Soaring labor costs 'No. 1 thing' keeping Temple Health CFO up at night

Temple Health CFO Nicholas Barcellona said rising salary and benefit expenses are "probably the No. 1 thing that is keeping me up at night," the Philadelphia Inquirer reported May 27. 

Mr. Barcellona told investors on a recent conference call that the Philadelphia health system is spending about $3 million per month on short-term help to cover nursing and other shifts, according to the report. The extra labor expenses are six times higher than before the pandemic. 

Temple Health fared better than other Philadelphia-area health systems during the first three months of 2022, according to the report. The health system had a $27 million operating income in the first quarter of 2022. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia ($13 million) was the only other area system to see a positive operating income. Six other area health systems — Main Line Health (-$36 million), Jefferson Health (-$78 million), Tower (-$73 million) and Penn (-$15 million) — had operating losses.

Penn Medicine CFO Keith Kasper said he expects to end the fiscal year with a positive operating margin, according to the report. Penn is aiming to reduce spending on short-term staffing by 70 percent in the next year by boosting recruitment and retention. 

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