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Health care workers protest outside Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. Here's what they want

Health care workers call on NYC Health + Hospitals to address staffing shortages
Health care workers call on NYC Health + Hospitals to address staffing shortages 02:10

NEW YORK -- Dozens of health care workers protested outside Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx on Friday, saying staffing shortages are jeopardizing patient care.

It's an issue that is only expected to get worse across the country.

Health care workers protest staffing shortages amid NYC Health + Hospitals contract dispute

Staffing shortages are now front and center in a contentious contract dispute between New York City Health + Hospitals and doctors.

The doctors, backed by the nation's largest union for attending physicians, say their colleagues are leaving the city's public hospitals due to burnout.

"Burnt out because patient volumes and acuity has increased, but there has not been an increase in staff to match this increased demand," Dr. Trevor Dixon said.

"We're seeing hundreds and hundreds of patients, and with the staffing shortages, it's harder to accommodate all these patients. The wait times are longer," Dr. Priya Patel said.

The protesting health care workers say patients are sometimes forced to reschedule surgeries or wait weeks or months for important appointments.

"It's upsetting," Patel said.  

The Doctors Council says they're asking for a range of salary increases that vary by specialty, but the union would not provide specific examples to CBS New York. They're planning similar rallies next week at Elmhurst Hospital Center and South Brooklyn Health.

"These doctors deserve a raise," New York City Councilmember Kristy Marmorato said. "We need to hold the mayor accountable, and he's the one that has to come up with the money and give these people the contracts."

But when CBS New York asked the mayor's office about the issue, they said they're not involved in the negotiations and said to contact NYC Health + Hospitals, the system that manages the city's public hospitals and employs the protesting doctors.

NYC Health + Hospitals sent CBS New York the following statement:

"NYC Health + Hospitals values our doctors and the critical, high-quality care they provide to New Yorkers every day. In recent years the health system has made significant investments in its clinical workforce. While discussions are on-going with Doctors Council, our hospitals remain places our patients trust for their care."

They also tell CBS New York they've put significant salary increase on the negotiating table.

New York is far from the only city affected by the issue. The Association of American Medical Colleges projects the United States will face a shortage of 86,000 doctors by 2036.

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