Nursing shortage pandemic will continue to hamper hospital finances

Traditionally, traveling nurses have been used to meet short-term staffing needs. The pandemic has reshaped this segment of healthcare as an increasing number of nurses are leaving full-time jobs to get better compensation as nomadic workers.

Hospitals have tried several strategies to fill the gaps, according to Moody’s. They make better use of the expertise of nurses who can work across departments, increasing merit and retention, and expanding employee benefits to include amenities such as childcare.

Novant Health has applied some of these techniques to nurses and other medical support personnel who are also in short supply, such as respiratory therapists. The health system has also established a Clinical Care and Communication Expansion Program that allows staff to volunteer for additional shifts to support frontline caregivers.

Moody’s does not predict when the nursing shortage will end. Allegheny Health Network, a network of 14 hospitals headquartered in Pittsburgh, meanwhile, is gearing up for the day, said Claire Zangerly, the system’s executive nurse.

The Allegheny Health Network is committed to maintaining relationships with nurses who left during the pandemic, hoping to get them back when the public health crisis eases, especially as much of its turnover has to do with moving nurses between local employers, Sangerle said.

To keep in touch with these nurses, the Allegheny Health Network has registered them as DSA. To increase labor supply, the system has recruited retired nurses to work part-time at vaccination clinics, at COVID-19 testing sites, and even on regular hospital shifts, Sangerle said.

The Allegheny Health Network is also experimenting with care models that can leverage the expertise of existing employees, Sangerle said.

“There is a lot of value in bringing licensed nurses to the emergency room and we have created this nursing concept with a mixed team in which we have [a registered nurse], LPN and a patient care technician are taking on a cohort of patients, “Sangerle said. The healthcare system is trying this approach for rehabilitation of patients with visual impairment, orthopedic and telemetry services,” she said. Allowing them to go out of staffing to become managers. ” …

Hospitals spending money on urgent staffing problems may not have foreseen how this would affect them future financial prospectsbut, according to Moody’s, this short-term problem will have long-term consequences.

“While these strategies will mitigate the impact of labor shortages in the long term, they will increase hospital costs in 2022, as salaries and benefits typically account for at least half of a hospital’s spending,” Moody’s said in a report. “Labor shortages are also likely to trigger increased unionization efforts or lead to more difficult negotiations between unions and service providers, potentially leading to higher costs through new contracts.” According to Moody’s, systems with diversified cash flows and liquid assets will perform better than their counterparts.

There are also relatively few doctors, according to Moody’s, because the pandemic drove away doctors as well, resulting in higher compensation for demanded practitioners.

“Related to COVID-19 Burn out It has summoned many from these doctors, together with Other health care professionals, To reduce their working watch and accelerate their resignation,” v Moody’s report is talking. “The a lack of is an as a result v wage inflation v a time when doctor staffing company income is an already under pressure from commercial and government payers and when They are trying To control their expenses.”

These phenomena have an impact on the recruiting agencies of physicians and physicians who use them. Unlike full-time nurses, who typically bill their own providers who are understaffed, companies that hire doctors are paid by health insurance companies, driven by cost control considerations.

For example, UnitedHealthcare has stripped many doctors of network membership from recruiting agencies to cut costs, Moody’s said. To illustrate insurers’ concerns, Moody’s cites revenue growth of up to 20% at agencies such as Envision Healthcare and Team Health Holdings.

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