How interesting that the entire article is all about how lucrative travel agencies are...... for the owners of the travel agencies! And what great timing the owners had to be cashing in on "the shortage". Not a word about any benefit to the nurses whom they stable.
Im sure the NURSES who work for these agencies arent being paid a SIXFOLD increase in wages or benefits while the agency owners are raking those hundreds of millions of $$$ on our backs.
How interesting that the owner is a former state legislator. I wonder what he knew. Good thing he's not STILL a legislator. He might not want to see the nursing "shortage" solved. Hmmm.... thats a thought. I wonder if any of these agencies are trying to make sure the nursing "shortage" ISNT solved. Might just put them out of business. This guy's travel company managed to earn $518 MILLION for him just last year!! $518 MILLION $$$$ for passing nurses around to hospitals every few weeks. And what % of those hundreds of millions did the NURSES who did the work get?
It makes me sick........
March 2, 2002
San Diego Union Tribune
"Filling the need for nurses
Companies profit as they respond to shortage
As hospitals and health-care administrators scramble to deal with a widespread shortage of nurses, a number of companies have emerged to capitalize on the deficiency.
Companies such as San Diego-based AMN Healthcare Services have built a strong business out of supplying temporary nurses to hospitals suffering from a shortage of qualified staffers.By bolstering its roster of nurses and their number of assignments, AMN has seen its revenue grow nearly SIXFOLD during the past three years.
The demand for nursing services has been so strong that AMN and a competitor, Cross Country Inc. of Boca Raton, Fla., were able to buck the weak market for public stock offerings last year.
AMN went public Nov. 13, raising $175 MILLION. Its shares closed yesterday at $25.95, up more than 52 percent from the $17 offering price. Cross Country, which went public Oct. 25, closed yesterday at $26.64, up more than 56 percent from its IPO.
Riding the current bullish wave surrounding the industry, Medical Staffing Network, also in Boca Raton, filed for a public offering in early February.
Since the late 1990s, Wall Street had viewed health care skeptically, but lately the industry has shown signs of life. And for nurse staffing companies, the time has been ripe for investors.
"Right now, AMN is positioned in one of the hottest sectors," said Robert Mains, a health-care analyst at Advest Group in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., a minority underwriter in AMN's public offering.
Fueling such sentiments is a nationwide nursing shortage that experts say is going to get worse because of a shrinking supply of nurses and an expanding need for them.
Unlike some of its competitors, AMN deals only with travel nurses, not per-diem nurses. A per-diem nurse's assignments can last as little as one shift, but travel nurses typically work on 13-week contracts. They can also crisscross the country, going from one assignment to another.
Travel nurses are not a long-term solution for the nursing shortage, but the demand is so great that hospitals have no choice but to use them, said Ann Davis, a vice president with the Sharp HealthCare hospital system.
Sharp typically uses about 100 travel nurses at any time, including 80 from AMN, Davis said.
"The thing that works nicely is they're here for a 13-week contract . . . and if you need supplemental staff, it's better to have them in, have them oriented and have them stay for a length of time," Davis said.
Founded in 1985 by Steven C. Francis and his wife, Gayle, AMN was headquartered in Las Vegas before the couple moved it to San Diego two years later. Steven Francis is a former Nevada state assemblyman.
The company now operates five brands: American Mobile Healthcare, Medical Express, Preferred Healthcare Staffing, Nurses Rx and O'Grady-Peyton International.
During 2001, AMN had revenue of $517.8 MILLION, a nearly SIXFOLD increase from $87.7 million in 1998. AMN has 25,000 nurses in its database, of whom 6,883 were on assignment during the fourth quarter of 2001, up from 4,048 in the year-before period. AMN has 800 corporate employees, including 550 locally.
Haas Wheat & Partners, an equity fund based in Dallas, has a 65 percent ownership stake in the company.
The company contracts with 2,500 hospitals in 50 states, constituting 40 percent of all acute-care hospitals and half of all acute-care beds in the country, making it the biggest travel-nurse company in the nation, AMN officials said.
Although Francis said that "the health of our industry isn't just reliant on the nursing shortage," the shortage obviously was a major factor in the company's decision to go public when it did.
During the fall, when AMN and Cross Country went public, Wall Street was enduring one of its worst years for IPOs. Just 87 IPOs were completed in 2001, the fewest since 1979. In September, there were no public offerings, as the effects of terrorist attacks and a deteriorating economy rattled the markets.
While hospitals have always had to deal with staffing shortages, what makes the current shortage opportune for companies like AMN is its magnitude and the fact that no short-term solutions are in sight, analysts said.
The dilemma is this: There has been an exodus of nurses from the profession, and fewer students are choosing the field. At the same time, as baby boomers grow older, there is an increasing need for nurses.
"In the past, there was a feeling the industry would right itself," but that is no longer true, said Mains of Advest.
This year, the Federation of American Hospitals and the American Hospital Association said one out of seven hospitals nationwide reported having more than 20 percent of their registered-nursing positions unfilled.
While hospitals have offered significant bonuses and recruited nurses from outside the United States, those measures have shown only marginal benefits.
Similarly, the effects of the recent nurse-to-patient ratio requirements established by California are unclear. While nursing officials hail it as a major step toward easing staffing problems, hospital administrators warn that there isn't a large-enough pool of nurses from which to hire. As a result, hospitals may have to mothball beds to meet the requirements.
In the meantime, hospitals have increasingly relied on nurse staffing companies to fill the holes.
Hospitals spent $7.2 billion in 2000 for temporary employees, the majority of whom were nurses, according to the Staffing Industry Report, an industry newsletter. For 2002, it estimated that spending will increase to $10.6 billion.
The current shortage has resulted in more nurses going into the travel-nurse sector, Francis said.
"They're able to get higher pay rates because there's a demand . . . but there's also more opportunity for them," he said. "When you think about it, you can go anywhere in the country and work."
AMN charges hospitals an average of about $45 an hour for its nurses and pays the nurses about $29. AMN also pays for its nurses' housing and health insurance and offers 401(k) benefits.>>>
so lets see if we have it right - this one travel company made $518 MILLION dollars last year alone & the RN made just $29/hr in California. I know travel nurses who say they are offered less than $18-$25/hr so I suppose they should be happy with the $29/hr this company sometimes pays, huh? Thats not even new grad ADN salary in my city. And we get free healthcare & 401K too. Its a disgrace. What these agencies are doing is a travesty for nurses. These people are becoming millionaires off the backs of nurses. Same as hospital executives.
We should all become independent contractors and cut out the middle man. WE have the skills that are in demand. Why shouldnt WE be the ones earning the big bucks for those skills. Geez..... it never ends.
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