New York City spends $18M+ on travel nurses for 1 hospital, union claims

New York City spends millions on travel nurses to fill the staffing gap at Jacobi Medical Center, which lost about 20 percent of its nursing workforce last year, according to a March 23 report from the Bronx Times. 

In 2022, the hospital, which is part of NYC Health + Hospitals, lost 183 nurses. The New York State Nurses Association estimates the city spends $18.4 million to $24.2 million per year on temporary agency nurses to fill the hospital's staffing gap. According to the union, more than 50 percent of active nurses in the hospital's critical care areas were temporary nurses as of January. Nearly 60 percent of nurses across the hospital's medical-surgical areas were also temporary. 

The nation's largest municipal health system told the Bronx Times it is aiming to reduce its temporary staff utilization and strike a contract agreement with public sector nurses. 

"Like many other health systems dealing with staff shortages, we rely on contract nurses to temporarily support our dedicated healthcare teams," a spokesperson with the health system said in a statement to the news outlet. "The goal is to reduce our dependence on temporary staff, because we know that it's good for our entire health system." 

Public sector nurses are in the midst of contract negotiations with the city and are aiming to even out a $19,000 pay discrepancy between them and their private sector peers. 

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