(The Center Square) — US Senator Kevin Kramer said support for his proposal requiring more transparency in the travel nursing industry has expanded.
The North Dakota Republican announced his support for the Travel Nursing Agency Transparency Study Act (TNA)Q 4352).
The bill, which Cramer introduced last week, would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study and report to Congress “on business practices and the effects of employment agencies across the health care industry during the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a press release from Kramer’s office.
Senator Kramer’s bill has support from: American Hospital Association (AHA)And the American Healthcare Association (AHCA) / National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL)North Dakota Medical Association, North Dakota Hospital Association (NDHA), North Dakota Long-Term Care Association, National Rural Health Association, and Vizenet, you.
Kramer said he is grateful for the wide range of support.
“I appreciate the strong support from a wide range of healthcare industry stakeholders for the Travel Nursing Agency Transparency Study Act,” Senator Kramer said in a press release. Nurses work on the front lines and provide an essential service to our communities, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is reported that recruitment agencies are taking advantage of the demand created by the shortage of manpower, charging inflated rates, and keeping a large percentage of their own profits. These agencies’ business operations could have far-reaching implications for the quality of our healthcare system in rural America and should be reviewed. The Travel Nursing Agency Transparency Study Act ensures that these agencies’ business practices get the critical sunlight they need. We all deserve a better understanding.”
Kramer’s office says the health care industry was already suffering from a labor shortage before the coronavirus pandemic, especially in rural communities. His office says the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the problem.
Cramer worries that recruitment agencies are inflating prices and monopolizing the nursing workforce. He believes that this will negatively affect the health care system by increasing the cost of care as the nursing shortage worsens.
The Executive Director of the North Dakota Medical Association, Courtney Quibilly, believes Kramer’s bill will lower health care costs for Americans.
“The North Dakota Medical Association supports efforts to reduce health care costs and supports Senator Kramer’s efforts to analyze travel nursing agencies’ practices and how they affect health care and costs,” Quibelli said in a news release. This is a complex issue and deserves a closer look. The NDMA is grateful to Senator Kramer for being aware of the situation and for bringing this issue forward.”
The CEO of the National Rural Health Association, Alan Morgan, said the bill is important because of the need for more nurses in rural facilities.
“The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) commends Senator Cramer for introducing S. 4352, the Itinerant Nursing Agency Transparency Study Act, and directing the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the impact of an increase in nurses’ costs on providers,” Morgan said in the press release. In our historically disadvantaged rural communities, skyrocketing wages coupled with increased employment has created a crisis. NRHA urges Congress to act on this important legislation to understand the impact of mobile nurses on the rural health care workforce.”
Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), said the legislation would help living facilities.
“We commend Senator Kramer for introducing this important legislation to investigate travel nurse agency practices, and encourage members of Congress to support its swift passage,” Parkinson said in the press release. Nursing homes and assisted living communities face a historic workforce shortage, forcing many to turn to temporary staffing agencies in order to ensure residents have access to an adequate number of caregivers. However, many of these agencies charge two to three times more than pre-pandemic rates, depleting precious resources from long-term care facilities when we prefer investing in dedicated, dedicated caregivers. It’s time to highlight these travel nurse agencies.”