America’s health care system is in crisis. As frontline health care workers abandon the field at an alarming rate, hospitals are struggling to meet staffing demands — and patients are suffering for it. But Craig Allan Ahrens, senior vice president of strategy and growth for a start-up called CareRev, has an “innovative” solution for both short-staffed hospitals and burned-out healthcare workers:
Translation: Uber for nurses.
The idea has been gathering steam during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has pushed America’s capitalist health care system to its limits, dramatically exposing and exacerbating preexisting issues. The imperative for health care to turn a profit has left hospitals woefully understaffed, under-resourced, and unable to properly deal with the influx of COVID-19 patients. Thus, the question of the health care labor market has been driven to the fore, with everyone agreeing that something needs to change.
But instead of acknowledging that decades of pinching pennies and cutting corners led to this chaotic juncture and course-correcting by sacrificing future profits to permanently increase capacity, major health care companies have opted for a more predictable response. They’ve united with venture capital and Silicon Valley in a depressingly on-brand pivot to the gig economy.
Saving money on labor, regardless of the outcome for workers and patients, is the name of the game in hospital management. It’s how we got into this mess to begin with. And it seems the responsible parties know better than to let a good crisis go to waste.