State budget crunches push hospitals to cut more staff

Courtesy of the withering U.S. recession, hospitals have been forced to cut staff to the bone over the past year or two. But given state budget issues, they're probably not done, sadly enough.

Right now, states across the U.S. are facing budget shortfalls that are likely to lead to cuts in already-skinny Medicaid reimbursement. And that's likely to mean even more staff cuts for hospitals, observers say.

Examples of the budget problem include Pennsylvania, where hospitals are facing a $280 million payment cut, and New York, where another Medicaid hatchet job seems to be on the way.

Perhaps the only benefit of the ongoing squeeze is that the nursing shortage is no longer as big a problem as it was. With prospects shaky in the marketplace, nurses are staying on the job. And with fewer vacancies, hospitals are not paying through the nose for nurse agency staffing, experts note.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this Healthcare Finance News piece