Bill Rates for travel healthcare professionals are beginning to stabilize for the first time since 2019. The immediate need for Registered Nurses (RN) at the beginning and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic put intense pressure on hospitals to fill vacancies, regardless of the hit their facilities took to their budget. Demand for staff during the pandemic skyrocketed, and most hospitals due to high vacancy rates of permanent staff needed to meet the demand by using outside staffing agencies. With few options hospitals turned to agencies to supply the nurses their hospitals so desperately needed. With bill rates rapidly increasing, questions began to swirl around what percent of bill rates are going to staff pay packages. The answers to those questions proved elusive.
Kaufman Hall, a well-known management consulting firm, and Syntellis, a healthcare data and intelligence solution organization, released the January 2023 National Hospital Flash Report. The insight provided in the report combines 2022 operating performance data from 900 hospitals nationwide. The National Hospital Flash report is intended to provide healthcare organizations with a granular view of how they are operating in everchanging market conditions with the hopes of providing insight to inspire solutions to hospital financial and operational challenges.
Kaiser Health News (KHN) shared the news in December that a new workforce solution has attracted the eyes of leadership at many large healthcare organizations across the nation. An increasing number of health systems and medical facilities are creating internal agencies to staff their centers that are struggling with tremendous gaps in their clinical staff and a heavy reliance on travel nurses to fill those gaps. The reliance on travel nurses has created contingent staff costs that have skyrocketed through using the traditional staffing model that healthcare staffing companies offer. Without any cap on what staffing agencies can charge for nurse coverage, hospitals have paid what was asked to avoid any interruption in the care at their facilities. The agency markups are becoming detrimental to the organizations that desperately look to them for nurses.
The 2020s have been a decade of challenges and adversity for society as a whole. Healthcare has borne the brunt of these challenges as it was on the frontlines of many of these trials. Healthcare workers have pushed through many of the obstacles that were put in front of them over the last three years, beginning at the start of the Pandemic. Staff shortages, long hours with no breaks, delays in receiving necessary supplies, and overall low morale have brought forth new core challenges that we must continue to address nationwide as we enter 2023.