U.S. Hospitals Pushed to Financial Ruin as Nurses Quit During Pandemic

(Bloomberg) — The U.S. health-care profession is suffering its own Great Resignation, pushing more hospitals into financial distress just as a winter surge of the coronavirus hits.

Across the country, hospitals are buckling under the strain of nursing shortfalls and the spiraling cost of hiring replacements. For Watsonville Community Hospital on California’s Central Coast, those costs became too much to bear, and contributed to the facility’s bankruptcy this month, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The shortages are most acute at hospitals like Watsonville that rely on government funding to treat poorer patients, since they have fewer resources to compete against the rising cost of keeping staff. The situation adds to the stress facilities have already experienced responding to the early onset of the virus, just as the last of federal aid is being doled out.

“This is like survival stakes,” said Steven Shill, head of the health-care practice at advisory firm BDO USA. Winners are “whoever’s highest on the food chain and who has the biggest checkbook.” The staffing companies — agencies that provide nurses and other staff on a temporary basis — are “really, really, really gouging hospitals.”

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Source: MSN