Lifespan CEO pens open letter on staffing shortages

PROVIDENCE – Lifespan Corp. is dealing with unprecedented staffing shortages, forcing the state’s largest health care network to retool some procedures in its intensive care units and emergency departments.

Despite taking steps to stretch resources, low staffing levels have forced Lifespan to suspend all nonemergency surgeries at three of its hospitals, Dr. Timothy J. Babineau, Lifespan CEO and president, wrote in an open letter.

At Rhode Island Hospital, along with The Miriam and Newport hospitals, elective, same-day and outpatient surgeries have temporarily been stopped.

“Our nurses, doctors, technologists and other front-line health care workers are exhausted after 22 months of battling this pandemic. Many health care workers have left the profession, tired of fighting both the disease and willful misinformation,” Babineau wrote in the letter, which was posted to Lifespan’s website. “The result is that Lifespan, like many other health systems, is experiencing unprecedented, crisis-level staffing shortages.”

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In response, Lifespan has expanded its nurse-to-patient ratios in its intensive care units and emergency departments and begun placing ICU patients in other units, along with other measures.

“Regrettably, despite these efforts, we simply do not have the staff or the beds available to care for all the patients who need our help,” Babineau wrote.

He added that Lifespan is working toward a solution with the state government and the R.I. Department of Health.

The full letter can be found at lifespan.org/news/open-letter-timothy-j-babineau-md-president-and-ceo-lifespan.

Elizabeth Graham is a PBN contributing writer.

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