NH hospitals threatened by rising cost of contract labor

New Hampshire hospital officials said the cost of continuing to pay for outside labor to fill staffing shortages threatens hospitals’ financial security. at any time during the COVID-19 pandemic. NHHA President Steve Ahnen said existing staffing shortages have worsened since the pandemic, with vacancy rates for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses doubling. He said hospital occupancy rates remain high — currently at 90% in New Hampshire. Hospitals have hired traveling workers to help them, but the costs of those hires have quadrupled at facilities such as Catholic Medical Center and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. able to care for patients,” Ahnen said. “If they didn’t, access to care would be incredibly difficult.” According to the Labor Cost Study, New Hampshire hospitals collectively spent $118 million on contract labor in 2019. This year, that amount is expected to reach $300 million, in 133% increase over last year. “Hospitals will continue to lose money, and you can’t do that for very long,” Ahnen said. year. “We need to make sure patients get the care they need, and what our study on labor costs shows is that it’s going to continue to get harder and harder over the next 12 next 24 months,” Ahnen said. The association issued a call to action to expand workforce retention efforts, remove administrative burdens, advocate for federal resources, and push for studies of staffing agency practices. travel staff.

New Hampshire hospital officials said the cost of continuing to pay for outside labor to fill staffing shortages threatens hospitals’ financial security.

A labor cost study released this month by the New Hampshire Hospital Association indicates that hospitals are as challenged today as they have been at any time during the COVID pandemic. -19.

NHHA President Steve Ahnen said existing staffing shortages have worsened since the pandemic, with vacancy rates for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses doubling.

He said hospital occupancy rates remain high — currently at 90% in New Hampshire. Hospitals have hired traveling workers to help, but the costs of those hires have quadrupled at facilities such as Catholic Medical Center and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.

“They had to spend a significant amount of money to make sure they had the necessary staff to be able to treat patients,” Ahnen said. “If they didn’t, access to care would be incredibly difficult.”

According to the Labor Cost Study, New Hampshire hospitals collectively spent $118 million on contract labor in 2019. This year, that amount is expected to reach $300 million, in 133% increase over last year.

“Hospitals will continue to lose money, and you can’t do this for very long,” Ahnen said.

Overall, labor costs for the state’s 23 acute care hospitals are $4 billion, up $400 million from last year.

“We need to make sure patients get the care they need, and what our study on labor costs shows is that it’s going to continue to get harder and harder over the next 12 next 24 months,” Ahnen said.

The association issued a call to action to expand workforce retention efforts, remove administrative burdens, advocate for federal resources, and push for studies of staffing agency practices. travel staff.


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