Lawmakers Calling for Investigation Into Nurse Staffing Agencies
Beverly Cantrell - February 13, 2022 9:31 pm
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — Lawmakers are calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate certain hospital staffing agencies claiming they’re taking advantage of the pandemic and nursing shortage to make a profit.
“Some of these agencies have inflated what they would a normally charge for an agency or temporary nurse to help out and a lot of that money has not been passed on to the nurses,” said State Representative Cynthia Roe, who chairs the public health committee.
Roe says she supports the calls for an investigation.
Three members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation joined a bipartisan group of nearly 200 other members of Congress to send a letter to the White House COVID-19 Response Team coordinator, but many nurses across the country worry this investigation will lead to a limit of how much they make.
“It wasn’t even COVID that was rough, it was more of a staffing issue, and not being treated how I felt like I deserve to be treated as a nurse, and not getting breaks, not even urinating in a 12 hour shift. It’s been awful,” said Lindsey Walker, a traveling nurse.
Representative Roe, a registered nurse herself now responding to those concerns.
“The point of that letter was not to put a cap on nurses salary, it’s just simply asking them to look at entities that may be inflating their cost to hospitals to provide temporary staffing,” said Rep. Roe.
The American Hospital Association says labor costs have jumped 84% since 2019 making it hard for hospitals to keep their doors open.
“It’s taking everything they’ve got and then some, to try and meet their needs and when you have a hospital that has to utilize agencies, when they start increasing that price to them it’s going to put a lot of them in trouble,” said Rep. Roe.
The White House COVID-19 Response Team coordinator has yet to respond to the letter requesting the investigation.