This excerpt taken from the THC 10-K filed Feb 27, 2007.
Nursing Shortage and Mandatory Nurse-Staffing Ratios. Factors that adversely affect our labor costs include the nationwide shortage of nurses and the enactment of state laws regarding nurse-staffing ratios. The national nursing shortage continues and remains more serious in key specialties and in certain geographic areas than others, including several areas in which we operate hospitals. The nursing shortage has become a significant operating issue to health care providers, including us, and has resulted in increased labor costs for nursing personnel. In addition, state-mandated nurse-staffing ratios in California affect not only our labor costs, but, if we are unable to hire the necessary number of nurses to meet the required ratios, they may also cause us to limit patient admissions with a corresponding adverse effect on our net operating revenues. The vast majority of hospitals in California, including our hospitals, are not at all times meeting the state-mandated nurse-staffing ratios. We have continued to improve our monthly compliance and strive to make continued improvements in 2007.
We cannot predict the degree to which we will be affected by the future availability or cost of nursing personnel, but we expect to continue to experience significant salary, wage and benefit pressures created by the nursing shortage throughout the country and escalation in state-mandated nurse-staffing ratios in California. In response to these trends, we have enhanced salaries, wages and benefits to recruit and retain nurses. In addition, we have been and may continue to be required to increase our use of temporary personnel, which is typically more expensive than hiring full-time or part-time employees. Significant efforts are being invested in workforce development with local schools of nursing and in recruitment of new graduates and experienced nurses.