As patients are vaccinated and COVID cases wane, healthcare organizations are reopening facilities and resuming services. Leaders can take a strategic approach to hiring by evaluating the recently released CMS recommendations for reopening through a staffing lens.
Reopening facilities and resuming services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid recently released the updated “OPENING UP AMERICA AGAIN, CMS Recommendations on Re-opening Facilities to Provide Non-emergent Non-COVID-19 Healthcare: Phase I” (CMS). In the document, CMS outlines how facilities can restart procedural care, chronic disease care, and preventive care in areas that have passed the federal Gating Criteria.
The CMS recommendations can inform hiring decisions when considered from a staffing and personnel perspective. The staffing-related considerations below are based on the CMS recommendations and can provide a jumping-off point for decision-makers:
- Prepare for a potential surge. As private practices, surgical centers, clinics, and hospitals reopen, and as more people are vaccinated, patient volume may surge. Do you have enough providers and staff to handle fluctuations in volume? Consider having temporary resources on hand, such as locum tenens providers to fill gaps.
- Implement COVID safety protocols. Ensure you have the staff available to screen patients and employees for COVID, to manage the supply and provision of PPE, and to thoroughly clean and disinfect all areas, equipment, and supplies.
- Maintain social distancing. Consider whether you are adequately equipped with the staff to maintain social distance protocols. For example, many facilities have COVID-care zones and COVID-free zones, with staff members assigned only to one or the other. Do you have the employees to fill each zone?
- Use telehealth services. Many facilities are providing consultation, routine, or follow-up care through telemedicine to reduce exposure for both patients and staff. Does your facility have telehealth providers on hand?
- Plan for sick employees. While the incidence of COVID infections has dropped significantly, we may face resurgence due to variants moving forward. Further, some healthcare providers have chosen not to get vaccinated. If you have staff members who become ill with COVID, are you prepared with a healthy backup workforce?
- Have a coordinated COVID plan. Across the board, you’ll have new procedures to follow, equipment to manage, protocols to implement. What would it look like to have a COVID specialist on the team? If you don’t already have a provider on staff whose sole function is infectious disease prevention and safety, consider whether this would be an asset for your facility.
As you prepare for an expected resurgence in elective procedures as well as continuing to deal with COVID-19, Cross Country Locums can assist you with your staffing needs. To connect with an expert who can help ensure you’re adequately prepared, contact us today.