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COVID-19 Accelerates Nurse Shortage

More South Florida hospitals are struggling to find workers for key positions, and the cost of providing health care could rise sharply as a result. 

The labor shortage has hit many industries during the Covid-19 pandemic, but few have felt it as acutely as hospitals. They already faced a nursing shortage, and the long, grueling hours of caring for patients during the health crisis only made it worse. Meanwhile, other staff positions have also become challenging to fill. 

To help retain and recruit workers, hospitals raised wages. But that will ultimately impact businesses through higher health insurance premiums. Companies could also struggle with employees who are out sick for longer periods because they can’t schedule doctor appointments quickly due to the shortage of hospital workers. 

Attorney Doug Wolfe, a partner at Miami-based Wolfe Pincavage who represents many hospital and health care systems, said the staffing shortages have driven up labor costs and reduced revenues because some providers had to cancel elective procedures for lack of medical staff. These costs will eventually be passed on to the insurance plans through contract negotiations and patients who pay out of pocket, he said.