health facility

New Law May Help – Won’t Solve – Health Facilities’ Rising Staffing Costs

The facilities’ rising costs are acting as a serious bottleneck in the US and creating concerns for the county hospitals to find nurses and staff. In one of the instances, David Ross, the hospital administrator at Hillsborough County Nursing Home, faced severe issues with hiring nurses and LNAs owing to the low wages offered at the county. This forced Ross to try out staffing agencies that charge double the costs for providing temporary workers. Due to high costs, Ross had to close 50 out of 300 beds.

To this, he says,” We couldn’t fill the 100 (vacant) positions with agency staff without overburdening the taxpayers. Having those 50 beds would not solve the waitlist, but it would certainly help 50 people.”

Read on to delve into what nursing home administrators like Ross are concerned about and what measures look feasible. To understand its legal aspects, it’s recommended to consult Dawsonville GA personal injury attorneys.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, nursing homes and hospitals used temporary staff for additional working shifts. With the outbreak, nurses and LNAs started finding jobs in other facilities as the demand for healthcare rose tremendously.

In lieu of the problems faced by hospital administrators similar to Ross, Senate Bill 149 was initiated as a way to tackle the issue. While it does not put a ceiling on the charges that the staffing agencies demand, it limits their practices to keep the costs under control. Certain points have been incorporated with regard to the implementation of this bill.

From October, staffing agencies are stopped from scheduling a nurse or LNA for more than one assignment with a view to preventing double bookings that otherwise put pressure on medical facilities, forcing them to engage in bidding tussles. Another key point is that agencies cannot show the pandemic or a contagious virus as a way to justify their action of increasing the facilities’ fees. Many legal aspects surrounding such legislation can be understood and interpreted clearly by speaking to Dawsonville GA personal injury attorneys.

In such cases, the respective agency would be barred from working or hiring for the facilities they have been engaged with. Besides, agencies are prohibited from recruiting any nurse or LNA whose license has been suspended.

From January 1, staffing agencies that hire nurses would have to register with the state Office of Professional Licensure and Certification and need to pay a fee. If the agencies violate these requirements, they may lose their license to operate.

While the new law puts various curbs on the way the agencies function, it doesn’t mandate the agencies to disclose the amount they charge from various medical facilities or what they pay to workers. This was initially a requirement in the original version. However, as staffing agencies refused to comply, calling it overly burdensome, the leaders agreed as it would give at least some relief to administrators like Ross.

As per the reports from AARP, the vacancy rate at the state’s nursing homes stood at 40.6 % in April, almost twice the national average of 19%. However, President and CEO of the New Hampshire Healthcare Association, Brendon Williams, is concerned that this shortage would worsen, considering President Joe Biden’s proposition on minimum staffing requirements for nurses.

Williams said he is more worried about Biden’s proposal shooting up the staffing costs while not addressing their core objective of improving the quality of care. He added, “No matter what you raise your wages to, the agencies will simply charge you more and we can’t get the transparency element to require them to tell us how much of that goes to workers. It’s absolutely not all of what they charge, but . . . they can continue to inch ahead of what providers can pay. That makes them continue to be more attractive to workers.”

Tom Blonski, President and CEO of Catholic Charities, says he lost workers just when their shifts started because the agency had double booked them and was sending them to another facility with a higher hourly rate. Blonski hopes such practices would be handled properly under the new law. He says,” It’s a matter of integrity. It’s a matter of doing the right thing. “It’s a matter of not exploiting the system.”

Blonski opines that besides controlling the agency staffing costs, the law would also allow the administrators to revisit their recruitment and selection procedures. He says,” How flexible can we be with our schedule? How creative can we be with our pay structure? Are we offering long-term retention bonuses? What are we doing in creating a . . . culture that (potential employees) want to be part of, that values them?”

Senator Cindy Rosenwald, the key sponsor of the new law, assures that the state’s initiatives towards hiring more healthcare professionals, expanding access to child care, and offering reasonable housing options will all help.

She adds,” If we use the tools we have to incentivize new health workers to stay in New Hampshire, chances are they are going to love it and put down roots here. But they have to afford to live here.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *