Healthcare facilities, especially urgent care centers, rural hospitals, and federally qualified health centers, currently face mounting staffing pressure due to both the expected seasonal flu virus and the unanticipated introduction of Coronavirus.
As of mid-February, 174,037 patients have tested positive for Influenza this flu season, with 105 pediatric Influenza-related deaths since September 2019 (CDC Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report). Further, 14 patients have tested positive for Coronavirus in 6 states across the nation (CDC 2019-nCoV update). With thousands of confirmed cases in China and approximately 26 other countries, the threat of a growing pandemic looms, and health organizations will need to ensure there are enough providers to care for patients.
How do you know if your facility has enough staff?
This is a prime time for administrators, providers, and support staff to ask…is our facility prepared in the event that we experience a Coronavirus outbreak in addition to seasonal Influenza? What is our contingency plan should Corona become a major stateside concern? Do we have the physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, and other support staff we need? How will we come up with additional staff on short notice? What if our providers become ill or have to care for sick family members and are unable to work? Do we have a backup plan for staffing? Is locums part of that plan?
How can health facilities increase staff?
Healthcare leaders do have options for bulking up staff when seasonal demand is high. Some options may have unintended consequences, however:
|Hire additional permanent staff||Workforce can become bloated|
|Hire temporary staff||Time may be limited for interviewing/credentialing|
|Implement overtime for existing staff||Staff may burn out|
|Limit vacation and leave||Staff may become dissatisfied|
|Offer incentive pay||Expense may be prohibitive|
There is an answer that can circumvent all of these challenges for healthcare administrators – one that can help ensure you have the staff you need in times of crisis while keeping your workforce streamlined, your staff satisfied, and your resources optimized. The solution is locums
Locums can help you brace for impact during peak usage times.
Partnering with a trusted locum staffing agency can help you find fully vetted, qualified healthcare providers to fit your needs. Skilled, specialty-specific recruiters can make placement of well-qualified candidates simple and fast. Moreover, a locums company with an in-house credentials verification organization that adheres to strict credentialing standards can streamline the placement process and help you maintain compliance.
There’s no need to add permanent clinicians or do the time-consuming work of vetting temporary employees in house. You won’t have to ask your valued team members to run themselves ragged trying to keep up with the demands of an already stressful crisis. Instead, you’ll be prepared as you partner with a reliable and efficient healthcare talent team. And that can alleviate pressure, freeing you to lead your organization when it counts most. Hopefully, Flu season will let up and Coronavirus will pass by. Regardless, you’ll have developed a relationship with a locums agency you can trust.
To learn more about the Coronavirus, including viral impacts on the United States and the global outlook on the spread or the Coronavirus, our family of brands are here and ready to keep you informed. Visit the Cross Country Healthcare website, where our Chief Clinical Officer Hank Drummond provides virus updates and tips on preventing the spread of any virus.