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Study puts Utah on list of states facing possible shortage of ICU doctors

Posted at 7:08 AM, Aug 18, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — A study conducted at George Washington University has focused on states where COVID-19 cases are on the rise and whether states have enough doctors to staff intensive care units.

The study found that Utah is one of 23 states that could see a doctor shortage.

As reported by FOX 13’s sister site, Newsy, three states are struggling to keep their hospitals staffed with doctors, and Utah is already feeling some strain.

The research team put together a state hospital workforce estimator to help healthcare workers weigh their state's cases compared to available resources.

“The virus is not affecting states sort of in an equal way at the same time,” said Dr. Patricia Pittman with George Washington University. “It's easy to set up new beds as we saw in New York in Central Park but it's not easy to train and wrap these professionals. You actually have to have policies in place in anticipation to be able to get them to where they need to be,"

Pittman hopes the tool, monitored weekly, will help state policymakers plan for spikes in cases and potential shortfalls

Researchers suggest struggling states contract out of state workers, temporarily allow retired doctors to return to the workforce, and transition final-year medical students into practice.