Hospital Executives See Bigger Labor Budgets, Lower Operating Expenses in Healthcare's Future

Healthcare Finance News

As the physician shortage continues to worsen and cause labor problems in the healthcare industry, hospital executives are anticipating higher labor budgets over the next year, according to a new Guidehouse analysis.

Looking at data from the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the findings also indicate that leaders will try to reduce operating expenses by looking at improvements in labor and supply chain.

Of the 101 health executives surveyed, 43% said nursing shortages are worse than at this time last year, with 27% claiming the situation has actually improved. The news is only slightly more encouraging on the physician side, with 35% saying the problem is worse, and 20% claiming it's better,

The same percentage, 35%, say shortages of mental health providers have gotten worse, while just 10% say things are better than they were last year. The problem even extends to revenue cycle management and coding experts, with 20% saying those shortages are worsening.

Where most executives found common ground was in labor budgets, with 78% expecting they're going to increase over the coming year, and 18% projecting increases of 5% or more. Just 14% of execs say their labor budgets will decrease.

When it came to reducing expenses, 44% of executives said labor will be a top priority, with 38% citing supply chain. Overall, productivity topped the list of labor management initiatives that will be made a focus over the coming year.

Earlier this year, home health aides topped the list of healthcare jobs likely to face the biggest shortages by 2025, with a predicted shortfall of 446,300 in seven years' time, according to a Mercer analysis. That's far and away the most of any healthcare job. Nursing assistants came in a distant second at 95,000.

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