The American Hospital Association last week named a panel of 30 experts to address a labor shortage facing the nation's hospitals.
The panel, with a diverse group of members, including educators, hospital executives, nurses and the head of a national labor union, will hold its first meeting in the coming weeks.
The group plans to issue a report offering solutions to the shortages of nurses, other caregivers and support personnel at the AHA's annual meeting in April 2002.
The AHA board voted earlier this year to launch this effort to address the labor shortage. Leading the panel will be Chairman Peter Butler, president and chief executive officer of Methodist Health Care System, Houston.
Another panel member will be Mary Foley, president of the national American Nurses Association. She said panel participants will have to be brutally honest with each other.
"It has the potential if we're serious and we don't just sit there and make nice," said Foley, a registered nurse.
She said people are counting on the panel to come up with real solutions.
"It better not be `analysis paralysis,' " Foley said. "None of us can afford to just talk about how awful it is."