If we build it, they will stay. And patients will benefit. That’s the theory behind Nantucket Cottage Hospital’s plan to build up to 83 units of staff housing across the street from the completely rebuilt hospital, opening soon.

The plans, pending local approval, are aimed at solving one of the hospital’s long-term challenges: the lack of affordable housing for hospital staff. The housing crunch—driven by a seasonal population, building limits, and high rental fees that result—challenges the hospital’s ability to attract and retain talented caregivers and staff. Recruited staff often turn down positions after spending weeks searching for housing.

The housing project, which officials hope can begin construction in 2019, would include flexible, one-bedroom units that can be combined, if needed, to create larger apartments — similar to an extended-stay hotel. The innovation is just one of many new resources, including high-tech surgery suites, designed to enhance care for the year-round and seasonal residents the hospital serves. The hospital also hopes it will benefit the local economy by stabilizing what has become a local housing crisis, dubbed the “Nantucket shuffle.”

“We can’t wait,” says Dr. Margot Hartmann, President and CEO of Nantucket Cottage Hospital, a rural facility with about a dozen beds and 250 employees. “If the town and the community don’t solve [the housing crisis], it’s still one of the threats to our mission.”

Read more at The Boston Globe.

Topics: Affordability, Access to Care

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