Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves Congress, Nurses and Money.
A letter was signed in January by Represenatives Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), and nearly 200 other members of Congress nationwide called on White House officials to investigate nurse staffing agency conduct over the course of the pandemic.
The letter comes days after the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, LeadingAge and a coalition of long-term care and senior living organizations sent a similar letters to White House officials asking something be done to hold these agencies accountable and prohibit them from “taking advantage” of providers.
“We are writing because of our concerns that certain nurse-staffing agencies are taking advantage of these difficult circumstances to increase their profits at the expense of patients and the hospitals that treat them,” According to the letter. “We urge you to enlist one or more of the federal agencies with competition and consumer protection authority to investigate this conduct to determine if it is the product of anticompetitive activity and/or violates consumer protection laws.”
As private organizations, nurse staffing agencies aren’t regulated by the federal government in terms of pricing strategies unless the FTC, or another federal agency, establishes a rule against anticompetitive pricing.
According to the letter! Nurse staff agencies are charging exorbitant prices to health providers still recovering from COVID with some charging “three or more times pre-pandemic rates” for nursing staff that these facilities desperately need at this time.
This is not the first time federal agencies have been called on to address the issue with the Advancing Excellence in Long-Term Care Collaborative and American Health Care Association both urging the Federal Trade Commission to look into the issue last year; some think this latest push could be just what is needed. Both pleas were made as the industry has lost close to 420,000 employees since February 2020, according to LeadingAge.
This issue has caused huge backlash from nurses nationwide, so much that a protest of the bill is happening in May of 2022 called the Million Nurse March, it has also sparked a much needed debate about racism and economics in the healthcare field with more than 200,000 nurses vowing to quit the profession entirely.