arms around this including raising salaries, enhancing benefits, bonuses, hiring travelers and contractors — but the gap is still there."

A spokesperson for Holyoke Medical Center declined to comment on whether it was facing any staffing challenges.

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