New York health system bans local travel nurses

Albany, N.Y.-based St. Peter's Health Partners will no longer hire travel nurses who live within a 50-mile radius of their workplace, according to local CBS affiliate WRGB

The high pay for nurses working as travel staff is unsustainable for the health system, according to Steven Hanks, MD, president and CEO of Trinity Health New York, which includes St. Peter's. He told WRGB the extra compensation has strayed from its original purpose. 

"What we're experiencing in the post-pandemic period is that our travel staff are more likely to not be actually traveling, and instead are moving over from neighboring facilities in order to take advantage of the enhanced rates," Dr. Hanks told the news station.

"That's not what the rates were designed for," Dr. Hanks continued. "They were meant to be paid during the exceptional circumstances where you have no other choice but to hire labor from outside the market. Having travel staff who aren't actually traveling work alongside our colleagues at a higher rate of pay causes resentment among co-workers and is not financially sustainable for our health system."

Some nurses are concerned about this decision, according to the news station. 

"I mean, I've been working there a while now and there hasn't really been any new hires to make up for all the agency nurses we're going to lose, so it's gonna be difficult to take care of patients," an anonymous hospital worker told the news station. "It'll be more patients per nurse, potentially, and it could end up unsafe if that happens."

Becker's has reached out to the health system for comment and will update this story if more information becomes available. 

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