SAN FRANCISCO — A new study from the University of California at San Francisco finds that more than a quarter of the hospitals in the United States are chronically understaffed, and more than one in five have a staff of less than 15 doctors, nurses and technicians.
The findings are based on a study of more than 9,000 people who were cared at a number of hospitals nationwide between 2008 and 2013, and they are the first to look at the number of people who are at high risk for chronic understaffing.
They were drawn from the American College of Surgeons, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the National Institutes of Health, and private insurers.
“In some ways, the study is really the first step,” said Dr. Jeffrey Fagan, a senior research associate at the university’s Department of Medicine and co-author of the report.
“This is what the public needs to know: that hospitals are understaff and that it’s a problem that’s really going on, not just with hospitals, but with the health care system as a whole.”
The data comes from the Hospital Compare, an annual study that measures hospital health and safety.
The survey includes questions on staff size and workload, and it looks at how many doctors, psychologists, nurses, technicians and other professionals are on staff.
“The fact that we’ve got a large number of physicians, that’s an indicator that the system is not well designed,” said Fagan.
“But the fact that a large portion of the population is working in these hospitals, and not being able to access the resources that they need to care for their patients is a problem.”
He said the results of the study have implications for the future of health care.
“We have this growing shortage of medical care professionals and I think we need to make sure that we’re getting the most out of what we have,” he said.
The study is based on data from Medicare, the federal government’s health insurance program for seniors and the disabled, as well as the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The researchers used data from the Medicare Annual Survey of Employment and Wages.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics is part of the U,S.
Department of Labor.
“It shows that a lot of people are not being properly trained,” said co-lead author Dr. David Warshawsky, a professor of medicine at UCSF.
“There’s a significant lack of training of nurses, physicians and technicians and also the lack of the workforce in place to support these specialists.”
The report also looked at how hospitals in California responded to a 2011 study showing that chronic under-staffing in hospitals was affecting the health of people in their care.
The state, which is home to more than 80 percent of the country’s hospitals, had the highest number of chronic under staffings, with more than 15,000 physicians, psychologists and other medical professionals on staff, the report found.
The number of beds available for care dropped by 2,000 to 4,400.
Hospitals that reported high numbers of chronically under-trained physicians, nurses or medical technicians, dropped by 6,000 beds to 2,200.
“Hospitals are being forced to make cuts in staffing,” Warshawawsky said.
“So they’re getting squeezed by this workforce shortage and that’s putting them in a very bad position.”
The study also looked into how the federal Government Health and Human Services Department (HHS) responds to chronically underfunded hospitals.
The report found that the HHS has taken action on a number, including a proposal to reduce hospital bed allocations and create an incentive for hospitals to hire more doctors, but no one has actually taken the action.
The authors note that, despite the recent report, the government has not made any major changes to the way hospitals are funded.
“If you have a chronically underused hospital, and you’re paying out of pocket for treatment, you’re not going to get as much money out of that,” said WarshAWawsky.
“And I think it’s important to remember that we really are in a crisis situation, and that this is not a time to be taking any quick fixes.
This is a crisis that needs to be addressed.”