The Future of Staffing: Four Key Takeaways from the SIA Healthcare Staffing Summit

The Future of Staffing: Four Key Takeaways from the SIA Healthcare Staffing Summit

Staffing Industry Analysts hosted their annual Healthcare Staffing Summit this November, which brought together industry experts to share perspectives on what’s trending in healthcare staffing, and predictions for the future of the industry. Our executive team was fortunate to attend this one-of-a-kind event to learn from and network with some of the key leaders in the healthcare staffing space.

So, what’s the state of healthcare staffing? And where is the industry heading?

Here are our key takeaways:

Post-acute care is heating up.

There is a noticeable push to move care from hospitals to the less expensive post-acute space. We can expect a big surge in outpatient settings and other post-acute care locations. Home health care is also being emphasized for the same reason – but recruiting is consistently a struggle in this space. We predict growing pains when it comes to credentialing for these services as they try to expand.

 

Staff retention remains a major challenge across the industry.

Companies that will succeed in retaining their staff are the ones that truly make an effort to engage, recognize, reward and appreciate their employees.

In-app staffing technologies have the unique opportunity to meet employees where they are – their phones – and engage with them via push notifications, and even reward them for completing tasks like picking up a shift or updating their profile. Gamifying the employee experience is one way staffing agencies can keep their employees coming back for more shifts.

But the ultimate tool to retention is simple; treat your employees right. Let them know they are more than just a number, and they will stick around and do great work for you.

 

Tech-enabled healthcare staffing is finally getting some recognition.

Trusted Healthcare, Nomad, and IntelyCare were all mentioned as technology disruptors, but the general understanding of how technology can impact the staffing industry remains narrow.

Based on the presentations we heard and the conversations we had, it sounds like some legacy staffing agencies plan to build and implement technology around their existing staff and processes.

In contrast, at IntelyCare, we have created new processes and created positions for our people around the technology that we’ve built from the ground up. Only time will tell, but we foresee that these legacy agencies will struggle to keep up if they use technology as a band-aid.

 

Technology will help to put people first.

“Technology when you want it. People when you don’t.” – Lars Asbjornsen, the SVP of Marketing at Upwork.

That quote really resonated with us.

With the emergence of technology in an industry that still relies so heavily on manual transactions like calls and emails, it can be difficult to envision how a company might impart a personal touch when interactions are self-service, or how facilities and healthcare workers could possibly manage to submit and pick up shifts, respectively, all with the touch of a button. With all that automation, how do you make a client, or a member of your staff, feel like more than just a number?

Our answer?

Technology doesn’t have to replace the human touch – it just has to replace and improve upon outdated processes – like playing phone tag with multiple agencies to fill a gap in care. With a tech-enabled staffing platform like IntelyCare, we can replace the laundry list of agencies facilities are forced to rifle through and call every time they need to fill a shift – and instead, they can simply push a button to request a shift, and let the algorithms match their shifts to quality healthcare professionals (at a high fill rate).

As consumers, we don’t need more human interactions, we need quality human interactions. With technology, we can speed up some processes that are pain points for clients and employees – and make their experience better than ever.

 

Final thoughts…

Looking for the silver bullet to take staffing to the next level? Technology is a step in the right direction, but it needs to be the right technology, implemented in the right way if you want to actually make your operations more efficient and keep your clients and employees happy.

At the core, healthcare staffing success has always and will always boil down to getting the right person to the right place, at the right time and at the right cost. If you can deliver that to your clients at the highest level of customer service, you’ll succeed.

Does your facility need help with your staffing needs? Request a demo with a member of our sales team for a walk-through of our intelligent solution.

IntelyCare was created by nurses, for nurses. We’re here to take care of those who take care of everyone else; our staffing solution gives nurses the opportunity for a better, more flexible schedule to help reduce nurse stress. Apply today to join the future of nursing.

IntelyCare Spotlight: Meet Vice President of Operations, Mike Clericuzio

IntelyCare Spotlights Mike Clericuzio, Vice President of Operations

Mike Clericuzio, VP of Operations

Mike Clericuzio and his team are at the center of the IntelyCare universe – they make sure that our IntelyPros and clients have someone to answer their questions, 24/7. They are also the drivers of quality on our team – the quality of our communication and the quality of our network of IntelyPros hinges on the skill of our Operations team.

We sat down with Mike to help us better understand the immense impact they have on IntelyCare’s success.

Hi Mike – thanks for agreeing to participate in our Spotlight Series.

For anyone who doesn’t quite know what “Operations” actually means, can you walk me through what IntelyCare’s Operations team does?

I oversee the team that interacts with our IntelyPros regularly – they are the ones that make sure IntelyPros’ questions are answered, and we also are the team that drives better service for them.

In the past [IntelyPros] would call in and have long wait times…but we can’t afford that, so we made the investment to expand our operational support. I’m happy to say we don’t have call wait times, and we’ve expanded our availability to 24/7.

We’ve also improved the quality of the network, which was really a two-fold endeavor.

There are situations where we can intervene to help our IntelyPros better understand the needs of our clients – we do a good job helping them to understand their expectations and the responsibility they take on when they pick up a shift.

We also hear IntelyPros’ concerns, whether it’s about something that happened on a shift, about our process, or about our app. We are in a position to take that feedback in and to act on it to improve the services that we provide and, in turn, improve the coverage for our facilities.

It sounds like when we invest in our Operations team, we’re investing in the experience of our IntelyPros and our clients.

Yeah, I feel pretty good that we are moving in that direction. Some of that truthfully is parting ways with IntelyPros who have a hard time meeting our standards – that happens. People work per diem because they need that flexibility, however, my philosophy is if you accept that shift you need to complete it and you need to complete it in a quality way.

That’s why we’ve instituted our rewards program – IntelyLevels – to help IntelyPros understand their actions – positive and negative – impact our facilities and their patients.

It sounds like there is a good deal of nurturing going on as well.

I think we’re trying to be different than other agencies. We’re trying to be very open and available to them. So, when they do call in, I never want them to think they’re a number.

Even when they call in to tell us how we could do better, we listen and have instituted several changes that were actually driven by the feedback from IntelyPros.

IntelyPros have a voice at this company – we respect them, and we need them, and so do our clients. That’s why we’re here.

Have you always worked in Operations?

I’ve been in Operations for over 25 years – in all my roles I’ve always been focused on operations and quality. I know the difference between “fluff” quality – which appeases people for a very short period of time – and the more long-term investment in quality. We have to have the right people that support our clients and our IntelyPros.

I have been doing this for a long time. I have built call teams from scratch and taken them over and created efficiencies that they need to run properly.

For example,  we are implementing a new phone service. It’s a service that will help us improve the quality of our day to day interactions. That’s what we’re continuously looking to do – improve.

I agree – the quality of interaction is so important. I think people want the ease of calling someone on the phone, but they don’t want to wait for 30 minutes to talk to someone, and they want to be able to tell that the person on the other end of the phone actually cares about them.

Yes. And we want to make it easier for them, so they can call us up on the phone and speak to a live agent if they wish, or they can have the more self-service approach, where our phone technology can actually answer questions for them – for instance, confirm a shift start time.

What do you find most rewarding about working with IntelyPros?

What I find rewarding is that we can help them manage their day to day lives.

A lot of our IntelyPros have family situations that require flexibility and it’s nice to see them be able to pick up shifts. Not a lot of companies afford that flexibility to their employees – ours can pick up the shifts they can work, and they’re not obligated to work at times that don’t work for them.

It also has given me a new perspective on the immense support that goes into running a facility. It is really eye-opening when you see the level of staffing they need. I give them a lot of credit.

I’ve had a grandmother in a nursing home and I always thought it worked like clockwork – but there’s a lot of moving parts to make that clock tick and seeing that we can help in that is rewarding for me.

Can you offer any advice to a new IntelyPro to help them be successful?

Know what you’re looking for. If you are looking for that flexibility, it’s there. If you’re looking for a full-time job, it’s there, too.

There are no easy roles – this is no exception. It will be difficult caring for patients that don’t always have all their faculties, but it can also be so rewarding. The first time you put a smile on someone’s face is directly caused by the care that you’re giving – and that will carry you through any challenges the rest of the day.

It’s important to know that there can be more stress related to the types of residents you’re caring for, but that’s balanced by so many rewarding aspects as well.

Last question – when you’re not manning the Operations ship, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to golf. And I really love spending time with my family – my two kids are in the older teenager years now and fortunately, they still like to spend time with dad! We’re beach bums, so we like to spend time at the beach.

Thanks, Mike!

What SNFs need to know about CMS’s Patient Driven Payment Model

What SNFs need to know about CMS’s Patient Driven Payment Model

Last July, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) announced a new case-mix classification model, the Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM). PDPM will take effect beginning October 1, which will be used under the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Prospective Payment System (PPS) for classifying SNF patients in a covered Part A stay.

How will PDPM work?

The PDPM system will effectively overhaul the Resource Utilization Group (RUG-IV) system. While the RUG-IV compensation was driven by volume, PDPM will be based on patients’ care needs. PDPM will utilize six payment components to determine payment:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech-Language Pathology
  • Non-therapy Ancillary
  • Nursing
  • Non-Case Mix

Patients will be assigned to a Case-Mix Group (CMGs) for each component. For more information on the calculation of reimbursement, you can visit CMS’s PDPM FAQ page.

What will be different?

Payment will now be determined by clinically relevant patient characteristics rather than volume-based measurements, like therapy hours. So rather than relying hevily on therapists to drive reimbursements and, in turn, the patient’s overall care plan, the responsibility will be more in the hands of the nurses, who, as you know, are the front lines of patient care.

This will make payments more specific to the patient – which will more accurately reimburse you for the care you provide to each patient.

What does this mean for my facility?

Your facility will need to do some heavy lifting so that you can benefit from this new system, as the accurate capturing of information will be crucial to your SNF’s success.

Under the RUG-IV, only 20 fields were expected to be filled, but now Minimum Data Set (MDS) coordinators will be asked to fill 161 fields using precise ICD-10 codes for patient diagnoses.

Even if you have already participated in an initial 5-day MDS assessment, patient characteristics can change over time. Experts suggest that an Interim Payment Assessment (IPA), which is performed after an initial assessment, can be the best way to capture a change in patient characteristics when a patient’s condition has changed so that you can maximize your reimbursement potential.

Some instances where an IPA may be helpful:

  •  Non-Therapy Ancillary (NTA)
  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech Therapy
  • Nursing

Here is a helpful article that summarizes the strategies for implementing an IPA.

PDPM is swiftly approaching. What to remember as you prepare for October 1.

Coding will be a key skill moving forward. CMS has not specified a required coding program, but facilities should consider taking steps to ensure providers have some ICD-10 code expertise, and perhaps even offer incentive to providers to earn some professional coding credentials. Experts suggest a Certified Inpatient Coder credential through the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC.)

Nurses will now quarterback reimbursements. Therapy hours are no longer the key driver of reimbursements, so therapists, in turn, will no longer dictate a resident’s overall care plan. Your nurses may also take on the additional reimbursement paperwork – as an accurate record of resident diagnoses will be vital to accurate Medicare compensation. Make sure you are properly supporting your nursing staff through safe staffing practices.

We are here for you. While CMS’s ultimate goal with this transition from RUG-IV to PDPM is meant to improve patient care, increase the accuracy of reimbursements, and remove some of the administrative burdens on SNF providers, we know that implementing radical changes to your facility’s processes will significantly impact your day-to-day. Remember that you have a resource in us – if you’d like to have a conversation about how we can best suit your needs in light of these changes, let us know.

 

Does your facility need help with your staffing needs? Request a demo with a member of our sales team for a walk-through of our intelligent solution.

IntelyCare was created by nurses, for nurses. We’re here to take care of those who take care of everyone else; our staffing solution gives nurses the opportunity for a better, more flexible schedule to help reduce nurse stress. Apply today to join the future of nursing.

Why Skilled Nursing Facilities Love IntelyCare’s Book Me Feature

Why Skilled Nursing Facilities Love IntelyCare’s Book Me Feature

Finding the right nursing professional for your skilled nursing facility’s shifts can be tough. So, when you connect with a nursing professional who shows up to work your per-diem shift and they are the perfect fit, it’s only natural to want to bring them back next time you need to fill a shift.

Well, lucky for you, IntelyCare’s got your back.

With our super simple Book Me feature, you can hand pick those nursing professionals you wish to continue staffing from our network of IntelyPros!

What is Book Me?

Our Book Me feature gives you the flexibility to choose who will staff your needs making it easier than ever to control the credentials and quality of care you want in your per-diem workers.

It’s so important to have a positive and happy work environment, especially given the stressful nature of nursing. So, if you and your staff love working with one of our IntelyPros and you have an ongoing staffing need, Book Me allows you to book them for multiple shifts at a time. Who knows – you may like the IntelyPro so much you might decide to hire them!

Why Schedulers and Directors of Nursing use Book Me:

  • Consistency: When you book a preferred IntelyPro through our Book Me feature, you provide consistency to your patients and your staff. Book Me also provides the opportunity to build relationships between your staff and patients, which we know is integral to quality care; a 2017 study by the Council of Accountable Physician Practices found that patients believe that positive patient-provider relationships is the key element of quality healthcare.
  • Confidence: Feel confident that you have the right person on the floor. Hand-pick your favorite IntelyPros who meet the exact credentials and experience your facility needs.
  • Comfort: Rest Easy. Book Me lets you book your IntelyPros in advance, so you can ditch the worrying about whether your shift will get filled or not.

Whether it’s in response to the nurse staffing shortage, to cover for your staff on vacation, or to fill the gaps in between hires, Book Me is the perfect tool to augment your nursing staff.

Want to learn more about the Book Me feature? Download our infographic here.

Does your facility need help with your staffing needs? Request a demo with a member of our sales team for a walk-through of our intelligent solution.

IntelyCare Celebrates National Skilled Nursing Care Week!

IntelyCare Celebrates National Skilled Nursing Care Week!

Happy National Skilled Nursing Care Week!

National Skilled Nursing Care Week is sponsored by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) to recognize the challenging, important work that every team member of a skilled nursing facility does day in and day out.

This year’s National Skilled Nursing Care Week (NSNCW) theme is “Live Soulfully” – this week, we celebrate how skilled nursing facilities like yours help our most vulnerable populations continue to live happy, healthy lives. Your residents’ lives don’t simply move on to the next chapter once they come to your facility – they flourish. You ensure that they continue to live soulfully through activities like gardening, cooking and eating good food, singing to music, encouraging them to express themselves through art, reading and discussing good books, but among all that, you make sure they feel cared for, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

All week long, many of you have told us about the awesome ways you have chosen to celebrate your residents and staff – and we’re so happy to hear you have been embracing the theme of living well. As National Skilled Nursing Week comes to a close, we want to make sure we share a heartfelt thank you to you for all you do.

Thank you to the schedulers for juggling schedules to keep your shifts safely staffed.

Thank you to administrators for balancing everything from patient care to food vendor decisions.

Thank you to directors of nursing for ensuring safe, diligent, above and beyond patient care.

Thank you to the secretaries who greet every visitor with a smile.

Thank you to the accountants for balancing the books.

Thank you to the maintenance employees, custodians, and groundskeepers that keep the lights working, halls clean, and lawns trimmed.

Thank you to the activity coordinators for sparking joy and keeping spirits high.

Thank you to physical and occupational therapists that help residents gain back their independence.

Thank you to food service workers that keeps plates and stomachs full, and the dieticians that keep residents eating well.

And thank you to volunteers for giving up your free hours to make a difference.

No matter your role, your impact is a substantial one.

Thank you for making sure that our senior and disabled communities continue to live enjoyable and meaningful lives. We know the job you do is one of the hardest out there and can sometimes feel like a thankless endeavor. We want you to know that your dedication to your residents and your staff does not go unnoticed; we hear it in your voices on every call, and we see it first hand on every visit. While you take time this week to acknowledge your staff and your residents, make sure to take some time to celebrate yourself, too.

Thanks for all you do!

 

Does your facility need help with your staffing needs? Request a demo with a member of our sales team for a walk-through of our intelligent solution.

CMS’s new staffing standards are now in effect. What your facilities need to know.

CMS’s new staffing standards are now in effect. What your facilities need to know.

Last month, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced stricter standards for nursing home ratings, which includes smaller windows for staffing penalties and new ratings for short-term and long-term stays.

What you need to know

CMS will get tougher on all three metrics that inform star ratings; survey, quality, and staffing.

However, staffing ratios, in particular, seem to be at the heart of the CMS rating overhaul; starting this week, CMS will automatically hand out one-star staffing ratings to buildings that have four or more days in a quarter with no registered nurse on site, down from the current seven-day standard.

This is likely in response to the New York Times’ investigation this past summer that exposed skilled nursing facilities for inaccurate reporting of nurse coverage in their buildings.

What’s happened so far

Recent changes have made it more difficult to achieve above average ratings.

The American Health Care Association noted that 36% of skilled nursing facilities have already experienced a drop in their overall star ratings since the plan took effect last Wednesday. 33% of those facilities lost at least one star based on their staffing standards. (For comparison, only about 15% of facilities actually earned a star as a result of the changes.)

What does this mean for my facility?

Ultimately, this initiative will make it harder for your facility to earn an above average rating. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it just means that CMS is more serious than ever about making sure skilled nursing facilities operate to provide the highest level of quality care and that conditions are safe for both patient and caregiver.

With that said, your rating is still important, and you surely want to make sure it doesn’t drop.

So what can you do to maintain (or even improve) your rating?

In the words of CMS, staffing ratios aren’t a bad place to start if facilities are looking to improve quality. “Nurse staffing has the greatest impact on the quality of care nursing homes deliver, which is why CMS analyzed the relationship between staffing levels and outcomes,” the agency said in the statement that announced the new rules for the Five-Star Quality Rating System. “CMS found that as staffing levels increase, quality increases.”

Improving your staffing is no easy task, but luckily, you have a resource in us. If you’d like to have a conversation about how we can best suit your needs in light of these changes, let us know. We are here to help; we’d love to help tailor our services to meet your staffing needs.

 

Does your facility need help with your staffing needs? Request a demo with a member of our sales team for a walk-through of our intelligent solution.

IntelyCare was created by nurses, for nurses. We’re here to take care of those who take care of everyone else; our staffing solution gives nurses the opportunity for a better, more flexible schedule to help reduce nurse stress. Apply today to join the future of nursing.