Business Recovery Roundtable - Healthcare

Sponsored by SRP

Professionals from the healthcare industry joined our roundtable discussion sponsored by SRP and in partnership with Mayor Brigette Peterson, team members of Gilbert’s Office of Economic Development, the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, and JW Rayhons of Joshua Development.

Our goal was to bring healthcare industry professionals together to listen to current needs, learn from each other, and find additional ways to collaborate. Hearing the challenges businesses are facing can provide opportunities to support each other and get new ideas from businesses experiencing similar challenges.

To begin, businesses shared the high priority items on which their teams are focused: staffing, workforce development, mental health, growing awareness/support of naturopathic medicine, supply chain concerns, rising costs, transportation issues, and keeping up with community needs as demographics change. Below are the key takeaways from each area of focus.

Staffing/Workforce Development:

  • Some healthcare organizations have had difficulty finding new staff, including licensed positions as well as other administrative and maintenance staff.
  • Entry-level workers are needed but businesses are struggling with providing a competitive wage for the experience they require for those roles.
  • One business mentioned reviewing their entry level roles and removing some qualifications to expand the talent pool of the applicants.
  • Vaccine requirements have created additional staffing concerns for some businesses, though this requirement can also be seen as an opportunity for smaller business to bring in new staff.
  • Healthcare workers with skills in pediatrics are in high demand. One business has partnered with ASU to provide an opportunity for students to learn specific skillsets in the pediatric pathway, building a pipeline of new staff.
  • Student enrollment in healthcare related training programs is increasing, causing a need for additional faculty to teach.
  • Affordable/attainable housing can be a barrier to attracting staff as employees often want to live near their place of work.
  • Indeed, Career Plug, Snag a Job, and Talent Reef were some options mentioned when discussing where businesses can turn to when looking to post open positions.

Mental Healthcare:

  • Mental health continues to be an often overlooked and underfunded piece of healthcare, especially pediatric mental health. One business mentioned thinking they were at a peak pre-pandemic, though it has only increased since then.
  • Another organization mentioned seeing an increase in mental health needs in senior care as well.

Growing awareness/support of Naturopathic Medicine:

  • One business mentioned struggling to have their voice heard when advocating for their patients’ health needs. Professionals practicing alternative medicine feel their field should be given more credibility.
  • Larger organizations can help by encouraging others to be open to alternatives solutions

Supply Chain Concerns:

  • Supply chain issues remain and are prevalent across a variety of industries.
  • One organization has found it difficult to secure supplies as they are not categorized as a hospital because they are focused on behavioral health.
  • This challenge extends from difficulty finding certain medications or injectables to the ability to find computers, laptops, and other machinery.
  • Hospitals are sharing resources/purchasing power when they are able and sharing supplies with other locations.

Changing Community Needs

  • Transportation issues getting to/from appointments can be an issue for some communities.
  • One business is seeing growth in senior living needs in the community, especially in financial needs. There is a financial literacy gap as many do not fully understand the costs involved in caring for aging relatives. This business mentioned 80% of Arizonans have not planned appropriately for this stage of life.

In closing, businesses discussed the trends they are seeing in the industry and shared the upcoming opportunities they are excited about:

  • Many expressed enthusiasm for the increased availability of telemedicine (this can break through transportation issues and access to care).
  • Businesses are seeing an increase in awareness of behavioral health concerns which has helped decrease the stigma involved in seeking care.
  • The industry has seen many technology upgrades that help with accessing care.
  • Others are looking forward to more opportunities to connect and network with those in their industry.
  • One business mentioned being excited to see more people interested in prevention strategies and are focused on improving their health.
  • Businesses have been forced to think differently about how their organizations run, and great things have come from that!