The Cost of Inflation

April 25, 2022
If you’ve filled up your gas tank lately or bought groceries for your family, it’s clear inflation has driven up costs significantly.

The steep and sudden rise in inflation—an estimated 8.5% according to the Consumer Price Index—takes a toll on your hospitals as well. Everything you use to care for your patients is more costly now. That includes personnel and everything from PPE to electricity and food. 

MHA’s labor cost survey shows the average hourly wage for nurses has risen 16% in the last 12 months. Patient care associate wages are up 18%. 

And spending on contract labor keeps climbing, reaching $97 million across all our hospitals in February. Pre-pandemic, that line item was about one-eighth as much. 

When you operate under capped revenues and earn margins that are more modest than hospitals enjoy in the rest of the U.S., all these added costs take a toll. That is especially true after more than two years of costs associated with fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, MHA shared a new paper with the Health Services Cost Review Commission to make clear the immense cost pressures Maryland hospitals are under. We’re asking the Commission to consider your real costs fully when it determines the rate update due to take effect July 1. 

Nothing about the past two years has been easy. This latest challenge will require hospitals to use every available tool to manage costs. At MHA, we’ll continue to advocate for funding and policies that support your financial viability both short- and long-term.

Bob Atlas
President & CEO
  • 2022
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