This Month’s Resources

Oi Health: Healthcare News Roundup

Every month, we provide a curated overview of the healthcare finance news impacting hospitals, health systems, critical access providers, and community hospitals.

Labor Shortages Eclipse Financial Challenges for Community Hospital CEOs

For the first time since 2004, financial challenges aren’t the #1 problem keeping hospital CEOs up at night. A survey by the American College of Healthcare Executives asked 310 CEOs of community hospitals to rank 11 issues in order of impact on the facilities. Personnel shortages topped the list, with 94% of respondents citing a lack of RNs as a major concern. 85% were worried about medical and lab techs, while 67% were concerned about the supply of therapists. 

Other positions of concern included:

  • Primary care physicians
  • Physician specialists
  • Physician assistants
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Certified nurse midwives

And while finances might not have topped the list this year, 90% of those surveyed were also concerned about the increasing cost of staff and supplies. 

Hospitals Leaning in to Costly Travel Nurses

As hospitalization rates tick upward, hospitals are bringing on a larger number of expensive travel nurses. These nurses often cost significantly more than full-time equivalents. For example, New Mexico hospitals are dealing with over $400 million in losses—over half of that, at $250 million, is because of staffing costs, which include travel nurses. 

The difference in compensation is also encouraging already stretched nursing staff to switch to higher-paying travel positions, where they can enjoy more flexible scheduling and variety in their work. But this isn’t a supply issue. The U.S. has a sufficient supply of nurses; but low wages and harsh conditions for full-time work have contributed to the problem. Many hospitals have responded by rethinking their healthcare budgeting strategies

Hospital Workers Striking over Staffing Concerns and COVID Protocols

Employees of Sutter Health in Northern California have planned a strike at 15 facilities over staffing shortages and health and safety protections (a lack of PPE and not investing in stockpiles) they say are putting patients and staff at risk. The decision to strike was made in March, with Sutter Health receiving an alert 10 days in advance. The group of employees says that they have tried repeatedly to address the issues, which cause delays in care, but that they’ve been ignored by administrators.

Hospital CFO Moves

Recent hospital CFO moves include:

  • Jodi Howe stepping down as CFO of Jones Memorial Hospital in NY for an opportunity at Alfred University
  • Orlando Health naming Leslie Flake, BSN in Florida
  • Tennessee’s Quorum Health promoting Chris Harrison to CFO
  • Scripps Health in San Diego naming Brett Tande as corporate senior VP and CFO
  • New Orleans’ LCMC Health making JoAnn Kunkel CFO

Review our last Hospital Finance Ed topic: Hospital Data Basics-Unlocking the Hidden Treasures in Your Data