ST. LOUIS ( -- Staffing shortages continue to plague many businesses across the St. Louis area.

One local health care provider is trying a new approach to help fill in the gaps.

Ashley Williams, the vice president of operations for Total Access Urgent Care, says demand still outweighs supply when it comes to available staff.

“There are times that we have to make the tough decisions where we say we can only see this many patients in a day,” said Williams. “There are times where we are completely full capacity."

There’s such a shortage that TAUC has decided to open their own EMT school on Oct. 11, which would allow them to be able to hire some students directly.  

"One of the things that we're seeing in St. Louis right now is the demand for health care is so high, so many people need care every single day and there frankly just aren't enough health care workers in the market, in the pool of people to hire."

Total Access closed several locations temporarily due to shortages, but they aren't the only ones suffering.

Economics Professor Dr.Yongseok Shin with Washington University says labor force participation has fallen by 1.5 percent. This is due to several reasons, including the fear of being around others, cutbacks on hours, and childcare issues.

Dr. Shin says it isn't a matter of simply raising wages.

"It's not a matter of just hiring one person at a high wage, then you'd have to raise wages for everybody. That’s the reason why wages aren't jumping very quickly to cure the market,” said Dr. Shin.

Williams says although they still remain shorthanded, they’re doing all they can to meet the need.

"We used to be such an in and out walk in clinic, but right now our teams are working so hard to try and help every person that they possibly can, so I hope there's a little grace for just healthcare in general. I don't think that's unique to Total Access, it's probably everywhere."

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved


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