Two-thirds of all health care systems are experiencing a labor shortage this year, up from 55% a year ago. Additionally, hospitals report 50% of all vacancies are for six months or more and account for many key positions, such as nursing, radiology, and pharmacy.
Forty-three percent of all hospitals have had to downsize this year. This figure is up from 25% from a year ago as cost containment is cited by 75% as a key issue.
To contain costs, hospitals report utilizing pay for performance and annual incentives as retention tools, with 33% increasing variable compensation levels the past two years to link rewards more closely to performance.
The more quantifiable performance measurements are now composed of a patient satisfaction factor of 80%, up 30% from last year. Other measured factors include more traditional income and revenue targets.
Health care systems are exploring other options for cost containment as well:
- 76% are redesigning business processes or integrating computer systems
- 71% are increasing marketing activities, up from 55% last year
- 43% are increasing employee contributions to insurance plans, including higher co-pays and deductibles
- 33% are outsourcing laundry service, up from 15% last year.
The survey revealed underutilized areas that may help hospitals cut cost and reduce turnover, among them:
- Only 50% use the internet as a recruiting tool
- Only 38% use achievement/spot awards
- Only 14% use retention awards in critical areas
The survey was completed with information from more than 200 hospitals nationwide. More information on Buck Consultants Corp, a subsidiary of Mellon Financial can be found at www.buckconsultants.com .