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Will Affordable Care Act Ultimately Result in Greater Contract Labor?

Posted by Tim Teague on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 @ 02:32 PM

Two of the driving tenets of the Affordable Care Act are the push for better patient outcomes and reduction of costs. Since labor spend accounts for the largest percentage of acute care expense, it is a prime target for cost cutting.

 

This presents a conundrum for the hospital. How to cut labor costs while improving the quality of care (decreased re-admission rates).  A corollary to this dilemma has been the “just-in-time” staffing models the industry has used for years.  The difference is while a manufacturer can judge work in process by the amount of incoming orders, the healthcare industry has not been able to predict the number of orders (average length of stay) in a reliable manner.

 

Peter Drucker, foremost business analyst declared just before his death in 2005 that “increasing the productivity of knowledge workers was the most important contribution management needs to make in the 21st century.” The question here is how can data be used to transform the healthcare industry to both decrease costs and improve quality?

 

The answer is equal parts simple and complex. There is enough historical data from millions of hospital admissions across the country to fine-tune a census model that provides extremely accurate daily figures for a unit-by-unit count. Several firms have been working on the analysis of these figures for years. In the same way the electronic medical records have grudgingly made their way into our healthcare system, strategic census models will soon be the norm.

 

When this data becomes granular for hospital systems, the current models for large scale census predictors will become extinct.  This new model for just-in-time staffing will finally provide a day-to-day, week-to-week picture of labor needs. Fine tuning the levels of FTE’s will become better, and non-fixed-cost labor will boom.

Tags: Affordable Care Act, Staffing Agency, Affordable Healthcare Act, Contract Labor, staffing

BlueSky Healthcare Staffing Enhancements

Posted by Doug Word on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 @ 10:11 AM

BlueSky Medical Staffing SoftwareAt BlueSky, we are always searching for ways to enrich the user experience for our clients. We recognize that healthcare staffing is an ever-evolving industry, so our work is centered on helping staffing agencies save time and money.

With that in mind, we have two exciting new system enhancements to share.

Caregiver/Facility Radius Search

Are you an account manager or recruiter looking to match a facility contract with a caregiver in a certain range? Perhaps you are targeting a certain location for sales or prospecting jobs from facilities.

BlueSky's radius search will help you identify those caregivers and/or facilities within your defined areas. All you will need to do is enter a valid U.S. zip code and search away to find the information you seek within a given radius. This tool is great for both per diem and travel needs.

Caregiver Short Application Feature

Have you ever had caregivers on the phone while you were short on time but wanted to get them entered into your system quickly? Perhaps they had only a minute or two to spare before racing out the door. We understand your time is precious and often fleeting. Enter the BlueSky short application, where basic, yet important, information can get entered into your company's system in a snap.

The short application feature captures only the most relevant data: name, contact information, degree, specialty, recruiter and the ability to upload a resume. From there, one of your team members or the caregiver can go back in at a later date and update the full profile. Most importantly, the information is captured right away and will not get lost in a stack of papers.

Take a look at it below, and let us know what you think. Will this help your agency?

BlueSky Medical Staffing Software

BlueSky is committed to its customers and loves getting feedback!

Ready to experience positive change with BlueSky Medical Staffing Software? Our goal is to save you time and money by housing all of your credentialing, scheduling and caregiver documentation in one easy-to-access location. You can count on our experts to provide answers to all of your burning questions. Call us at 615-349-1985 to schedule a demonstration, or email us at [email protected].

Tags: BlueSky Medical Staffing Software, healthcare industry, healthcare staffing and recruiting software, healthcare scheduling software, healthcare staffing agency, healthcare staffing trends, Staffing Agency, Staffing Industry, staffing software, medical staffing, per diem medical staffing, Travel Nurse Staffing, web-based staffing software

The Brave New World of Healthcare Staffing

Posted by Doug Word on Thu, Aug 08, 2013 @ 08:54 AM

describe the imageEntering the unique world of healthcare staffing is challenging at best and overwhelming at worst, but it can also prove very rewarding. In its simplest form, the industry involves matching a qualified, credentialed nurse to a unit within a hospital, but there is so much more that goes into making that happen. One thing is for sure: it is not for the faint of heart.

My perspective as a new employee with BlueSky might differ from the experiences of others as they enter the medical staffing industry from the agency side. However, for me, there were several items that took time to wrap my mind around. In retrospect, following the steps below can make a big difference:

1. Accept it, the terminology is daunting. From per diem and travel nursing to locum tenens staffing, the verbiage of the industry takes time to learn if familiarity is lacking. Don't fret if you happen upon a word or phrase that you don't immediately comprehend. It will occur early and often. Allow yourself time to Google around for the answers to questions you come across.

2. Ask a lot of questions. When starting from square one like I did, there is no quicker way to gain an understanding of how things work than asking questions of co-workers that have made it this far in the industry. There is a reason they are still standing. Receiving a high-level overview early on is also recommended even if it seems like information overload. Your retention rate might suffer, but things will start to make sense as you go along. Don't be shy: you can only learn by asking.

3. Take good notes. Not only will good note-taking help you retain information, but it also gives you a strong reference point for revisiting topics you had difficulty comprehending the first time around.

4. Try to grasp the big picture. In healthcare staffing it is so easy to get bogged down in the weeds of how each facet of the industry functions. Keeping your mind focused on the big picture is key, however. If the operation of the entire system starts to make sense then the smaller components will come into clearer focus as well.

From a staffing agency's perspective, finding a way to manage all of the information you have to manage will top the priority list. Once you build relationships, establish contracts between facilities and locate caregivers, you will need a one-stop shop out of which to operate and manage your data.

From credentialing to scheduling to licensing and beyond, placing a caregiver into a short- or long-term assignment can prove challenging.

Thankfully, there is an answer with BlueSky Medical Staffing Software.

Tags: BlueSky Medical Staffing Software, healthcare recruiting and staffing software, healthcare industry, Healthcare, healthcare staffing software, healthcare staffing agency, Staffing Agency, Staffing Industry, staffing software, healthcare recruiting, medical staffing, per diem medical staffing, Travel Nurse Staffing, web-based staffing software

Are you scared to try new things for your healthcare staffing agency?

Posted by Jennifer Kardell on Tue, Aug 06, 2013 @ 12:47 PM

cartoonnurseelephantTrying new things is always scary whether it is in your personal life or work life. Which is understandable. Trying new things is like stepping in to the uknown, like stepping into a dark alley that you've never been in or jumping into a pool when you've never learned to swim.

Just look at this video of a baby elephant testing out the waters, pun intended.

I'm guessing the thought what does this baby elephant have to do with me and my healthcare staffing agency. Actually you can learn quite a bit from the little pachyderm. Taking a dip into the pool for the first time may have seemed scary but once he faced his fear and dove right in, he found that he loved his new discovery. A love he may not have known had he not tried. So what exactly can we learn in healthcare staffing from him: TRY. Try something new and you may find that you love your new discovery.

Don't be afraid

Don't be afraid to try new things such as:

Social Media

We have said it time and time again. Social media really is for healthcare staffing. If you are not currently on any social media platform as a company or with a personal account give it a shot. I am a firm believer in social media, not because its my job but I love doing it and the opportunities and connections I have made because of it. Another benefit, accounts are free! You can't turn down free promotion, you just have to know how to do it right. One question I often face is, "I don't want people knowing my business all over the internet". I agree, I don't either. No one really does. The cool thing about that is, you control your social media and you are in control of what information you release to the online world. If you don't want it out there, don't post about it. There are also privacy settings you can put into play if you dont want your colleagues' posts that include you to appear on your accounts. Again, YOU are in control of what YOU do. Give it a shot. Play around with it and don't be scared. If you don't try it you will never know what is waiting for you. Just like the elephant in the video, he may not have known how wonderful splashing around in a new pool was until he tried it little by little before diving in completely.

New Staffing Software

If you have a staffing software that doesn't quite "cut-it" when it comes to what you need, check into your options. Don't be afraid to switch, you have to find a match that is best for you. Jumping into a new software with out testing it is scary but at least taking a leap of faith, so request a demo. This is like dipping your feet in the water before taking the plunge. 

For instance, maybe you've been scared to make the switch to BlueSky because its new, or because it may seem like a lot of work to transfer your data over. You won't ever know until you face the first obstacle of trying and testing it out. So request a demo from us! There could be something wonderful for your staffing software waiting for you.

Mobile Apps

Very rarely do you see someone, or even know someone with out a mobile phone these days. Half the time people have their phones attached to them at all times. Which is a wonderful way to stay connected at all times. However, mobile devices are not just for calls and text messaging any more. There are tons of apps available for users on both for Android users and Apple users. There's pretty much an app for about anything you need in life. Apps to help edit photos, apps that keep all your reward card info, apps that help you with your health and nutrition, the saying is true, "There's an app for that."

Here at BlueSky we have our own mobile app that makes life easier for caregivers to view their schedules, submit time and apply for jobs. All this at their finger tips at anytime anywhere. This alone should be enough to help you conquer your fear of using mobile and mobile apps. You can grant more access and make things easier for your caregivers by using our mobile app. Learn more about our app here.

Trust us, your caregivers will be loving the app access just like the elephant is in the above video.

Thinking out side the box

See, you thought I was crazy relating a baby elephant in a pool to healthcare staffing, and you may still think I'm crazy BUT you did learn something new and hopefully smiled at the site of him diving in to the pool. So take a note from the little pachyderm and try something new! Dive in, roll around, find a new discovery and enjoy it! Even I learned something new from this, I learned that thinking out side the box helps you relate healthcare staffing to elephants in a pool. Definitely a new one for me.

Tags: healthcare recruiting and staffing software, healthcare industry, healthcare staffing industry, Healthcare, healthcare scheduling software, healthcare staffing software, healthcare staffing agency, healthcare staffing trends, Staffing Agency, Staffing Industry

Stay competitive in the growing healthcare staffing industry

Posted by Jennifer Kardell on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 @ 10:32 AM

job placementThere is no denying that job opportunities in the healthcare industry are growing, which is why healthcare is the place to be. Careers as a registered nurse rank #2 (Dentistry ranks #1), according to U.S. World News for both top healthcare jobs and top 100 best jobs. Even though job opportunities are growing, the market is still competitive and it is important to remain on top of your A-game. After your years of studying and internships, you aren't always guaranteed a job. Why have all of your hard work go to waste? It's never too late to prepare for the interview that will impress your could-be-future-employer with the all of the wonderful assets you posses in making the healthcare industry better!

Healthcare career seekers

If you are still studying for your degree, you will want to get your foot in the door and gain as much experience as possible. The best way to do this is by researching your field, stay on top of growing trends within the industry, and network! Making connections is a very vital piece of the job search and that goes for any industry too.

Once you have gained some experienced and earned your degree that you have worked so hard for, might as well make that experience work for you. Prepare a great resume and cover letter. Now you make look good on paper, but you will also want to look good in person - prepare yourself for an interview. Sure you've probably had a job interview before but interviewing for your professional career is a little different. Preparing for the interview could play the most vital in obtaining your dream job. Interviewers will ask questions to get a sense of who you are and what you really know. Sometimes the questions asked will be phrased in a way that are meant to sound tricky. You can refer to our blog, "Simple Interview Questions in Healthcare Staffing Not to Overlook" as a reference.

One thing that may be overlooked in the midst of preparing the perfect resume and studying sample interview questions, is social media. What does your social media have to do with you getting a job? In some cases EVERYTHING! It's best, in job searching for any industry, to go over your social media accounts and go through things that may not look good to your future employer. A photo, or a status update that you feel is "harmless" could make or break your chances of landing the job of your dreams.

After preparing your resume and yourself for the interview, you will need to find placement. If you have made great connections throughout your experience, utilize those resources and put the word out that you are looking for placement. If you are looking online, you can check into staffing companies that help you find placement that is best suitable to your area and needs.

For those looking to hire

It's only natural for us to mention that it starts with a great staffing software to help future nurses and caregivers find the career that is most appropriate for them. Times have changed, and you don't have time for nor need to go through a stack of paper resumes to help nurses find appropriate placement. With a great web-based software system, there will be less of a headache to keep your life organized.

Here at BlueSky we can help you with:

Interested in learning more about BlueSky and how we can help your staffing agency?

Request a demo!

Tags: healthcare recruiting and staffing software, healthcare industry, healthcare staffing industry, Healthcare, healthcare scheduling software, healthcare staffing software, healthcare staffing agency, healthcare staffing trends, Staffing Agency, Staffing Industry, healthcare hiring

Potential hazards of 1099's in healthcare staffing?

Posted by Jennifer Kardell on Thu, Jun 20, 2013 @ 10:04 AM

1099 Magnifying Glasslg2Utilizing independent contractors can sometimes be a difficult and confusing task to take on.  They are used not only in the healthcare staffing industry, but in almost every industry out there.  Its important for companies to have some general knowledge on independent contractors, as misclassifying employees and independent contractors can result in potentially serious consequences. 

First, its important to know what an independent contractor actually is, as opposed to a regular employee.  According to the IRS, someone is generally an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work, and not what will be done or how it will be done.  Independent contractors usually set their own hours and are paid on a freelance basis, either a flat rate or per job.  They conduct their work in a manner that is independent from the company that is paying them for the work.  Therefore, its important to note that independent contractors are not entitled to benefits that are afforded to employees such as retirement funds, 401ks and health insurance.  Independent contractors can, however, deduct certain health insurance premium costs when they file taxes. 

They are also different from regular employees as far as filing taxes are concerned.  Independent contractors dont have income taxes withheld from their earnings.  It is their responsibility to pay any taxes on their earnings, and not the companys.  Therefore, different measures must be taken when dealing with taxation procedures.  The two most common IRS forms associated with independent contractors are the W-9 and the 1099-MISC.  The W-9 (The W-4 is used for an actual employee) is a form that an independent contractor must fill out upon his/her agreement to work for a particular company.  The 1099-MISC is a form that the company must fill out and submit to the IRS for the independent contractor if compensation for their work exceeds $600.  These different tax procedures are an important reason why companies must be vigilant about properly classifying independent contractors and employees.  A company misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor can result in substantial tax issues and penalties for failure to pay employment taxes and filing required tax forms.

Its important for everyone in our industry to have some proper general knowledge about independent contractors.  All parties involved must be aware of the nature of the agreement being set forth and the work that is to be done to ensure that individuals are being properly classified so that companies will not be subject to penalties set forth by the IRS.   

Tags: healthcare recruiting and staffing software, healthcare industry, US Economy, Healthcare, healthcare scheduling software, healthcare staffing trends, Staffing Agency, Staffing Industry, health, Tax Season, money

The Travel Industry is Better than Ever

Posted by Julie Moore on Tue, May 21, 2013 @ 10:45 AM

iStock 000012050555XSmall crop380wLate Friday afternoon I received a call from one of my favorite clients, who I have known since I first started with BlueSky, and his company landed their first big travel contract. I love these types of calls because it means my customers are growing, but I also find it ironic because at the Healthcare Staffing Summit this past October we had the discussion that no matter how much you don’t want to deal with travel it’s a necessary evil if you want to grow. These conversations I have had with this client echo many other conversations I have with current and prospective clients. Travel healthcare staffing isn’t on a rebound – it has rebounded!

History Lesson of 2009

For those of you who are new to this industry and are wondering what travel healthcare staffing is rebounding from is quite simple. The travel healthcare industry took a 50% loss in revenue in 2009. This is a huge, devastating loss in any industry. The medical staffing agencies that were not diversified with Per Diem Staffing were closing their doors left and right. It was actually the same year I started with BlueSky and I was questioning myself if medical staffing software was a good career move, but I held on and so far it has been a pretty good ride.

What is driving the Recovery?

There are several reasons why travel staffing is on its way back, but in my opinion, there is one main driving factor - The Affordable Healthcare Act (AHA).

As many companies in different industries are complaining about the increased cost of health insurance, the AHA has really been doing wonders for healthcare staffing. The AHA is increasing demand for healthcare and when there is an increase in demand of a product then the cost goes up. 

As I was talking to this customer on Friday evening he made a great point: When you look at the need these hospitals have it is impossible to find all of these candidates in one city or state. You have to go elsewhere for these candidates. He nailed it on the head.  Again, demand is the main driving factor in the increase in travel healthcare staffing.

What Makes this Recovery Better?

In my opinion the travel healthcare industry has finally recovered from its 2009 downward spiral and is better than ever. Medical staffing agencies are being more cautious in how they add expenses to their agency. They are using technology to drive their business rather than adding another head. 

Many agencies who survived 2009 have learned their lesson from the previous burst and are dipping their toes in the water but not jumping in all the way.  They realize they will need to keep their per diem division alive and well as they grow the travel staffing business. Another interesting twist is that agencies also understand the value of the MSP model for a hospital but it also helps drives predictable revenue to a staffing agency which we will talk more about in a blog next week.

We want to hear more from you!

  • Are you picking up travel healthcare staffing?
  • What has your experiences been? 
  • Did you survive the crash of 2009 and are apprehensive about travel staffing?

Tags: healthcare recruiting and staffing software, healthcare industry, healthcare staffing industry, Affordable Care Act, Healthcare, healthcare staffing and recruiting software, healthcare scheduling software, healthcare staffing software, healthcare staffing agency, healthcare staffing credentialing, healthcare staffing trends, hiring for healthcare staffing agencies, healthcare scheduling, Staffing Agency, Staffing Industry, staffing software, healthcare recruiting, healthcare hiring, Affordable Healthcare Act, healthcare reform, healthcare staffing payroll, AHA

The I.R.S. and the Affordable Care Act-what role do they play?

Posted by Tim Teague on Thu, May 16, 2013 @ 12:45 PM

describe the imageRecent 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.

Tags: healthcare recruiting and staffing software, healthcare industry, healthcare staffing industry, Affordable Care Act, Healthcare, healthcare staffing and recruiting software, healthcare scheduling software, healthcare staffing software, healthcare staffing agency, healthcare staffing credentialing, healthcare staffing trends, healthcare scheduling, Staffing Agency, Staffing Industry, staffing software, healthcare recruiting, healthcare hiring, Affordable Healthcare Act, healthcare reform, healthcare staffing payroll, ACA

10 ways to show your nurses you care this week

Posted by Jennifer Kardell on Wed, May 08, 2013 @ 11:00 AM

NationalNursesWeekBannerIt'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.

Tags: healthcare recruiting and staffing software, healthcare industry, healthcare staffing industry, Healthcare, healthcare staffing and recruiting software, healthcare scheduling software, healthcare staffing software, healthcare staffing agency, healthcare staffing credentialing, healthcare staffing trends, healthcare scheduling, Staffing Agency, Staffing Industry, staffing software, healthcare recruiting, healthcare hiring, healthcare staffing payroll

Is your Doctor iRoboting

Posted by Julie Moore on Tue, May 07, 2013 @ 02:50 PM

RP VITA 1Working 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.

Tags: healthcare recruiting and staffing software, healthcare industry, healthcare staffing industry, Healthcare, healthcare staffing and recruiting software, healthcare scheduling software, healthcare staffing software, healthcare staffing agency, healthcare staffing credentialing, healthcare staffing trends, healthcare scheduling, Staffing Agency, Staffing Industry, healthcare recruiting, healthcare hiring, health, healthcare staffing payroll, helping