Behind the 'wage war' between ASCs and travel nurses

Between skyrocketing travel nurse pay and hospital sign-on bonuses, ASCs are struggling to recruit and retain nurses. 

Deb Meyer, RN, administrator of Skyline Surgery Center in Pocatello, Idaho, joined Becker's ASC Review to discuss how her center is managing the nures shortage. 

Editor's note: These responses were edited lightly for clarity and brevity. 

Q: How can ASCs thrive in a competitive market?

Deb Meyer: Innovation is key, specifically in case mix and staffing needs. ASCs should recruit different types of providers of all service lines and provide them with adequate time and staffing to ensure success. Currently, we are in a wage war due to healthcare worker shortages. Healthcare workers are in such demand and can get paid nearly quadruple to work as a traveler within their own communities. This makes finding loyal employees harder and harder. ASCs don't have the resources available to increase the wage to meet this competition. Finding new, safe ways to staff will help keep the physicians bringing patients to the ASC, the staff happy and the patients well taken care of. Skyline is training all registered nurses to first-assist during surgery. We empower our physicians and staff with a voice by educating and asking for their solutions to problems. Make administrators and management working managers. Offer a good work-life balance and stand by promises. And, most importantly, lobby for traveler pay caps!

Q: What major forces are deciding the future of healthcare?

DM: Increased operating costs with decreased resources, due to constant cuts in CMS and insurance procedure payments with the rising cost of staff, materials, medications and all other expenses. It is increasingly difficult to make money while the profit margin is constantly decreasing. If this trend continues, it will be impossible for independent practices and ASCs to survive. ASCs offer a valuable service to the communities they serve by providing high-quality services at affordable prices. Instead of decreasing funding for services offered and limiting service, i.e. total joints which were just removed for the CMS outpatient list in 2020, payers should be the driving force in pushing patient care out of expensive hospitals and hospital outpatient departments

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Webinars

Featured Whitepapers

Featured Podcast