Hospital labor expenses surge in U.S. during pandemic

(Xinhua) 09:03, May 13, 2022

LOS ANGELES, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Hospital labor expenses have increased by more than one-third from pre-pandemic levels in the United States, according to a new report.

The report, released by U.S. healthcare consultancy company Kaufman Hall on Wednesday, noted that a nationwide shortage of healthcare workers made worse by the pandemic, and hospital and health systems' increased reliance on contract labor, is driving expenses upward and contributing to steep declines in profit margins.

During the pandemic, almost one in five healthcare workers quit their jobs. One-third of nurses plan to leave their current roles by the end of 2022, with more than a quarter of those intending to become traveling nurses, according to the report, titled "The Financial Effects of Hospital Workforce Dislocation: A Special Workforce Edition of the National Hospital Flash Report."

Contract labor as a percentage of total labor expenses increased more than five times the rate from pre-pandemic levels, said the report.

Pre-pandemic, wage rates for contract nurses were almost double those for employed nurses. As the pandemic continued and labor shortages intensified, that wage gap increased significantly. As of March 2022, the median wage rate for contract nurses had risen to more than three times that of employed nurses, the report added.

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Liang Jun)


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