Cost-Effective Recruiting Techniques

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Cost-Effective Recruiting Techniques

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining sufficient staffing levels to produce high-quality and consistent patient care was something that left many healthcare systems concerned about their bottom line. With the ever-rising shortage of providers and nursing salaries that continue to rise, it may feel virtually impossible to cut staffing costs while continuing to maintain satisfactory levels of patient care. 

While the challenges facing those charged with staffing healthcare systems are great, there are ways to reduce staffing costs without compromising patient care. Several methods that can help healthcare systems continue to provide care to patients while reducing staffing costs include:

  • Reducing Turnover Rate
  • Reducing Overtime Work
  • Use Vendor Management Systems

Reduce Employee Turnover

Not only does turnover impact patient care, but it also has a direct impact on the bottom line of a healthcare system. In 2021, NSI Nursing Solutions Inc. surveyed more than 3,000 hospitals regarding staffing and RN retention rates. According to the findings published in an annual report, hospitals experienced an 18.7% turnover rate for registered nurses, which is an increase of 2.8% over the previous year. 

As the NSI Nursing Solutions Inc. report notes, “the cost of turnover can have a profound impact on diminishing hospital margins and needs to be managed.” Onboarding new employees not only is costly but also requires time that could better be utilized for patient care or other tasks. Therefore, retaining competent staff becomes an important strategy to reducing overall staffing costs. To boost employee retention it’s important for healthcare systems to begin with a comprehensive and thorough hiring process. This process needs to:

  • Identify the specific qualities desired of the candidates
  • Develop an effective recruitment plan
  • Use interview best practices to help identify candidates who meet desired qualities

Once employees have been hired, it’s important to keep them. In healthcare, one of the biggest challenges for employee retention is combatting employee burnout. This is a challenge that has only increased with the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses often cite issues like lack of life/work balance, poor organizational culture, and increased demand for administrative tasks as reasons for fatigue and burnout.

To effectively maintain staff and reduce turnover rate, it’s important to implement strategies designed to help your employees cope with work-related stressors. Keeping communication between management and staff open regarding workplace challenges, problems, changes, or opportunities is crucial in staff retention. Other strategies could include things such as more flexible scheduling, career development support, and a workplace that focuses on continuing education for staff.

Reduce Overtime Work

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) set forth by the U.S. Department of Labor, “…unless exempt, employees covered by the Act must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay.” HealthAffrais, a peer-reviewed journal, published an article that reviewed logbooks from nearly 400 hospitals. Out of 5,317 logged work shifts, 40% went over 12 hours. 

Not only does overtime work cost more in wages, but it also significantly increases employee burnout rate and the likelihood that mistakes are made during care. Monitoring employee time and overtime closely can be an effective way to identify opportunities for scheduling more efficiently. 

Institutions looking to reduce overtime can do so by using digital timesheets to track staff time, putting a cap on hours worked and using overtime rotations. Some software will provide management with an automatic notice when an employee has exceeded their hours, helping to identify issues immediately. If changes are made to the overtime policy, it is imperative to communicate all changes to staff. Lastly, an overtime rotation can be a way to help all employees take advantage of extra pay without burnout from constantly having to work additional hours.

Use Vendor Management Systems

Unfortunately, the trend of provider shortages is expected to increase for the foreseeable future. With shortages, it can be difficult to independently maintain adequate staffing levels. Turning to vendor management systems can be an incredibly cost-effective way to keep positions filled and ensure proper patient care. 

In healthcare systems, particularly given the current level of provider shortages, temporary employees are often required. At VMS Solution, we offer a number of advantages for our clients. With a vendor-neutral vendor management system, temporary healthcare staffing becomes an easier and more efficient process. VMS Solution simplifies healthcare staffing for multiple healthcare systems and ensures patients receive high-quality, consistent care by streamlining the workflow and workforce.

Maintaining the standard of patient care and saving money on staffing is not an easy task, but one that is manageable with the right resources. Through technology, such as digital timesheet software, vendor management systems, and a focus on employee retention, it is possible to give patients the care they deserve without negatively affecting your bottom line.

Challenges Facing Correctional Healthcare Recruiters

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Challenges Facing Correctional Healthcare Recruiters

According to Community Oriented Correctional Health Services, jails receive 13 million admissions each year, and “many of these individuals experience serious medical and mental health problems. Half of jail inmates and prisoners have a chronic health condition. Nearly two-thirds of jail inmates meet clinical criteria for substance abuse or dependence, and more than 40 percent have a history of a mental health problem.” Coupled with the fact that incarceration exacerbates mental health issues for many, the importance of quality correctional healthcare cannot be underestimated.

The National Institute of Corrections continues, saying “many health problems that plague our society plague the corrections industry at an even greater rate; increasing demand for healthcare services for the mentally ill, substance abuse, suicide prevention, and care for the elderly to name a few are placing greater demands on an already overworked system.”

With the correctional industry in dire need of healthcare professionals, an examination of the challenges facing correctional healthcare recruiters and employees is necessary. Below, take a look at what specific challenges recruiters face when staffing healthcare professionals in a correctional facility, and what can be done to mitigate the issue.

What Positions are Needed in Correctional Healthcare?

As the National Institute of Corrections mentions, health problems that occur in society are the same health problems that occur in correctional institutions. For this reason, correctional healthcare requires multidisciplinary teams of individuals.

California Correctional Health Services (CCHCS) is an organization whose mission, according to their website, provides correctional healthcare that includes medical, dental, and mental health services to all of California’s incarcerated individuals statewide.

Like every other correctional healthcare system in the country, the goal of all healthcare professionals working with the CCHCS as stated on the organization’s website is to “enhance public safety and promote successful community reintegration through education, treatment, and active participation in rehabilitative and restorative justice programs.”

Correctional healthcare systems require a large network of nurses, primary care providers, dentists, mental health professionals, medical assistants, and other staff required in any other healthcare setting.

Why is it Hard to Find Correctional Healthcare Recruiters?

As many recruiters know, finding qualified and willing healthcare workers for placement in the correctional healthcare system is not an easy task. Many factors influence this difficulty, perhaps not least is the stigma associated with the correctional industry.

  • Personal Factors: Aside from the potential stigma attached to the correctional industry, one of the most frequent concerns healthcare workers express regarding working in the correctional industry is a fear for their safety. Caring for individuals who may be mentally ill, violent, or have substance use problems can be difficult in any setting, but the fear for safety is increased when these individuals are already incarcerated.
  • Location Factors: In many areas of the country, correctional institutions are located in more remote areas. If a significant commute is required for daily work, it can be a deterrent to attracting talent.
  • Economical Factors: It would be great for recruiters if the answer to these challenges was a simple increase in wages. However, many systems in the correctional industry are severely limited by budgetary constraints. As funding for correctional institutions decreases, so does the allocated budget for healthcare professionals. With provider shortages in many disciplines across the nation, specifically mental health, and the availability of positions in more desirable settings (urban areas with greater infrastructure than many of the remote locations where institutions are located) finding qualified professionals for correctional healthcare becomes increasingly difficult.

How Can Recruiters Attract Correctional Healthcare Candidates?

According to the National Institute of Corrections, multiple organizations are working to improve correctional healthcare and the positions available within these systems.

The National Commission on Correctional Health Care is one such organization. As stated on the NCCHC website, this organization’s mission “is to improve the quality of health care in jails, prisons, and juvenile confinement facilities.” To achieve this, the NCCHC establishes standards for health services, conducts educational conferences, and offers certifications for correctional health professionals. Health, mental health, law, and corrections all have major national organizations working with the NCCHC “to create a robust, multidisciplinary governing structure that reflects the complexities of correctional healthcare.”

Organizations like the NCCHC and the Community Oriented Correctional Health Services can be helpful resources in attracting talent to correctional healthcare. Previous measures like increasing salaries for correctional healthcare workers were met with success, but there must be more.

One of the most effective tools a recruiter can use is education. It’s important for prospective correctional healthcare workers to fully understand the position and environment for which they are applying. There are a number of resources available for educational purposes and working with the greater healthcare community is an invaluable tool when it comes to correctional healthcare placement.

While correctional healthcare is a challenging vocation, it’s also one that is incredibly rewarding for dedicated workers. Personal satisfaction in helping those who desperately need it is just one of the benefits correctional healthcare workers receive from their positions. In addition to being a satisfying career that gives individuals a strong sense of purpose, correctional healthcare can be very financially rewarding for registry workers.

Addressing the Shortage of Mental Health Care Providers

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Addressing the Shortage of Mental Health Care Providers

Following a tumultuous few years living with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people living in the United States are seeking mental health care than ever. Whether the pandemic exacerbated underlying mental health conditions or brought on new symptoms, the fact is that the nation is in dire need of mental health services. In fact, the United States Census Bureau reports that 30% of adults in the country have symptoms consistent with a depression or anxiety diagnosis.

How Many People are Affected by the Mental Health Care Provider Shortage?

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, 135 million people in the U.S. are living in areas with a shortage of mental health care providers. Primarily rural areas are affected, though there are a number of states, including California, with shortages in suburban and urban areas.

Regarding sections of the population that are struggling with the shortage of mental health care providers, the most greatly affected individuals are those with substance use disorders.

What are Widespread Effects of the Mental Health Care Provider Shortage?

Beyond the fact that people who are unable to receive treatment must deal with the consequences of mental illness, the disease burden of mental health and substance use disorders is high. In 2015, the Journal of the American Medical Association noted that the disease burden of mental health and substance use disorders was higher than any other medical condition.

Anna Ratzliff, MD, PhD, and associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Washington School of Medicine explains why a provider shortage is detrimental to not only those who need treatment but to entire communities. “Our whole society is affected by untreated mental illness. It affects people’s ability to work, build relationships, and contribute to their communities.”

What is the Future of Mental Health Care in the United States?

While age is a factor considered in the current nurse exodus, the COVID-19 pandemic hastened the retirement of many nurses across the country due in large part to stress and burnout. Nursing is difficult both physically and mentally, and the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated these issues. Stress, causing a toll on the mental health of nurses, and overall burnout among nurses are major contributing factors to nurses choosing to leave staff positions in favor of contract/travel nursing.

According to a poll published by Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation, “roughly three in 10 healthcare workers have weighed leaving their profession. More than half are burned out. And about six in 10 say stress from the pandemic has harmed their mental health.” A significant shortage of nursing professionals results in a higher patient-to-nurse ratio.

A heavier patient load combined with other administrative duties and other daily tasks leads nurses to burn out more quickly.

What is Being Done About the Shortage?

California, like so many states, is struggling to provide the required resources for those seeking mental health care. Unfortunately, according to the National Council for Behavioral Health, the shortage is only expected to increase through the year 2025.

What can be Done?

One way that the healthcare industry has started to address the shortage is to aggressively recruit talent. Providing a strong culture of mentoring, UNMC has had great success in increasing the number of students who choose psychiatry. Since 2013, the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) has more than doubled the number of students choosing psychiatry. The school has been able to do this by providing exceptional education and high-quality medical school psychiatry clinical rotation.

In addition to recruiting students, the National Council for Wellbeing published a report encouraging the use of technology in mental health care. During the pandemic, many providers began offering telehealth services, allowing patients to receive treatment from their homes via video calls. This increased access for many people living in the United States and could be a beneficial tool for providers.

Another way that the National Council for Wellbeing suggests increasing access to mental health services is to make use of text messaging and apps, as timely service is crucial to patients in need. Open access scheduling is also a recommendation. Open access scheduling covers a variety of scheduling techniques including keeping a certain number of appointments open and creating blocks of time that are completely unscheduled.

The mental health crisis shows no signs of slowing down, and the shortage of providers is projected to grow. What are some ways your practice is attempting to address the provider shortage? What emerging technologies do you think would be beneficial in increasing access to mental health services.

The 3 Essential Questions for Every Locum Tenens Screening

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The 3 Essential Questions for Every Locum Tenens Screening

Locum tenens staffing is more popular than ever, and its rise in prominence doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.  In 2014, 91% of healthcare facilities surveyed by AMN Healthcare reported using locum tenens providers in some capacity during the last year.

Whether the opening is for a single day, or for several months, more and more employers are realizing just how easy locum tenens staffing can be.

HOW TO ENSURE THE QUALITY OF LOCUM TENENS PROVIDERS:

In the aforementioned survey, 81.1% of employers believed that the locum tenens providers that they hired were worth the cost. In order to achieve these levels of satisfaction, staffing agencies are responsible for properly screening their providers to verify that they’re the right fit for each assignment.

In order to be certain that their candidates are ideal providers for the position, there are three questions that vendors need to consider during every screening.

1. ARE THEY AVAILABLE TO WORK?

Be certain that the dates of the assignment are correct, and that the provider understands the required hours, the length of their contracted assignment, and the availability requirements associated with their prospective position.

The provider may need to be flexible, depending on the type of assignment, so verify that they’re aware of every shift they may be required to work. It reflects poorly on an agency when a facility is left without help because a provider was not aware of the availability requirements for their position.

2. DO THEY HAVE THE NECESSARY SKILLS?

If the provider can’t perform the basic functions of a job, or doesn’t have the required experience, going any further with the prescreening is a waste of both parties’ time. Make sure that the facility has made the position’s requirements very clear, so that it can be easily decided whether or not the provider meets them.

Given that the employment can be for a very short amount of time, facilities need to be sure that the providers that they’re hiring on don’t require additional, basic training, and are competent in their field.

3. ARE THEIR CREDENTIALS IN ORDER?

Facilities need to know that a candidate has completed any required trainings, and has all of the licenses that are legally required to perform their duties. Most agencies will keep the basic documents on file for each of their candidates, so that they can quickly send their candidate’s file out once they’ve screened them.

It is the vendor’s responsibility to look over the provider’s credentials and to ensure that every candidate that they submit is licensed, properly trained, and experienced in their prospective job classification.

EASY ENOUGH, RIGHT?

Locum tenens staffing is a thriving industry and–while some positions will require additional screening–with these three, simple questions it will be easy to ensure that screenings are done efficiently and thoroughly.

Do you have any tips and tricks for locum tenens screening? Comment below or continue the conversation on our LinkedIn page.

If you have providers to screen, but no orders to fill, contact Management Solution to join our team of vendors and view our open orders. Click here to learn more.

If you’re a provider looking to be screened for a position, Management Solution would be happy to put you in touch with an agency that will work for you. Click here to learn more.

Why We Believe In (True) Vendor Neutrality: 4 Benefits For All Parties Involved

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Why We Believe In (True) Vendor Neutrality: 4 Benefits For All Parties Involved

The debate over vendor neutrality has raged on for more than a decade within the world of contingent staffing, with no clear end in sight. One reason for the length of this debate is likely the various definitions and applications of the word “neutrality” within the industry.

So what exactly does “vendor neutrality” mean here?

A COMPLETELY NEUTRAL AND UNBIASED APPROACH

Vendor neutrality means taking a completely neutral and unbiased approach to operations, distribution of orders, billing, and communication– which is almost always done through a web-based system.

Some claim that vendor management can never be truly neutral, and many vendor management companies are doing everything they can to affirm these critical beliefs. While many organizations tout vendor neutrality, favoritism and flexibility often find their way into these same organizations’ practices.

Some companies even go so far as to use affiliated or sub-vendors–channeling the majority of their business to these companies and thus diluting their quality control and profits.

A BIASED MODEL MAY INCREASE SHORT-TERM PROFITS, BUT WE’RE IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL.

The improved quality of service that can be provided through a truly vendor-neutral approach is sure to build better business relationships, encourage longer-lasting contracts, as well as generate more long-term profit for all participants.

Along with these long-term benefits, all parties involved can look forward to the three, following day-to-day benefits, amongst many others:

1. YOU’LL BE ASSURED OF QUALITY LABOR

In a vendor-neutral system, the competition that often takes place between the vendors and the vendor management company is neutralized.

Rather than being demoralized by constantly submitting qualified candidates, only to be beaten out by mediocre providers from “preferred vendors”, vendors in this system know that submitting qualified candidates as quickly as possible is the best way to have their candidates selected.

True vendor neutrality also means that vendors are not allowed to continually submit sub-par providers under the cover or excuse of a lower rate. These types of providers will be flagged, and not rehired. Vendors that continually submit these types of clients will likely lose their contract.

2. YOUR OPEN POSITIONS WILL BE FILLED FASTER

Rather than haggling with “preferred” vendors and providers about rates and availability while worthwhile candidates go unnoticed, vendor neutrality keeps all vendors highly motivated to submit valid providers as quickly as possible.

The first-come-first-serve basis on which candidates are screened and evaluated is crucial in motivating vendors to stay up-to-date on all new orders and openings. Competition for these positions inevitably breeds motivation amongst vendors.

3. YOUR COMMUNICATION WILL BE STREAMLINED

Imagine one point of contact for all of the locations that you’re staffing, or all of the agencies that provide staff to; now imagine that they’re available 24 hours a day. The saved man-hours that this point of contact would grant you would already cover said contact’s fee.

Having one, unbiased point of contact for all aspects of staffing streamlines the communication process; true vendor neutrality ensures that said communication is equally available to all parties, and that there are no hidden motives behind it.

4. YOUR BILLING WILL FEEL EFFORTLESS

Without the hassle of rate negotiation and different billing processes for different vendors, a truly vendor-neutral organization is able to bill any number of vendors accurately and efficiently.

Gone are the days of tracking down different rates, given to different vendors for the same service. True vendor neutrality eases the minds of all involved by assuring them that their billing is not only fair, but accurate.

SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT TRUE VENDOR NEUTRALITY?

Let us know in the comments below, or continue the discussion on our LinkedIn and Facebook pages. How has your experience influenced your stance?

For more information on how Management Solution operates in a truly vendor-neutral manner, click here.