HAP's Latest News

How COVID-19 Changed Health Care

New Kaufman Hall survey evaluates workforce and supply chain hurdles

October 20, 2022

The pandemic may have been a “turning point” that shifted patient care to outpatient, online, and home settings, while accelerating workforce challenges across U.S. hospitals.

A new survey released this week from analyst Kaufman Hall focuses on the ways rising costs, workforce shortages, and supply chain disruptions challenged the nation’s hospitals. The survey also identifies the solutions that have helped hospitals respond to these mounting pressures.

“2022 is proving to be the most difficult year financially for healthcare providers since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020,” the report notes. “Staffing shortages, skyrocketing labor costs, continuing supply chain disruptions, inflation, rising interest rates, and volatile markets are pressuring both revenue and expenses.”

Among the key takeaways from the report:

  • Recruitment strategies:  All respondents adopted at least one recruitment and retention strategy, such as raising salaries (98%), signing bonuses (84%), remote or hybrid work opportunities (76%), and retention bonuses (73%).
  • Declining Capacity:  About 66 percent of respondents reported having to run facilities at less than full capacity due to staffing shortages. Nearly 70 percent of respondents reported an increase in length of stay, with most reporting challenges making discharges to post-acute facilities.
  • Volumes:  Oncology was the only service line to show significant volume increases from the 2021 survey. Emergency department, radiology, and pediatric volumes were mostly unchanged. Orthopedics, cardiology, and neurosurgery showed significant declines in volume.
  • Supply chain woes:  The top reported supply chain disruptions were distribution delays (71%), issues with raw product and sourcing availability (58%), and reliance on non-domestic suppliers (50%).
  • Contract labor:  About 44 percent of respondents reported use of contract labor was decreasing, while smaller shares reported it was holding steady (29%) or increasing (27%).

“The pandemic did nothing to slow the trend of cases moving from inpatient to outpatient settings and may have even accelerated it,” the report notes.

HAP applauds Pennsylvania hospitals for their vital contributions to their communities, while highlighting the financial pressures they have faced during 2022. Learn more about Pennsylvania hospitals’ economic impact.

The Kaufman Hall report features insights from hospital and health system leaders from around the country, as well as action items to enhance performance. The report is available to review online.