ISM: Economic Activity in Hospital Subsector Grows in December Despite PPE, Staffing Challenges

Economic activity in the hospital subsector grew in December for the seventh consecutive month, according to the latest Hospital ISM Report on Business from the Institute for Supply Management.

“The Hospital PMI registered 62.6 percent in December, unchanged from November. This was the seventh month of growth following two months of contraction,” Nancy LeMaster, MBA, chair of the Institute for Supply Management’s hospital business survey committee, said. “The Business Activity, New Orders and Backlog of Orders indexes grew in December, while the Employment Index contracted. The Case Mix Index decreased to 62 percent, down 0.5 percentage point compared to the November reading of 62.5 percent. The Days Payable Outstanding Index increased to 52.5 percent, up 1.5 percentage points from the November reading of 51 percent. The Technology Spend Index registered 52 percent, a decrease of six percentage points from the November reading of 58 percent.

“December comments from business survey committee panelists echoed and reinforced the same issues highlighted in November. COVID-19 spikes account for most of patient volumes and elective procedures are once again being delayed due to lack of capacity. Availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) continues to be a challenge, but staffing has become an even bigger issue. Such comments as, ‘Having a difficult time finding employees, especially environmental services department (EVS) and other support staff’ and ‘COVID-19 burnout is causing vacancies across the system’ were typical,” LeMaster said.

Hospital PMI History

Month Hospital PMI Month Hospital PMI
Dec 2020 62.6 Jun 2020 63.6
Nov 2020 62.6 May 2020 45.1
Oct 2020 63.0 Apr 2020 46.9
Sep 2020 63.3 Mar 2020 63.8
Aug 2020 63.8 Feb 2020 59.4
Jul 2020 68.9 Jan 2020 57.4
Average for 12 months – 60.0

High – 68.9

Low – 45.1


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