Hiring challenges force healthcare systems to find new ways to treat patients

SPOKANE, Wash. — The pandemic has exposed healthcare providers to unprecedented stress, but it also exposed systems to new ways of treating patients in general.

While that stress has subsided, providers are reevaluating and refining how they manage their ever-growing caseload.

Parents shared mixed experiences in seeing doctors at clinics. Some were able to see them quickly, while others have not been so fortunate.

“I made my appointment for her yesterday, then they got her in for 12:30 for an ear infection check, and I didn’t even wait for two minutes,” said Devin DeBoer.

His daughter was lucky, but he’s had another experience.

“Any of the bone doctors or any other specialists, usually they are booked out anywhere from two weeks to a month out, even surgeries sometimes two months out. I’m seeing pretty big delay there” DeBoer said.

Whitney Walker, who has been struggling with multiple health issues, is facing major frustration.

“It’s so hard to see my regular doctor right now, so many people are leaving her office. She is booked out, she is only working on Friday now, and then trying to get into urgent care. They are booked out until the end of the day basically,” Walker said.

4 News Now reached out to MultiCare in Spokane about the struggles and received the following statement:

“Like health systems across the country, MultiCare has faced hiring challenges that have impacted patients. Our recruiting efforts will continue to remain vigilant, incentivizing healthcare workers at all levels to join our team including retention and signing bonuses.”

To mitigate that stress, MultiCare has refined its method for patients.

MultiCare has expanded the busiest primary care locations by 6,000 square feet, adding extra rooms for incoming patients and adding more primary care providers.

For specialty care like cancer treatment, the healthcare system is utilizing virtual visits to see more patients.

MultiCare said there are some changes on the horizon that will be launched later this summer to help the process of onboarding patients.

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