JOPLIN, Mo. — The latest workforce report from the Missouri Hospital Association shows the highest rates in more than 20-years, and those rates aren’t good.

“The numbers that we are finding this year are so off the charts that there is a significant call to action to rethink how we are managing staff, and how we are producing staff for the future,” said Dave Dillon, Missouri Hospital Association Spokesperson.

The Missouri Hospital Association found, statewide, the turnover rate for healthcare employees is at 24.7%. The vacancy rate stands at 17%, the highest in 21-years.

“The rates in the far southwest corner are a little bit lower than they are statewide, but these are still troubling numbers because they eventually begin to effect our ability to deliver care the way we traditionally have,” said Dillon.

The top hospital professions with the highest employee vacancy is licensed practical nurse, respiratory therapist, and nurse assistants.

“For two years hospitals have been dealing with the stress and the environmental challenges of covid-19. There’s certainly a lot of burnout within the clinician community that results in that,” said Dillon.

The profession with the highest turnover is food service worker and dietary aid, housekeeper, and nurse assistant.

Freeman Health System developed an internal scrub tech program to combat some shortages they were facing.

“they are employed that’s huge. There’s no cost to them they are paid to attend and they get their clincial experience and everything hands on and once they complete that program they roll into a full time position,” said Mary Frerer, Chief Human Resource Officer for Freeman Health System.

The hospital is also working with Crowder College on a medical assistant apprenticeship program.

“What we have done is our professional development department, they’ve been communicating and sending notices to high school guidance counselors making them aware of what Freeman Health System is offering for those students,” said Frerer.

Freeman Health System also raised its minimum wage last October to fill vacancies.

M-H-A Officials say hospitals need to create a better onboarding process and integrate new employees into the culture, which could help retain employees.