The Hidden Cost Associated with Understaffing in the Post-acute Care Industry

by | Aug 18, 2022 | Recruiting & Retention

Post-acute care (PAC) is a growing and essential health and social service, accounting for more $2.7 trillion spent on personal health care, and, of that, almost 15% of total Medicare spending.PAC centers have dealt with staffing issues for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly worsened the situation and increased the cost of staffing whether it was in-house or through a staffing agency. Hazard pay rates through the pandemic caused staffing agencies to raise their rates. We all saw the news reporting stories about wage increases and large sign on bonuses for nurses across the country as we faced a shortage of workers across the care continuum.  Fast forward to the summer of 2022 and those worker shortages are still a reality for many industries.

Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are still dealing with extensive employee vacancies, so in turn they’re not taking on as many patients/residents. With fewer residents, those facilities are seeing less revenue.1 A recent study released in June, projects the lack of staffing could cost the post-acute care industry $19.5 billion in unrealized revenue in 2022.3 Oliver Wyman, a management consulting firm, conducted the study which argues that contingent staffing could be a more affordable option to fill vacancies than some healthcare leaders think.3 This is due to the fact that benefits, training and other employee ancillary extras are not factored into the employee overall spend. The study found that full-time employees cost facilities 1.9 to 2.2 times their hourly wage. The report suggests that filling a shift with a full-time registered nurse is 33% higher than the cost of utilizing contingent labor. Organizations spend 26% more on full-time nursing assistants vs the higher hourly wage from a staffing agency, according to the report.1

Some Long-Term Care and Skilled Nursing Facilities leaders are divided on the issue of staffing. Some prefer to have full-time in-house workers as they believe it provides a better environment for their residents, relationships amongst co-workers to drive the team environment and that the higher hourly wage for contingent workers balances out the perks for full-time. Other leaders in these same industries boast that contingency staffing solutions have helped their organizations increase census counts higher than pre-pandemic levels, providing excellent care with a fully staffed team and helping their operating margins.1 Staffing shortages and lack of full-time nurses are still looming over PAC centers across the country and contingency staffing could serve as a long-term solution for many facilities.

Premier Workforce Solutions has recruiting, and HR services specialized in the Post-acute Care industry that can assist you with your current business challenges. If you would like to learn more about contingency staffing options in the clinical setting or need assistance with full time staff recruitment reach out to us today! We have the solutions.