Health Systems’ Child Care Carrot

By Thomas Crocker
Friday, March 25, 2022

Facing a labor shortage, health organizations seek to attract and retain workers by offering solutions to one of their biggest financial pain points: child care.

toy train made of legos

The COVID-19 pandemic has strained many working parents, especially mothers, to the limit, partly due to the challenge of finding child care. The 2020 Kaiser Family Foundation Women’s Health Survey found that, among mothers who quit a job due to a pandemic-related issue, 51% did so because COVID-19 led their child’s school or day care center to close.

Bright Horizons Family Solutions, which operates more than 1,000 child care centers across the globe, reports that health systems could reduce turnover among working parents by up to 60% by offering on-site child care. Some organizations are doing just that.

Solving the Day Care Dilemma

At some health systems, child care is a key employee benefit. Writing for Healthcare Dive, Hailey Mensik reported that Georgia’s Wellstar Health System has three employee child care centers, and Mass General Brigham in Boston is home to four.

“Our talent acquisition team has found several things that are kind of those sweet spots for potential candidates, and child care and child care resources are a huge benefit for folks,” Penny Ferrell, Executive Director of Employee Wellness and Work-Life Services for Wellstar, told Mensik.

Small hospitals may have to get creative to help with employees’ childcare challenges. For example, Summit Pacific Medical Center, a critical access hospital in Washington state, partnered with local stakeholders to bring a new child care center, slated to open later this year, to its community, according to reporting by Joy Borkholder for Crosscut.