It's no secret that the healthcare industry experienced unforeseen challenges that have driven innovation and adaptation in order to survive. Medical facilities have altered procedures and created new policies in order to accommodate massive influxes of patients and improve patient outcomes — but it certainly hasn't been easy, and there are still some common pain points that many organizations still deal with.
We are pleased to introduce Amanda Wheeler, RN, BSN, MBA, as HWL's new VP of InSourcing (IRP)! Amanda brings a wealth of experience in hospital workforce management, having played a key role in developing and implementing an Internal Resource Pool for WellStar Health System and Emory Healthcare. In addition, she has been a crucial stakeholder in managing contingent labor/MSP programs, standardizing and centralizing VMS, MSP, and internal staffing & scheduling solutions, and working closely with HR and Nursing leaders. Amanda is a member of several nursing associations, including Nursing & Healthcare Associations, and is Six Sigma Yellow Belt certified. Get to know Amanda below!
Healthcare has been undergoing major staffing upheavals for a very long time, even setting aside the exacerbations that have been felt over the past few years. But while some organizations have pivoted their strategies toward employee-centric retention and engagement models, others have struggled to retain costs.
The world of locum tenens is changing at a pace that most, if not all of us, probably have not seen in our careers. We are seeing many statements or surveys that show that upwards of 40-50%+ of all physicians and providers are doing or open to locums/moonlighting work, 30-40%+ are moving to a locums lifestyle for a work life balance or to supplement their income, and that certain specialties are seeing spikes in utilization so are creating crisis level coverage issues driving department/unit closures or diversion of services.
The past few years have taught healthcare organizations to expect the unexpected. While this is certainly easier said than done, one of the most effective ways to prepare for unseen threats is to develop a strategic plan that covers how to implement and manage a rapid response/surge staffing program.
Since the Coronavirus Pandemic, many healthcare organizations have turned to utilizing contingent staff to fill gaps wherever necessary. Despite the decrease in virus cases, it appears that contingent workers — particularly in nursing — are here to stay in the post-COVID era.
Bill Rates for travel healthcare professionals are beginning to stabilize for the first time since 2019. The immediate need for Registered Nurses (RN) at the beginning and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic put intense pressure on hospitals to fill vacancies, regardless of the hit their facilities took to their budget. Demand for staff during the pandemic skyrocketed, and most hospitals due to high vacancy rates of permanent staff needed to meet the demand by using outside staffing agencies. With few options hospitals turned to agencies to supply the nurses their hospitals so desperately needed. With bill rates rapidly increasing, questions began to swirl around what percent of bill rates are going to staff pay packages. The answers to those questions proved elusive.
One of the more significant rippling effects of the coronavirus pandemic, even in the post-COVID era, has been a greater focus on employee retention. Within that scope, there has been greater emphasis placed on attracting quality talent and ensuring all workers feel fulfilled to complete their jobs successfully.
Kaufman Hall, a well-known management consulting firm, and Syntellis, a healthcare data and intelligence solution organization, released the January 2023 National Hospital Flash Report. The insight provided in the report combines 2022 operating performance data from 900 hospitals nationwide. The National Hospital Flash report is intended to provide healthcare organizations with a granular view of how they are operating in everchanging market conditions with the hopes of providing insight to inspire solutions to hospital financial and operational challenges.
Even pre-pandemic, the healthcare industry as a whole had staffing shortages. But the past few years have exacerbated such pre-existing issues, often to the point where organizations of all sizes began pivoting and re-examining their hiring and employee retention practices. This has been particularly true when hiring nurses.
Talent Acquisition Optimization: A Progressive and Innovative Solution to Combating the Uncertainty of the Clinical Staffing Trends
The Pandemic swept the nation and revealed the extreme pressures placed on our country's healthcare delivery system. Healthcare provider organizations face a highly competitive market due to chronic labor shortages and burnt-out medical workers. Additionally, inflation and unsustainable market rates that have yet to stabilize are making for the perfect storm. As a result, hospitals are being forced to find solutions that are both progressive and innovative to combat this clinical staffing dynamic. Healthcare organizations must address labor shortages with more creativity and business intelligence than before the Pandemic to operate in the black.
HWL is thrilled to welcome Tommy Binner to our team as the Vice President of Business Development, with a special focus on Locum Tenens. Tommy joins HWL with several years’ experience in the healthcare field, as well as the technology field.
The past few years have dramatically changed the way we think about work. Whether it's the rise of the gig economy or the ubiquity of remote work, nearly every industry has been impacted by the ever-evolving labor landscape; and the healthcare industry is no exception.
In the past decades, the healthcare industry as a whole has seen unprecedented labor shortages, which were greatly exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. With record rates of burnout, the Great Resignation, and other factors seemingly outside of the industry's control, healthcare facilities have turned toward locum tenens to fill the gaps.
For the past few years, already-existing labor shortages in the healthcare space have been exacerbated by the pandemic, thus shifting the way facilities operate. Pre-pandemic, there were already ongoing discussions about nursing shortages. In its current state, industry projections state that shortages are slated to last until 2030, with a total supply of nurses decreasing by ~100,000 from 2020 to 2021, the largest drop in four decades.
Kaiser Health News (KHN) shared the news in December that a new workforce solution has attracted the eyes of leadership at many large healthcare organizations across the nation. An increasing number of health systems and medical facilities are creating internal agencies to staff their centers that are struggling with tremendous gaps in their clinical staff and a heavy reliance on travel nurses to fill those gaps. The reliance on travel nurses has created contingent staff costs that have skyrocketed through using the traditional staffing model that healthcare staffing companies offer. Without any cap on what staffing agencies can charge for nurse coverage, hospitals have paid what was asked to avoid any interruption in the care at their facilities. The agency markups are becoming detrimental to the organizations that desperately look to them for nurses.
The 2020s have been a decade of challenges and adversity for society as a whole. Healthcare has borne the brunt of these challenges as it was on the frontlines of many of these trials. Healthcare workers have pushed through many of the obstacles that were put in front of them over the last three years, beginning at the start of the Pandemic. Staff shortages, long hours with no breaks, delays in receiving necessary supplies, and overall low morale have brought forth new core challenges that we must continue to address nationwide as we enter 2023.
Recent years have seen the healthcare industry battling increasing obstacles, but according to multiple surveys and polls, from ACHE and MGMA respectively, staffing shortages remain the top concern of healthcare leaders. While staffing shortages have long plagued the industry, the rapidly rising agency rates for contract nurses and other staff are no longer sustainable for many organizations.