A nurse works in the St. Luke’s Meridian COVID-19 intensive care unit in early November.

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Despite changes to policy and rules, Idaho health systems still face significant challenges in recruiting out-of-state nurses to fill gaps during the novel coronavirus pandemic, writes Idaho Press reporter Tommy Simmons. Health systems are struggling to staff hospitals. Staff members might be out sick, have to quarantine, or need to take care of kids or family members. Ordinarily, supplementing staff members with a traveling nurse might be a good option for hospitals.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of staffing agencies that connect hospitals with prospective nurses, said Brian Whitlock, president and CEO of the Idaho Hospital Association. But the current high demand for hospital staff across the country has made the process far more expensive, with hospitals facing costs that have jumped from as low as $25 per hour to as high as $200.

You can read Simmons' full story here at (subscription required), or pick up today's Idaho Press; it's on the front page.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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