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Blame The Regulatory State For The Healthcare Burnout Crisis


The surgeon general just came out with an ominous new warning—but it doesn’t involve tobacco, alcohol, or any other substance.

Instead, Dr. Vivek Murthy raised the alarm about the growing burnout crisis among America’s healthcare workforce. His report details the problem at length and even proposes a long list of solutions that state and federal policymakers could pursue.

Unfortunately, the report mostly downplays one of the best solutions — reducing the thicket of unnecessary regulations that so frustrates doctors, nurses, and administrators.

Job burnout— defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a special type of work-related stress” that leads to “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity”—is rampant among healthcare professionals. The surgeon general cites a National Academy of Medicine study that found that up to 54% of nurses and physicians and up to 60% of medical students and residents report symptoms of burnout.

In fairness, Dr. Murthy’s report does note that administrative burdens are a cause of the problem. But it understates the role of ill-conceived regulations, which […]

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