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‘Unsustainable’ Squeeze Grips U.S. Hospitals on Covid Labor Cost

  • HCA, Universal Health cite labor in disappointing earnings
  • Costly travel nursing making up bigger share of staffing
Healthcare workers treat a Covid-19 patient on the Intensive Care Unit at a hospital in Hartford, Connecticut.
Healthcare workers treat a Covid-19 patient on the Intensive Care Unit at a hospital in Hartford, Connecticut.Photographer: Allison Dinner/Bloomberg
Updated on

Hospitals are starting to emerge from the worst of Covid-19, but one consequence has persisted: They still have to pay workers more. 

HCA Healthcare Inc. and Universal Health Services Inc., two of the largest U.S. for-profit hospital chains, each warned this month that the price of labor could continue to eat into their profits. While executives say costs should eventually subside as Covid dies down, by how much and when remains to be seen.