January 9, 2023

Hospitals implement internal staffing agencies as solution to shortages

By: Bridget Brown

Editor's Note

Hospitals and healthcare systems across the nation continue to face the staffing challenges which emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, reports January 9 Becker’s Hospital Review. This issue is a top priority for healthcare leaders who want to maintain adequate staffing in order to provide the best patient care.

An October report from Definitive healthcare found that 333,942 healthcare providers dropped out of the workforce due to retirement or external stressors in 2021. Another survey from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses found that 67% of nurses plan to leave their role within 3 years. In a ConnectRN poll, 60% of nurses said they don’t believe their employers are doing enough to mitigate the shortages.

Hospitals are attempting to find innovative ways to solve this problem without facing the substantial costs that stems from reliance on travel staff. One idea that has recently garnered attention is implementing internal staffing agencies.

An example of this initiative comes from Livonia, Michigan-based Trinity Health, an 88-hospital system, which launched its own internal staffing agency before the pandemic. The program helped Trinity staff hospitals that were especially in need.

"We saw a huge opportunity to create our own staffing agency, which includes about 2,000 nurses," said CEO Mike Slubowski. “It was very helpful at points where we needed external support and it was a way to retain nurses who were going to leave because they were seeking more flexible arrangements."

Health systems across the country are launching their own staffing agencies, including Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Health Network, Philadelphia-based Jefferson Health, Atlanta-based Piedmont Healthcare and Detroit-based Henry Ford Health.

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