In a probe led by House Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA), some 200 House members have asked the White House to investigate allegedly inflated costs being charged by nurse staffing agencies, according to the January 26 Becker’s Hospital CFO Report. In the investigation request, the House members are questioning if these agencies are breaking anticompetitive laws by raising prices in the face of increased demand during the pandemic, solely to increase profits.
Nursing agencies have seen an uptick in business, with hospitals seeking external staffing support as they deal with back-to-back surges of COVID-19 infections in the middle of a “dire workforce shortage.” With the increased stressors and burnout in the workplace, nurses are leaving permanent jobs to join temporary and/or travel agencies.
The higher pay is yet another incentive, with some agencies currently citing compensation close to $15,000 a week. Whereas before, the average salary for travel nursing would depend on factors such as location, demand, hospital type, and specialty, interested parties are now noticing increasing compensation rates that are “two, three, or more times pre-pandemic rates.”
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