As predicted, the COVID-19 crisis is having a considerable impact on U.S. healthcare workers and hospital leaders, who are trying to effectively care for patients, shore up personnel, and source needed equipment. In response, SimpliFi is actively participating with our client health systems and healthcare workers (both contingent and permanent) to ensure that they have the support they need during this time.
We know the term “unprecedented times” has been overused quite a bit recently, but there is no better way to speak about what has been happening in the US since early March. One thing that has remained constant is the need for travel nurses. Travel nursing jobs across the US have increased by 20 times from late May to August 1. Although there are still many uncertainties, SimpliFi is working to help hospitals be prepared for whatever is ahead through clear communication, proactive staffing, and reallocation of available staff.
How SimpliFi Is Responding to the Needs of Hospitals and Healthcare Workers (Contingent and Permanent)
When so much is changing on a daily basis, healthcare workers need communication and reassurance that the hospital they are working for is watching out for their interests. Right now, this means having a plan for the conservation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), limiting non-patients in the hospital, being clear about quarantine procedures, and more.
If policies are unclear, or worse yet are not followed, then clinicians will lose confidence in the health system and that will have a domino effect, resulting in clinicians cancelling and moving to another health system. To prevent workforce shortages of any kind, SimpliFi is responding in three key ways:
#1 – We Are Standing in the Communication Gap.
Communication with your contingent workforce is absolutely vital, and oftentimes more difficult than communicating with your full-time workforce. For example, clinicians working on-assignment at a hospital usually do not have a hospital email address.
- Our health system clients are sending daily updates to their employees, but if not for close alignment with us and our daily communication to the staffing agencies, then the contingent portion of their workforce would be in the dark.
- We are one of the few MSPs with a dedicated Director of Vendor Engagement who is in constant daily communication with our staffing agency partners who are then disseminating the most-up-to-date information to their employees, the clinicians.
#2 – We Are Working with Our Clients on Proactive Staffing Plans.
We are stressing with our clients that the lead time to source clinicians is increasing, so we must be in the market now to secure the clinicians they need as the start dates we are seeing are no further out than 3 weeks right now.
- Our clients have the assurance that if we source staff for them, they are not financially obligated for those clinicians until the day they start, giving them flexibility and the confidence to plan ahead.
- Proactively going to the market with staffing needs could lessen the use of rapid response nursing. Rapid response agencies can provide nurses within days, but the rates today are more than 200% the standard rate.
#3 – We Are Helping to Redeploy Staff Where Needed.
In a time when we seem to only see and read bad news, Americans should be proud of our patient care workers who are asking to be present for us in this time of need and care for patients with COVID-19.
- We are working with our partners to redeploy available staffed clinicians in other areas of the hospital through floating to other areas of expertise, or through floating to areas outside of their scope as “helping hands” through the provision of clinical skills, including starting IVs, administering medications, ambulating patients, or other patient assistive duties. This enables these clinicians to keep their hours, and the facility to keep additional clinicians on-hand.
Does Your Health System Need Assistance Right Now?
For more information on our COVID-19 response and how we might be able to help your health system, please get in touch with our team today.