HOSPITALS: Housing Is Key Issue in Recruiting Staff
Faced with a tight labor market and steep residential prices, some hospitals are finding themselves forced to take the unusual step of building housing in order to attract and retain medical staff. The Wall Street Journal reports that the booming economy has sent real estate prices skyrocketing in places such as New York and California, making it nearly impossible for middle-income workers like interns and nurses to find affordable places to live. That makes it difficult for hospitals in those areas to attract quality staff. As a result, some are spending scarce funds to build apartments and houses instead of buying new technologies or putting up medical buildings. For instance, Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York -- where housing is so expensive that some employees must spend almost half their paychecks on rent -- plans to build a 300-unit apartment tower on nearby Roosevelt Island. Stanford Medical Center, located in the heart of pricey Silicon Valley, is seeking community approval to build a 300-unit apartment complex for interns and residents on its campus. When resources cannot be found for such ambitious projects, though, some administrators turn to more creative solutions: Nantucket Cottage Hospital asks residents of the upscale Massachusetts island to leave their homes to the hospital when they die. "I couldn't have taken the job if the hospital hadn't offered me a house," Nantucket Dr. Ted LaRochelle said (Sandler, 12/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.