Monday afternoon, Ballad announced it will invest ten million dollars annually to increase nurses wages, which will hopefully attract more nurses to the region. Ballad Health also revealed they are a part of dealing with a national nursing shortage problem.
Ballad Health says this leads hospitals to hire out of town temporary staff or ask nurses to take on extra shifts.
“There is a national shortage of nurses,” said Alan Levine, Ballad Health CEO. “It’s a serious shortage and because of the shortage nurses have had to take on various workloads.”
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports a 3.7 percent increase in entry-level nursing students, which is not enough to keep up with demand.
The Association estimates a need for more than two hundred thousand new nurses every year through 2026.
Ballad Health says the problem is even worse in rural areas like the Tri-Cities.
“We have a very mobile population today and we live in a rural area, so its often hard to recruit nurses into our environment,” said Lisa SmithGall, Ballad Health Chief Nursing Officer.
The decision to increase nurses wages came at the beginning of National Nurse Week, ringing in good news to nurses across the region.
“The nursing team is very excited to be able to be rewarded with additional funds for the work that they do on a daily basis,” Lisa SmithGall, Ballad Health Chief Nursing Officer. “They care a lot about their patients. They invest a lot about themselves in their patient care.”
Ballad Health’s CEO said the pay raises were made possible because of the merger which formed the company and improved efficiency and because of a recent change by the Trump Administration in the way rural hospitals get Medicaid funding.
The company said the wage increases will go into effect on June 23 for current nursing employees.