Minnesota Hospital Association


October 25, 2022

MHA releases new findings that quantify startling financials and a spiking statewide workforce crisis 

With nearly 10,000 open positions, Minnesota hospital and health system financials are down significantly     

Oct. 24, 2022, Saint Paul, Minn.– The Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) released new data today that highlight plunging hospital and health system financials that are being exacerbated by the spiking health care staffing crisis. With an almost 250% one-year increase in job vacancy rates, a 172% decline in year over year financials for acute care hospitals, exponentially rising labor and supply costs, and the need to rely on temporary staffing, there is an intense strain on the state’s hospitals and health systems.    

“Our hospitals and health systems are committed to being there when Minnesotans need them, and they need help as the perfect storm - the financial effects of the pandemic and the workforce shortage - worsens with every passing day,” said Dr. Rahul Koranne, MHA president and CEO.     

The data represented in the 2022 MHA Workforce Report is based on a statewide analysis of MHA members, which includes Minnesota’s large health systems and small rural hospitals. Data shows:   ·       

  • The overall vacancy rate in 2022 is about 21%, compared to only about 6% in 2021.
  • More professionals within health care are opting for a part-time work schedule, making it more difficult for hospitals and health systems to meet operational needs. For the first time, more than half (57%) of registered nurses (RNs) are not working full-time. 
    • Overall, 44% of all hospital employees are less than full-time, up from 37% in 2016. 
    • This trend is higher among select professional groups, including: 
      • 68% of nursing station technicians 
      • 64% of certified nursing assistants 
    • Younger professionals are more likely to opt for part-time job status versus their more experienced colleagues. 
  • The operations and finances of Minnesota’s hospital and health systems are being additionally strained by retirements. 
    • Physicians are projected to be the top occupational group at or above retirement age within ten years, followed by licensed practical nurses (27%), and peri-anesthesia RNs (25.1%). 
    • This is on trend nationally. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reports that more than two of every five active physicians in the U.S. will be 65 or older within the next decade.   ·       
  • Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems have increased the number of black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) new hire representation by nearly 140% since 2016, striving towards a workforce that better reflects the communities we serve.      

The workforce crisis is compounding an already dire financial situation. In mid-2022, a MHA analysis of acute care hospitals in the state found that the median hospital and health system operating margin for the first and second quarter of 2022 was -1.5% versus 2.2% in 2021, a 172% drop year over year. This is estimated to be more than $200 million in losses.    

“We must secure immediate support and form innovative partnerships to recruit, retain, train, and engage a strong workforce that will be able to care for Minnesota’s future generations,” said Koranne. “As we continue to see our nonprofit hospitals and health systems - the 24/7/365 epicenters of health in our communities - in increasing distress, the time has come for our lawmakers to intervene before matters get even worse.”     

MHA advocates for: 

  • Legislative partnership in rethinking government reimbursements. Medicare reimburses hospitals at 20% below cost on average, and Medicaid at 27% below cost, creating a financial model where the math just does not add up. 
  • Loan forgiveness and scholarships for students in all areas of health care, including allied health professionals. 
  • Significant investment to build the health care workforce pipeline, including programs for career laddering and exposing students to health care careers at an earlier age.
  • Accelerated entry into the professional workforce through simplification of the administrative processes at the health care licensing boards.       

Rebuilding the health care workforce remains a primary area of focus for MHA. MHA will continue to assist its members in addressing this critical challenge through service, advocacy, and data-led improvement.       

View the full 2022 MHA Health Care Workforce Report here.     

About the Data: MHA member hospitals and health systems are asked to submit data annually on age, gender, race, and ethnicity for 40 direct patient care jobs in their hospitals, clinics, laboratories, emergency response settings, and outpatient services. The data in this report reflects workers employed through Dec. 31, 2021. The report represents a synopsis of health care workforce data collected by MHA to illustrate benchmarks and trends hospitals and health systems utilize to perform strategic workforce analysis and make decisions on how to support health care staff.      

Operating Margin: A positive operating margin is necessary to ensure a robust statewide system of care continues to serve patients, continue as the community's lifeline, and attract and retain a skilled workforce.    


 About MHA     

 The Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) represents Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems, which employ more than 127,000 people, provide high-quality care for patients, and meet the needs of communities. Since 1917, MHA has worked to provide Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems with the resources, best practices, and guidance to provide an exceptional patient experience and high-quality, affordable care that extends beyond the hospital’s walls.