Fitch: Staff shortages will be problem for nonprofit hospitals even post pandemic

Marissa Plescia (Twitter) -

Operating margin pressures will become more pronounced for nonprofit hospitals — particularly lower-rated, smaller hospitals — as they deal with staff shortages, a problem not expected to go away any time soon, Fitch Ratings reported Oct. 27.

Healthcare job openings have been historically high in 2021, while the unemployment rate has fallen. This is creating major labor supply and demand problems.

The biggest expense for hospitals is staffing. Average hourly hospital wages increased by 8.5 percent in August compared to February 2020. Nursing and residential care facility hourly wages increased by 11.5 percent.

These challenges are especially difficult for smaller and rural hospitals as they often cannot compete with larger hospitals when it comes to nurse compensation. Higher-rated, larger hospitals have more financial cushion.

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