Hospitals expect to increase labor budgets, cut operating expenses next year, survey says

Hospital executives are projecting higher labor budgets in the coming year to address anticipated continued shortages of physicians, nurses and mental health providers, according to a Navigant analysis of Healthcare Financial Management Association survey data.

At the same time, they are looking at labor and supply chain improvements as priority areas to reduce operating expense, the survey of 101 CFOs and operations executives shows.

Seven findings:

Labor shortage

1. Forty-three percent of executives said nurse shortages are worse than this time in 2017, while 27 percent said they are better.

2. Physician shortages are worse than a year ago, according to 35 percent of executives. Twenty percent said they are better.

3. Thirty-five percent of executives said current mental health provider shortages are worse than last year. Only 10 percent said such shortages had improved.

4. Twenty percent of executives said they believe there are also worsening shortages of revenue cycle management and coding experts.

Labor budget

5. Most executives (78 percent) projected their organization's labor budgets are likely to increase in the next year. Eighteen percent estimated increases of 5 percent or more. Only 14 percent of executives projected labor budget decreases in the next year.

Reducing expenses

6. Executives cited labor (44 percent) and supply chain (38 percent) as top priority areas for reducing operating expenses over the next 12 months.  

7. Productivity improvement was cited as the top labor management initiative organizations will focus on over the next year.


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