HCA cut contract labor costs 19% in Q3

Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare saw a 19 percent reduction in contract labor costs in the third quarter of 2022 compared to the second quarter, CFO Bill Rutherford said on an Oct. 21 earnings call with investors.  

The reduction meant that the 182-hospital, for-profit health system was able to absorb much of the market-based wage adjustment costs for its employee workforce, Mr. Rutherford said on the call. 

CEO Sam Hazen said that the system's salary, wages and benefit costs per hour were flat with the second quarter, which he called "encouraging."

"That's the first quarter in a while where we've seen stabilization in our labor cost per hour when you mix all components of our labor costs," Mr. Hazen said. "So, we'll continue to hopefully make some strides in that area and moderate some of the pressures that exist in the labor market as we continue to execute on our recruitment agenda, our retention agenda, our capacity management and so forth."

Mr. Hazen also said HCA continued to invest significantly in its workforce, including with the opening of one more Galen College of Nursing campus. Mr. Hazen said these investments produced improvements in new hires and retention in addition to reducing contract labor expenses. 

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