Anesthesiologist Shortage Impacts Providence Surgeries

Thursday, December 14, 2023

The Oregon Clinic

All but the most urgent surgeries and procedures scheduled at Portland area Providence hospitals are being delayed because these hospitals do not have enough anesthesiology providers. This situation is limiting surgery and procedure access for many Oregon Clinic patients.

The shortage of anesthesia providers is a problem every practice, hospital system, and ambulatory surgery center in our local community is grappling with. In fact, this issue is impacting the entire nation.

We know this situation is very difficult. We are also frustrated and distressed by the impact the anesthesiologist shortage is having on many of our patients.

What is The Oregon Clinic doing to improve the situation for our patients?

We are in close contact with Providence and we are doing everything we can to get access to Providence operating room time for our patients. When possible, we are transferring patients or scheduling surgeries at Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASC) or other hospitals.

While much of this situation is out of our hands, we are doing everything we can to mitigate the negative effect on our patients. Each surgical case and procedure is different, please know that our staff and physicians will eagerly move forward with each patient’s care the moment they can.

My surgery/procedure was delayed. How can you get it done faster?

Providence is evaluating all surgeries and procedures to determine priority, with the most urgent cases getting operating room time sooner. We are advocating for our patients as much as possible.

How is Providence deciding which surgical cases/procedures get approved?

Providence has implemented an internal process for evaluating which patients can be scheduled and get access to operating room time.

Should I schedule with a different doctor or a different hospital?

If you haven’t already, please reach out to your Oregon Clinic doctor’s office to discuss options.

How long will this anesthesiology shortage last?

Providence has not provided a timeframe.

Why is this happening?

There is an ongoing, nationwide shortage of anesthesiologists. Providence’s new anesthesiology group is actively working to increase the number of anesthesia providers on staff.

We sincerely apologize for this unfortunate news. Despite the frustrations and disappointment this is causing, we ask that you continue to treat our staff and physicians with the kindness and respect they deserve. We are all working hard to navigate this situation together.