Recent news cycles have been loaded with information concerning the I.R.S.’ scrutiny, or lack thereof, of applications for not-for-profit 501 C 4 status. Most of the noise concerns the ability of the institution to adequately manage parts of the largest healthcare overhaul since the introduction of Medicare. As the I.R.S. continues to be in the spotlight, it is helpful to understand what role they are playing in the delivery of the Affordable Care Act.
First, in 2014, individuals are going to be required to carry a minimum level of health insurance coverage or be subject to a penalty. The IRS will be the agency that is responsible for enforcing that penalty and collecting the amounts from the individuals. In addition, as part of the minimum coverage requirement for individuals and the minimum coverage requirement that employers be required to provide to individuals, there will be the need to determine whether or not individuals are eligible for a health insurance premium tax credit, and the IRS will have the responsibility for determining who is eligible for the health insurance premium tax credit.
Additionally, employers are now going to be required to provide coverage that is affordable to employees. If they do not provide this coverage, they will be subject to a penalty. The IRS is responsible for setting out the rules and guidance for employers in providing this coverage as well as enforcing the rule and collecting the penalty payment from the employers.
In 2018 there will be a tax on what is called “Cadillac” plans, the high value cost coverage that can be provided to individuals, and the IRS will be responsible for enforcing that rule and collecting any penalties for coverage in excess of the “Cadillac” plan tax limit. In addition, starting in 2012, which would have been the W2 that was provided in January 2013, employers were now required to include certain information on annual W2s, specifically the value of the group health plan benefits. So beginning with that W2 that was provided in 2013, the IRS has now been tasked with recording all the values of the group health plan benefits that have been recorded on the W2s.
Based on these substantive issues related to the implementation of ObamaCare, there is probably not another agency within the Government that could monitor and account for such a large percentage of the gross national product. Unless the Act itself is defunded, or in some way repealed, the I.R.S. will continue to ramp up to manage and administer this massive program.
It's national nurses week, as well as, hospitals week! Be sure to take a moment or two to show your caregivers and facilities the acknowledment and recognition that they do.
Not sure how to do that, well here are 10 ways you can show you care:
1. TELL THEM! SAY THANK YOU!
Sometimes even a simple, "Thank you for all you do or have done for me" can make a persons day.
2. Get them a small gift of appreciation.
Send them flowers, give the gift a mug or giftcard. Sometimes the smallest things can mean more than more than you will ever know.
3. Acknowledge them on your social media accounts.
Post a photo of them and a nice message going along with it. That way everyone can see how much that you appreciate them.
4. Send a thank you card.
Have you had an awesome nurse? Or have a hospital go out of their way to take care of you? Let them know. Mail them a thank you card.
5. Take them out to lunch or cater a lunch for your hospital.
Who doesn't love food? Again, a small gesture, such as taking someone to lunch or catering lunch for a group of people can show you care.
6. Give them a certificate of recognition.
It's a physical piece of acknowledment that the caregiver or facility can look at and be reminded that their hard work does pay off and doesn't go unnoticed.
7. Make a donation in their honor.
Donate in the name of the facility or group of caregivers to a local organization or another facility that is in need.
8. Games and Activities.
Set up some games or activities in a breakroom, so that caregivers can stop by for a break and unwind for a bit. Mental breaks are good and there's nothing a game of Wii tennis or Mario Kart can't fix, right?
9. Publish a Press Release
Acknowledge your facility and caregivers in a local newspaper or media outlet. Has a caregiver gone above and beyond to make a patient feel special? Include their story and a quote. Show off your incredible caregiving staff!
10. Don't forget.
Even though there is a whole dedicated to our hardworking nurses and facilities, don't forget to acknowledge them all year.
Working in Brookstone through college I was very knowledgeable on the latest and greatest gadgets this world had to offer. One of those, ahead-of-its-time, gadgets that was sold in Brookstone over ten years ago and is just now mainstream was the Roomba from iRobot. As a store manager, I thoroughly enjoyed the Roomba because we had a vacuum cleaner constantly sweeping the store so it kept our nightly chores down to a minimum. Now we all know the commercials... “Roomba Roomba” or ‘I’ve Robot have you.” So when I heard the announcement today about the iRobot doctors, also know as the Remote Presence Virtual + Independent Telemedicine Assistant or RP VITA were rolling out in seven hospitals, my healthcare ears and my Brookstone ears perked up at the same time!
Robotic assisted surgery may not be a new concept but it has been something of a more costly measure in the past, which is the reason why I find the iRobot brand and healthcare an attractive partnership. iRobot has had a history of making robotic technology more affordable to the general public and hopefully, with the cost of healthcare rapidly growing, they can pass along the same type of cost savings to the hospitals that they have in the commercial side of their business.
Very little information has being released about the RP VITA Robot, which obtained FDA approval last month but is really nothing more than a tablet with built in video that will allow doctors and patients to interact. Doctors love it because it is easy to use and it is being billed as the first robot that won’t disrupt the hospital. The cost to the hospital is between $4000-$6000 per month which includes everything needed to run the robot.
What do you think about this technology? Are you comfortable with your doctor on an RP VITA or are you just getting used to the idea of a Roomba? Next time you are at the hospital you may be iRoboting with your doctor.
LinkedIn is a wonderful social media tool that can be used within any profession. BlueSky is even on LinkedIn! If LinkedIn is something new to you, let me familiarize yourself with it. Think of it as a social media to network friends, colleagues, former classmates, etc and the information you share is more of a online resume rather than a status update of what you did over the weekend or sharing photos from some event you went to. LinkedIn is the most professional social network out there.
Last week LinkedIn announced a new feature they were launching that will make its users lives a little easier with LinkedIn contacts. This program will allow you to sync contact information from address books, emails, and calendars.
"Today we’re proud to announce the launch of LinkedIn Contacts, a smarter way to stay in touch with your most important relationships. With this new product, we bring all your contacts from your address books, email accounts, and calendars together with the power of your LinkedIn network. Contacts is available both on LinkedIn.com as well as a brand new app for iPhone. Over the coming weeks, we’ll start sending invitations to try LinkedIn Contacts to a limited number of members in the United States." - Sachin Rekhi, LinkedIn Blog
One of the coolest features, or at least in my opinion, is being able to see your recent conversations and meeting info on your contacts profile. This makes it easier to keep all the information shared in one place. Another thing that makes this new feature one to check out is that it will also have its own app so your linked in contacts, data, and meeting information can travel with you. With many people having on-the-go lifestyles, easier is better. Think of Contacts as your new personal assistant. It will keep track of everything for you and can always be with you!
Still not sold? What about being able to recieve notification updates about your contacts when they get a new job, or have a birthday? These notification can serve as little reminders to remain to connected and not to lose touch with your colleagues, in-turn keeping your relationships with them stronger.
There are many benefits to LinkedIn and LinkedIn Contacts - Is this something you think you would use or benefit from? Are you on LinkedIn?
When it comes to the role of recruiting there is no question that with the invention of the iphone and then Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Skype, etc., that society has seen many huge changes in technology and it has also affected the way we attract talent.
The statistics are staggering. For example, did you know that there are over 618 million users on Facebook daily and over 680 million users access Facebook using a mobile app a month? What does this mean for you as a medical staffing recruiter? Most likely the talent you are recruiting is using Facebook so you need to be recruiting on Facebook.
You may be thinking, “Okay Facebook is old news. What are the three hottest trends in medical staffing recruiting?” Great. Then I have the answer for you. Here it goes!
Believe it or not I think blogging is the most under-utilized marketing tool in medical staffing recruiting. A blog is important because every time you post a blog you have a better chance of being found by a potential recruit in a search engine. It is also a crucial foundation for all social media activities. Having a blog gives you something to anchor your social media to.
Blogging also gives you, as a medical staffing recruiter, the ability to show potential recruits that you are an expert in the medical staffing industry - ultimately establishing your brand as an industry leader. Share tips on what it means to work in the healthcare industry such as, “How to deal with working the night shift,” or “What are the best locations to travel to as a physical therapist.”
Blogging also allows you to keep your website up to date. Sign a new healthcare facility as a client in an exotic location? Then blog about what life is like as a travel healthcare professional there. Be creative with your blog but be informational as well. Have fun with it and your blog will give invaluable returns as a recruiter and as a brand.
2. Video interviews
Travel medical staffing has seeing huge growth in the last 18 months and it is virtually impossible unless you are a HUGE corporation to have an office in every major city in the United States. Many staffing agencies still feel it is very important to have a face-to-face interview with the candidates they will be placing with their clients. The problem is what if your agency is in Tennessee and your healthcare provider is currently in Washington State. How do you get that face-to-face interview? The answer is simple - Skype.
Skype is an online text, voice and video technology. It is so important in the market place that Microsoft purchased Skype in 2011 for $8.5 BILLION in cash and is now integrated as a standard application on all Windows 7 & 8 computers. Believe it or not, over 35% of businesses are using Skype as their primary way to communicate.
As a medical staffing recruiter you can use Skype for either free or very cheap to interview new healthcare providers. All you need is a webcam and a microphone on your computer and you are set. With over 35 million people on Skype, chances are your healthcare provider probably has a Skype account.
3 Online Assessments
Clinical competency exams are something that medical staffing recruiters know all to well. My guess is that as a recruiter you look at clinical competency exams as a “necessary evil.” But the good news is the days of paper testing and quickly disappearing.
Not only is it time consuming to “grade” the exams and technically the person needs to be in your office to take the exam (which can be a feat unto itself) but the use of employment testing has a legitimate legal concerns as well. The biggest issue facing pre-employment testing is that the standards for fairness and diversity. This means as a recruiter you need to be aware of these testing implications as well as use the fairest and most valid test possible to protect yourselves from a potential lawsuit or run in with the Department of Labor.
So how do you get online valid and fair exams in the healthcare industry? Our partners at Prophecy Healthcare are the leaders in online healthcare competency exams. They have a large assessment library all of which are validated exams including the Joint Commission Mandatories. So throw out your paper and your red ink and move to a more reliable, lawful way to test your healthcare providers.
With The question as a recruiter is, are you using any of the three hottest recruiting trends or are you going to be left in the dark ages?
You know, it’s funny how many people know about the CAN-SPAM Act but don’t think that it applies to them. Yes, Healthcare Staffing Recruiters… I am talking to you! If you are using email in your business, the CAN-SPAM act establishes requirements for every message you send regardless of Bulk email or not and allows recipients of your email to ask you to stop emailing them.
Bulk or mass email is defined as sending out electronic email to large groups at one time. BlueSky defines Bulk email as anything over 100 emails at one time. The question becomes are you sending email that is solicited or is it unsolicited aka SPAM?
How do you know if it is solicited email?
Solicited email is where the recipient has CHOSEN to get email from you , AKA opt-in and they have the option to not receive email from you AKA opt-out.
What is defined as SPAM?
Unsolicited email is any message, regardless of what it says is sent to multiple recipients who have not requested the mail.
Why is it so important that I follow the CAN-SPAM Act?
Each separate email that is in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act can be subject up to a $16,000 penalty. So let’s put this into perspective. If you send out 1000 unsolicited emails and you are taken to court you can get fined $16 Million. That’s HUGE. The government takes SPAM very seriously and you should too.
There are seven rules of engagement that you need to be concerned and very aware of with in sending email to be in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act:
1. Don’t Use false or deceptive information in the header of the email. In other words the FROM and REPLY to must be accurate.
2. Don’t use misleading email subjects. The email subject should truthfully echo the content of the email that you have sent.
3. Do classify your email as an add. There is flexibility in how you do this but this needs to be clearly identified in your email.
4. Do tell recipients where you are located. This needs to be your postal address and can be either a physical address or a P.O. Box
5. Do give recipients the option to opt-out of future emails from you. Opting out must be clearly identified that any person can read and understand and then once they have opted out make sure that that they no longer receive emails from you.
6. Do respect the request of a opt out requests and take care of them quickly. Bluesky has automated this process, as many email marketing software have done as well, so if a person opts out of a system generated email we automatically ensure they do not get emails again.
7. Do observe what someone is sending on your behalf. The law is clear that if you have hired a marketing agency and they are sending emails on your behalf then you are liable. Just because you are not the one sending it doesn’t mean that you are not legally responsible for this email.
If you are aware and follow these rules then you will be protected. Medical Staffing Agency owners and IT manager need make sure that your team is aware of the CAN-SPAM laws. You, as a company, are liable for what they send. Many companies are holding annual compliance seminars and training on email laws just as they do sexual harassment training. Let us know, is your company aware of the implications of Mass email? How do you manage email internally?
Like many of you, due to the terror attack at the Boston Marathon, I was glued to the news for most of last week watching as the horror unfolded. On Friday night I sat watching CNN like it was a movie, as they captured Suspect #2. Although, I am deeply saddened and horrified by what happened, I am equally proud and in awe of the first responders and medical personnel in Boston. It is pretty amazing that only three people died that day and that we lost no more lives once they made it to the hospital.
Our country has become more prepared over the last decade to deal with disaster response. A new way of thinking to disaster response has emerged because hard lessons we have learned starting with the wake-up call of the Columbine shootings in 1999 to the latest Aurora movie theatre attack in 2012. The New Yorker had an excellent blog posted, “Why Boston’s Hospitals were Ready.” It’s a fascinating article to read how the emergency teams were able to coordinate and the staff was able to respond quickly to those injured in the bombings.
Over the last week many healthcare providers and first responders have asked themselves how would they handle a similar situation in their own city. My question to healthcare staffing agencies, what could you have done to prepare your staff, as a medical staffing agency; in an event it was your city under attack.
Since a medical staffing agency doesn’t have a direct role in staffing a healthcare facility, in the event of mass casualties, there are many indirect ways a staffing agency can be prepared. Here are a few ideas.
First, offer your providers an incentive to become a volunteer with the American Red Cross Disaster response team or volunteer with other community organizations who need medical personnel.
Medical staffing agencies can even become involved in corporate volunteer programs. Since many have trained clinicians on their internal staff as well as healthcare providers, the Red Cross can use the unique skills to take part of their Ready When the Time Comes program.
Secondly, have a database of caregivers who are clearly marked with the disaster training certification that can be contacted and activated quickly in the event of mass casualties.
Then, partner with your local facility and have a plan to staff them accordingly if a disaster occurs. Using SMS and mobile technology, medical staffing agencies can quickly get the word out to a larger pool of nurses than a typical facility can.
Lastly, coordinate a Blood Drive in your area to help refill the blood supply in your community after a major disaster.
Medical staffing agencies have a unique position in this country and the community. If medical staffing agencies use to their resources to their fullest potential they can activate their company and step in when the facility needs relief.
Is your medical staffing agency prepared?
\What have you done that would help you if you town had mass casualties?
Picture this; a not-for-profit hospital in an urban area tracks it’s cost to provide care for ONE uninsured, homeless individual for a period of between 18 months and 2 years. At the heart of this exercise lies the impetus for the creation and execution of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Making healthcare coverage available to every American. Note an important distinction, making healthcare COVERAGE available, NOT HEALTHCARE! The subtle difference in the two is about following the money. Indigent care (i.e. care for patients that cannot pay) is a line item on every acute care providers’ fiscal budget.
Now back to that one uninsured homeless individual that was tracked for nearly two years. After discovering the cost of treating the individual, the hospital pro-actively found the man a primary care physician, a neurologist, a substance abuse treatment plan, and assisted with finding a place to live. According to the article, this was accomplished for around $6,000. With no insurance, and no way to pay, that seems like a lot of money for the hospital to “front”, that is, until you dig deeper, and realize that for this same patient, in the prior two year period had racked up $626,143 in charges! Although it’s probably not fair to compare the $6,000 in pro-active costs to the $626,143 billable charges, it is fair to ask where these common sense solutions were prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
A couple of notable articles have appeared that support some of these common sense approaches to the escalating cost of indigent care. In Camden New Jersey, Jeffrey Brenner, MD, has identified “superusers” by a process called “hotspotting” to reduce overall costs by as much as 50%. According to this article, the sickest 5% account for more than half of U.S. healthcare costs.
This “hotspotting” technique was the premise upon which the urban hospital in Louisville KY delivered it’s results.
Each day shortcuts are being made in our communication. It wasn't that long ago that our only communication was only via snail mail now we have email - delivering mail and other important documents in seconds. Phone calls are dwindling down to short, sweet, simple, to-the-point text messages. Even social media is dwindling down with communication. People are posting pictures with a simple caption as a "status" update instead of long "novel-like" posts. So what does this all mean? It means that if you want to get your point across you have got to make your message simple and quick.
Let me introduce to you a new social media app called, Vine.
What is Vine?
Vine is a new social media app that is free for download in the Apple store. This app allows you to create 6-second videos and post them to your various social media accounts. Vine is not available on Android, but there are apps available for download in the Android Marketplace for you to be able to view videos posted by Vine users.
Is there room for the "new kid" on the social media block?
Of course there is! Apps like Instagram are growing in popularity with their users because they can deliver a powerful message with so little time, effort and text. "A picture is worth a thousand words", well how about video? Sure, 6-seconds doesn't seem like a long time but so much can be put into those seconds and are much more entertaining than a photograph. Think of Vine as the Instagram of Videos.
One benefit that Vine offers that Instagram doesn't, you can embed the videos on to your web page.
How or why would Vine be used in healthcare staffing?
Think of Vine as a new (AND FREE - who doesn't love free marketing/promotion) way to market out your staffing company, or give an insight to a new finding in healthcare, or if you are a healthcare professional use it as an insight as to what you do, and educate others.
Think of it this way, you work at a pizza place and you want customers to know you use the best ingredients and you want to show them how exactly their food is prepared to perfection. You take video of each step and combine it in to a Vine video and can send it out to all forms of your social media giving customers another insight they don't usually see, and in return you have created a connection with your customers that may not have been there before. The same can be true for healthcare staffing.
Using Vine to get a job? Yep!
Well at least for Dawn Siff it worked. Find your best qualities and feature them as a "promo reel" for yourself to send to employers. This app can be used to show off your creativity and give employers an idea of the type of person you are. Check out Dawn's Vine resume.
Do you use Vine? How do you use your Vine?
Automated Healthcare Credentialing is Key to You Staffing Agency’s Success
We all know by now that the Affordable Healthcare Act is a game changer for healthcare and it is not any different for a healthcare staffing agency. Healthcare credentialing is the most time consuming and costly process in staffing but also mitigates the biggest risk of non-compliance if done accurately.
Up until a few years ago, healthcare credentialing had been mainly a paper process but the development of healthcare staffing software has replaced paper. To stay competitive healthcare staffing agencies are going to be forced to further automate and streamline their processes.
Here are three tips that can help push your healthcare staffing credentialing to the next level.
1. Integrate Systems
The biggest time saver and area for improvement for healthcare staffing agencies, even if you have a healthcare applicant tracking system, agencies will need to integrate their current credentialing software with a healthcare applicant tracking system and healthcare staffing software. Integration is key because it is one way to mitigate human error within the credentialing process.
Credentialing Systems that can easily integrate with BlueSky are:
Prophecy Healthcare was the groundbreaker for online clinical competency testing and checklists for the healthcare industry. They continue to lead the industry with their new behavioral and situational exams created specifically for the healthcare professional. Using Prophecy the integration healthcare staffing agencies can request all clinical competencies out of BlueSky and then track and manage all expiration dates quickly and easily.
Universal Background Screening is a healthcare industry leader in real time web-based background check technology. Using Universal’s secure and cutting edge technology, through integration, healthcare staffing agency’s can reduce the risk and liability of the background check process.
You Sign Here is an electronic signature software that is fully integrated with BlueSky to where you can not only manage all of your credentials but also manage all facility contracts and healthcare provider conformation letters. Using all of the points of integration that You Sign Here offers with BlueSky allows your credentialing staff to trust that each document is signed and completed without error.
2. Automate Credential Notifications
Tracking expiration dates and automatically notifying your recruits about expired licenses and other credentials is extremely important. This gives more time back to your credentialing team allowing them to be not only more through but allows them to credential more candidates – helping your bottom line!
BlueSky has three unique features that help credentialing teams do their job quicker and better.
- Auto archive old documents automatically when a new document has been received.
- See credentials in same screen as the expiration dates which reduces the risk of entering or verifying erroneous dates.
- Use the Healthcare Professional Portal to where the candidate can see, track and upload their own credentials proactively with an agency verification process.
3. Facility Portal
Having all of your credentials stored in one central location with facility access is a great feature to offer your clients. If Joint Commission walks in the door to your healthcare facility they can have real time access to your healthcare applicant tracking system to see only the healthcare professionals that have worked in their facility.
Do you know what is even better? If you are the master vendor or VMS for that healthcare facility they can have all of their temporary staffs credentials managed in one central location. Imagine how this could help revolutionize your local healthcare facility and solidify the need for your agency working in that facility.
Overall automation reduces out of compliance risk factors. If your agency automates processes and integrate systems into a healthcare applicant tracking software ultimately your staff choose best candidate for the job. Remember, healthcare facility’s are going to choose agencies that will help them with their bottom line and having great healthcare professionals and great technology will help achieve this goal.
If you are interested in how BlueSky can help you automate and streamline your process click here and fill out the form one of our sales professionals will be in touch.