Hospital Pricing Irks Nurses; More Jobs, Less Pay

Chelsea Rice, May 20, 2013

In this week's news: Explaining hospital pricing to employees, exploring the complicated relationship between healthcare jobs and spending, and protecting staff and employers with new social media laws in several states.

Employees and hospital pricing
The federal government's release of hospital pricing dataisn't only disruptive to hospital executives and consumers. At least one healthcare workers' union is crying foul. National Nurses United, one of the largest organized labor groups in the country, is criticizing hospitals about the high prices of care published in the hospital billing data from CMS this month.

"Hospitals should be providers of care, not loan sharks," said Deborah Burger, RN, co-president of NNU. "But we also know that price gouging is widespread throughout the health care industry, and that is a symbol of what is wrong with our profit-focused healthcare system, and why we need real reform."

Such strong language contributes to the palpable tension between employees and their employers, who under the weight of this data, some of it disconcerting, can't help but seem greedy.

If I were working at the hospital with the highest billing rates in the nation, or even at a hospital with higher rates than the rest of my community, I would want some explanation from leadership.
Employees are the face of a hospital's brand, if questions about pricing go unaddressed will they want to continue being stamped with yours?

Chelsea Rice Chelsea Rice is an associate editor for HealthLeaders Media. Twitter
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