ASC staffing pressures ease, for some

Staffing woes surgery centers have experienced since March 2020 when the pandemic began may finally be turning around as travel nursing stabilizes and people are more comfortable returning to in-person work.

Many hospitals that leveraged travel nurses during the pandemic are decreasing their utilization, and fewer are giving seven-figure sign-on bonuses to new nurses. ASCs couldn't compete with the pay scale of travelers or hospital-based nurses in the last few years, but are now in a great spot to recruit those who are burnt out from the pressures of traveling or working in the hospital.

Surgery Partners reduced premium labor as a percentage of salaries, wages and benefits in most markets as the demand for contract labor dropped in the last year, company executives said during a March 1 earnings call, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha.

The company is also bullish on recruiting and retaining talent in the near future.

"Our favorable workplace environment allows us to recruit faster and is a key enabler to maintain the high clinical quality and exceptional patient experience we are known for in the communities we serve," said Eric Evans, CEO of Surgery Partners. "When we do experience turnover in our facilities, we are able to fill the jobs posted in approximately 30 days on average."

But not everyone is feeling workforce pressures ease. Curt Collins, COO of Palmetto Surgery Center in Columbia, S.C., told Becker's staffing was the top issue he's worried about.

"It seems that more and more healthcare professionals are still traveling, which takes away the opportunity to attract local talent," he said. "This makes it difficult to operate safely at full surgical capacity, especially since we have 38 surgeons on our medical staff that want time."


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