ASCs compete with Walmart, Target and others for staff as minimum wage jumps

Surgery centers, hospitals and medical groups are used to competing with each other for nursing staff. Now, Walmart, Target, Amazon and other retailers are vying for the same personnel and willing to pay high wages.

ASC administrators across the U.S. cited staffing as their top concern in 2022, especially as other organizations offer wage increases and sign-on bonuses.

"In my area, staffing and nursing wages are very competitive," said Lianne McDowell, CEO and administrator of South Portland Surgical Center in Tualatin, Ore. "I've seen a big increase in wages for nurses. There is a lack of staffing and nursing, there is a lot of competition with the hospital benefits and wages that are really skyrocketing, not just 2 percent or 3 percent, but more like 20 percent to 30 percent increases."

Walmart raised its minimum wage for all workers to $12 per hour in September, with the average hourly wage being $16.40, according to a CNBC report report. CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance have plans to boost their minimum wage to $15 per hour. Target and Amazon also have minimum wages of $15 per hour, while the national minimum wage is $7.25.

This means office staff, and even nurses in some cases, can receive higher pay for entry-level jobs outside of healthcare. Bloomberg reported earlier this year healthcare providers are having a hard time recruiting for office jobs, technicians and other positions because competing industries are able to offer higher pay. The competition can be especially fierce in rural areas, the report noted.

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