Healthcare Association of Hawaii releases workforce report

On Thursday, the Healthcare Association of Hawaii (HAH) released a report detailing health care workforce shortages in the state of Hawaii. The report is a result from a survey given that shows 2,200 health care job vacancies in 76 non-physician, patient facing health care jobs in Hawaii, where 19 of these do not have any Hawaii-based training programs.


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The Healthcare Workforce Initiative (HWI) was created by HAH in 2018 and is made up of health care, education, and community leaders. According to HAH, the focus is on having a diverse patient-facing workforce and aims to develop meaningful changes in Hawaii’s health care workforce. HWI distributed a survey from October 2018 to April 2019 for these 76 professions and results discovered workforce needs for acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, health system clinics, home health agencies, assisted living facilities, and hospices.

“We plan to work with multiple stakeholders to better align Hawaii’s recruitment efforts and educational programs with healthcare’s evolving needs. It’s clear from this report that we must act now to address the growing need for healthcare employees,” said HAH President and CEO Hilton R. Raethel.

According to the survey, the positions in greatest demand in Hawaii are:

  • Medical Assistants
  • Nurse Aides
  • Registered Nurses (RNs)
  • Patient Service Representatives
  • Phlebotomists

There have been various efforts from health care companies in recent years to recruit and train employees, including  the University of Hawai‘i partnering with the Queen’s Health Systems to give free tuition to 26 students in the Kapi‘olani Community College’s medical assisting program.

Hawaii Pacific Health started a medical assistant program in 2018 with five different high schools that will launch into twelve more high schools in the next school year. Moreover, Adventist Health Castle will be giving students experience in care delivery with health care professionals in the field. 

The press release announcing the survey states that there have been ongoing efforts from Hawaii’s health care and education systems to implement training programs to address workforce needs. These efforts include collecting data and communicating with the education systems to determine what issues can be met and progressed on.

“As a sector, healthcare competes for employees just like other sectors do. We need to market healthcare to our children and portray it as a good, viable way to make a living. Students can, with the right training in high school, start working right after graduating and can go on to do well in various professions with additional education,” said Carl Hinson, Director of Workforce Development at Hawaii Pacific Health. 

To view the full report, visit here