Following the pandemic, Florida hospitals and health care systems continue to face critical workforce shortages, exponential growth in labor costs, and dependency on temporary staffing. The dramatic rise in hospital labor costs—combined with inflation and significant losses in hospital budget reserves from the stock market decline—increases the financial strain on hospitals. Hospitals have seen historically high turnover rates among nurses of over 32%, and based on a 2021 FHA analysis, the state faces an overall shortage of 59,000 nurses by 2035.
The current market requires hospitals to enact extraordinary measures to retain staff and fill vacancies, including salary market adjustments to address the value of labor under current economic conditions. Hospitals are also implementing new policies and procedures to support their health care teams and increase retention, including maximizing the skills of every team member and leveraging technology to reduce administrative burdens.
2023 Legislative Priorities
1. Address the double-digit nurse vacancy rate and shortage by supporting policies that:
- Increase nurse faculty, educational capacity, professional development, and innovative models to support career ladders.
- Increase retention through expanded preceptors and apprenticeships needed for transitioning to practice models.
- Support efforts to secure additional resources for workforce development for nurses, respiratory therapists, technicians, and other specialized care providers.
- Support efforts to ensure health care professionals can practice at the top of their license.
- Promote fair and equitable practices for agency/contract staffing used to supplement fluctuating staffing needs.
2. Support housing programs that are designed to promote homeownership for the health care workforce.
3. Mitigate violence against health care workers by:
- Extending enhanced workplace violence protections for health care providers beyond the hospital emergency department.