AHA, AHCA/NCAL urge White House to investigate staffing agency costs

The AHA and the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living wrote a letter Jan. 27 to Jeffrey Zients, the White House's COVID-19 response team coordinator, pressing the White House to investigate staffing agencies.

The associations accuse these agencies of exploiting workforce shortages amid the COVID-19 pandemic to charge high prices, often two to three times pre-pandemic rates.

Hospitals have been using external staffing agencies more frequently as they deal with a surge in COVID-19 cases and a dire workforce shortage. The average salary for a travel nurse varies depending on location, regional demand, hospital type and specialty, but compensation significantly increased compared to before the pandemic.

Individual workers for the agencies are not to blame, however, the organizations wrote.

"Please be sure that our concerns focus directly on the agencies and not the personnel they represent," the letter stated. "We are well aware that the variants of the COVID-19 virus and the length of this ongoing pandemic have put a tremendous strain on healthcare personnel, and we commend them for their dedication to their patients and their communities in the face of these challenges."

The letter follows a Jan. 24 letter by nearly 200 House members also asking for an investigation.


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