The nationwide vacancy rate for nurses is expected to climb to 29% by 2020 from about 6% today, continuing to strain hospitals' finances and inhibiting improvements in credit quality, according to Fitch Ratings. The supply-and-demand curve will worsen as retiring nurses outnumber replacements, and pressure for higher salaries and more generous benefits will grow, Fitch said. Meanwhile, gains in operations are likely to be offset by higher labor, pension, insurance and supply costs. Because of this, hospitals addressing the nursing issue today by recruiting foreign nurses and improving compensation will not see the payoff in credit quality and profitability for years, Fitch said. A copy of the report is available on Fitch's Web site, www.fitchratings.com. -- by Patrick Reilly
Nursing shortage will dampen credit ratings: Fitch
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