Cost Of Medical Equipment In Hospitals – For more than two years since the start of the CCID-19 pandemic, America’s hospitals and health systems have been on the front lines of caring for patients, comforting families and protecting communities.

, this epidemic has devastated hospitals and the health system and has put a huge strain on the country’s health workers. In this unprecedented era of public health, hospitals and health systems are facing many challenges, including chronic overcrowding and loss of revenue, as well as rising costs (See Figure #1).

Cost Of Medical Equipment In Hospitals

Hospitals and health systems have been proactive in responding to the surge of CCID-19 cases in this epidemic by increasing the number of treatments, hiring staff to meet the needs, acquiring and maintaining adequate equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect patients and staff and ensure that. important services and programs that continue to be available to patients and the communities they serve. However, these and other factors have led to billions of dollars in losses in the past two years for hospitals, and over 33% of hospitals are operating at negative margins.

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Recent surgeries caused by the delta and omicron variants have increased pressure on hospitals. During this operation, hospitals saw the number of patients with CCIDID-19 infection rise while other patient volumes fell, and patient acuity increased. This raised costs and increased financial pressure on hospitals. Also, the hospitals did not receive any government support through the CCIDID-19 Provider Relief Fund (PRF) to help reduce the increase in costs and loss of revenue during delta and omicron operations. This is despite the fact that more than half of CCID-19 hospitalizations have occurred since July 1, 2021, during the two most recent CCID-19 outbreaks.

At the same time, patient acuity has increased, as measured by how long patients want to stay in hospital. The increase in acuity is due to the difficulty of CCID-19 care, as well as the treatment of patients who may have neglected care during the epidemic. The average length of stay of a patient increased 9.9% at the end of 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Since hospitals treat patients who need more treatment, they must also ensure that adequate staff are available to care for these patients, and they must have access to affordable drugs and medical supplies to provide high-quality care. As a result, all hospital costs have increased.

Data from Kaufman Hall, a consulting company that tracks hospital financial metrics, shows that by the end of 2021, hospital costs have risen by 11% compared to the pre-epidemic level in 2019. , hospital costs per patient have increased significantly from the initial stage of the epidemic in all directions. (See Image #1)

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The epidemic has strained hospitals’ and health systems’ finances. Most hospitals operate on thin margins, so even a small increase in revenue can have a negative impact on performance, which can affect their ability to care for patients. This inflation has become difficult to bear in view of rising prices and growth in commodity prices. In fact, despite moderate growth in revenue compared to pre-pandemic levels, the average hospital operating margins were down 3.8% at the end of 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to Kaufman Hall. Further exacerbating the problem of hospitals is the reduction of Medicare sequestration and the increase of the payment below the increase of costs. For example, a study conducted by PINC found that for fiscal year 2022, hospitals received a 2.4% increase in their Medicare inpatient pay rate, while hospital staff increased 6.5%.

These levels of inflation and decline in operating margins are unsustainable. The report highlights the most pressing challenges facing hospitals and health systems, including:

Each of these issues separately presents special challenges to the hospital field. Taken together, they represent a potentially worst-case scenario for many organizations, institutions and industries. However, the fact that the nation’s hospitals and health systems continue to work in the face of the ongoing epidemic is a testament to their determination and strong commitment to their mission of helping patients and communities around the country.

Hospitals and health systems are the backbone of their communities. Their patients rely on them for care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hospitals are often the largest employers in their community, and large consumers of local services and goods. Additional support is needed to help ensure that hospitals have adequate resources to care for their communities.

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Hospital staff are central to the care system and often the most expensive for hospitals. It is not surprising then that even before the pandemic, labor costs – which include the costs associated with recruiting and retaining active staff, benefits and incentives – accounted for more than 50% of hospital costs. Therefore, even a small increase in these costs can have a significant impact on a hospital’s overall revenue and operating costs.

As the epidemic continued for more than two years, the number of health workers was high. A recent survey of healthcare professionals found that almost half of the respondents felt “devastated” and almost a quarter of the respondents said they expected to leave the healthcare sector.

This was shown by a significant and strong decrease in hospital staff, less than 100,000 staff from pre-pandemic.

At the height of the omicron operation, about 100, 400 or 30% of all US hospitals that report data to the government, indicated that they expected a shortage of staff during the week.

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This is a high percentage of hospitals that say staffing shortages have been consistent in delta and omicron surges.

The combination of fatigue of workers, few available workers, increasing patient acuity and the high demand for care especially during Delta and omicron surgery, has forced hospitals to turn to contract labor firms to help solve the shortage of workers.

Although hospitals have long worked with contract staffing firms to fill short-term staffing gaps, staffing shortages have increased reliance on contract workers, particularly contract or mobile registered nurses. Travel nurses are in high demand because they play an important role in the care of CCID-19 and non-CCID-19 patients and allow the hospital to meet the need for care, especially during epidemic operations.

According to a survey conducted by AMN Healthcare, one of the largest healthcare organizations in the country, 95% of healthcare facilities reported hiring staff from contract staffing firms during the pandemic.

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Staffing firms have increased their hiring of contract or travel nurses, indicating significant growth in their demand. According to data from EMSI/Hot Glass, there has been an increase of almost 120% in the establishment of contract jobs or travel nurses from the beginning of the epidemic in January 2019 to January 2022. (See Figure #2)

Similarly, hours worked by contract or travel nurses as a share of total hours worked by nurses in hospitals grew from 3.9% in January 2019 to 23.4% in January 2022, according to data from Syntellis Performance Solutions. (See Figure #3) In fact, one-quarter of hospitals met with one-third of their nurse hours accounted for by contract or travel nurses.

As the share of travel nurse hours has increased significantly compared to the pre-pandemic, so have the costs of paying travel nurses compared to the pre-pandemic level. In 2019, hospitals spent an average of 4.7% of their total revenue on nursing staffing contracts, which rose to an average of 38.6% in January 2022. (See Figure #3) The fourth quarter of hospitals – those who had to trust. disproportionately on contract nurse travel – saw their contract nurse travel costs exceed 50% of their total labor costs. In fact, while contract travel nurses accounted for 23.4% of total nursing hours in January 2022, they accounted for nearly 40% of nursing labor costs. (See Figure #3) This difference has grown significantly compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, indicating that higher rates charged by labor companies are the primary driver of hospital labor costs.

Data from Syntellis Performance Solutions shows a 213% increase in the hourly rates charged to hospitals and companies for travel nursing staff in January 2022 compared to the pre-pandemic level in January 2019. This is because unions took advantage of the situation and increased hourly rates. hospitals have contract nurses to travel more than the hourly rate they pay for traveling nurses. This effectively constitutes the “margin” maintained by the trade unions. During the pre-pandemic levels in 2019, the average “margin” saved by the staff of travel nurses is about 15%. As of January 2022, the average “margin” has grown to a staggering 62%. (See Image #4)

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These high “margins” have fueled huge growth in the salaries and profits of health care companies. Several staffing firms have reported significant growth in their revenue to $1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021.

This data shows that the growth of labor costs in hospitals and the health system was in large part due to the excessive costs paid by contract labor firms. By the end of 2021, hospital staff costs per patient were 19.1%

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