The Health Wonk Shop: The Health Care Workforce Under Pressure – Strikes, Shortages, and Staffing Requirements

Amid low unemployment and rising demand for services, today’s health care workforce is under pressure from several directions, including worker strikes; shortages of trained staff; and proposed new staffing standards for nurses and aides in nursing facilities.

On November 16, a panel of three experts joined Larry Levitt, executive vice president for health policy at KFF, for a 45-minute discussion focused on the diverse challenges facing the health care workforce. The conversation touched on why and where there are worker shortages, what is driving recent strikes, how these pressures affect health systems, and how the proposed new staffing requirements could affect nursing homes. The panel also explored differences in rural and urban settings, and how the pandemic and other factors have increased burnout among health care workers.


  • Larry Levitt, Executive Vice President for Health Policy, KFF


  • Gretchen Berlin, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company
  • Alice Burns, Associate Director of the Program on Medicaid and the Uninsured, KFF
  • Bianca K. Frogner, Director of the University of Washington’s Center for Health Workforce Studies, and Professor in UW’s Department of Family Medicine

KFF’s virtual Health Wonk Shop series features in-depth policy discussions with experts that go beyond the news headlines to provide greater insights.

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