Nearly 200 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients on Jan. 24 requesting action to investigate the potentially anti-competitive activity of some nurse staffing agencies.
The letter, led by Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), emphasized the strains the omicron variant has put on the health system, particularly as it relates to workforce shortages. The letter noted that some hospitals are reporting behavior by nurse staffing agencies that inflates prices vastly higher than pre-pandemic rates, which negatively impacts hospitals’ ability to appropriately staff their facilities. “We are writing because of our concerns that certain nurse-staffing agencies are taking advantage of these difficult circumstances to increase their profits at the expense of patients and the hospitals that treat them,” the letter stated.
The members urged Zients to “enlist one or more of the federal agencies with competition and consumer protection authority to investigate this conduct to determine if it is the product of anticompetitive activity and/or violates consumer protection laws.”
“We urge you to ensure that this issue gets the attention from the federal government it merits to protect patients in dire need of life-saving health care treatment and prevent conduct that is exacerbating the shortage of nurses and straining the health care system,” the letter concluded.