Magazine article USA TODAY

Finding the Right Hires for the Health Care Industry

Magazine article USA TODAY

Finding the Right Hires for the Health Care Industry

Article excerpt

OVER the last few years, the explosion of health care-related growth in the U.S. job market has resulted in employers and staffing agencies that work in the industry finding new ways to find qualified candidates, as well as creating strategies for retaining existing employees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18% of the 2,600,000 new jobs created in 2015 were in health care, and there was a 30% increase in hospital job growth from 2014-15, which resulted in the addition of 172,000 payroll positions.

However, turnover rates for the health care industry often are higher than the national averages for other job sectors, with the average being 19.2% in 2015, a rise from the 17.7% reported in 2014. As more Americans take advantage of the programs available from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, organizations struggling with employee turnover are seeing their patient care suffer, and this can result in financial repercussions related to their Medicare Star Ratings, a component of the PPACA system that offers rebates to the highest-performing organizations based upon patient engagement.

As a result of staffing shortages and increased workloads for existing staff members, health care organizations often are faced with lower morale and frustrated employees, a higher risk of organizational breakdowns, increased staffing costs related to meeting the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations standards, and minimized productivity as new hires are trained on organizational standards. These factors, combined with data showing that 62% of nurses over the age of 54 are considering retirement within the next three years, are indicative of some of the the difficulties facing the health care industry.

For health care employers and staffing agencies, a large area of concern continues to be the expenditure of time and money in retaining skilled health care professionals, especially in the nursing field. While the U.S. economy continues to show signs of growth, this growth is fueling a battle among organizations related to health care in regards to talent acquisition. In the third quarter of 2015, HCA, the largest hospital operator as defined by revenue, experienced a year-over-year drop in net income that was related to ever-increasing labor costs to meet higher patient volumes in their locations. These problems, which include challenges in recruiting health care staff for emergency rooms and other medical departments, are not exclusive to HCA.

A study published by the Internet Journal of Health Care Administration suggests a number of alarming trends. Between the ever-shrinking talent pool of nurses available for health care organizations to fill their key positions, combined with the outdated organizational methodologies that many health care human resource departments are using, the staffing crisis is likely to continue. In 1980, more than 50% of all registered nurses were younger than 40; by 2013, 55% of the workforce had reached age 50 or older. More than 1,000,000 registered nurses will reach retirement age within the next 10 to 15 years, while the average cost-per-hire is $2,821.

Not surprisingly, more and more organizations are looking for proactive ways to keep their top talent. The costs associated with turnover for health care organizations on a yearly basis is staggering. According to Health Care Management Review, turnover at one medical center alone represented a loss of five percent of the total annual operating budget of the organization.

For health care staffing companies, being able to partner with health care employers and organizations is an ever-increasing area of importance. Health care staffing revenue reached the highest level in history in 2015 and statistics show that this number will continue to grow in the coming years. Staffing organizations that work with health care providers are burgeoning at astronomical rates and the ability to incorporate health care staffing componentry into the overall suite of products offered will continue to assist in this long-term expansion. …

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