News

Meridian Medical Staffing partners with Medical Staffing Network

Posted on Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 at 6:06 pm.

Meridian Medical Staffing, Inc., a Denver, CO based Travel Nursing Company has partnered with Medical Staffing Network, (MSN) to offer fulfillment for many of their Northern California Assignments.  It is a joint venture that has both companies talking.   “We really believe that this new partnership is a great opportunity for both agencies” stated Susan LaPan, Director of Client Services for Meridian Medical Staffing.  “While California travel assignments aren’t what they were ten years ago, we are seeing a strong increase in needs in that state, especially north of the Bay area,” she continued.  “Napa County, Berkeley, San Jose are all having census increases at thier facilities that they simply cannot keep up with.  It’s a great location with strong-paying asignments, so the overall experience has proven to be rewarding and financially beneficial to the travelers.”  Meridian Medical Staffing continues to be one of the fastest-growing Travel Nursing Agencies in the country, and they base that growth on a “customer-service recruitment model.”  “We believe that most agencies have moved away from truly being “in-service” to the travelers they work with and they simply treat their travelers as numbers,” stated Mark Holloway,  Vice President of Operations for Meridian Medical Staffing, Inc.  “The economic conditions of the U.S. over the past 6 years with unemployment at such a high level has driven this apathy toward travelers by many of our competitors.  We feel that is a terrible result of the travel job market being slimmer than it has been in the past.  It’s time for agencies to get back to what we do well, and that is forming a solid, sustainable relationship with our travelers and offering a true, long-term travel plan that is specific to each traveler.”  So far, Holloway explains the philosophy is working very well.  “If a traveler is treated well, and informed completely about the” good and the bad” of an assignment, they will gladly come back and continue to work with you,” Holloway emphasized.  “It’s the key idea that we believe has made us one of the Best Travel Nursing Companies in the US.  You can’t have growth like we’ve experienced without making those changes and switching to a true “in service to others” philosophy.  It’s absolutely what we have done here, and we’re really proud of the changes we can see.”

To contact Meridian Medical Staffing and see and hear the difference they are offering, visit ther website at www.MeridianMedicalStaffing.com or call one of their customer Services Recruiters at 800-245-9414 today.

 

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Meridian Medical Staffing Announces New Partnership

Posted on Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 at 4:18 pm.

Meridian Medical Staffing, Inc., a Denver-based medical staffing agency has announced a new joint venture with Trinity Healthcare, Inc. Trinity Healthcare represents over 200 hospitals located in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Idaho, Oregon, and California. Trinity reached out to Meridian, one of the industry’s fastest-growing companies, to assist in their staffing needs, primarily their Travel Nursing positions that are increasingly becoming more and more difficult for the Farmington Michigan-based company to fulfill. “it is yet another area of the country that we felt qualified to deliver a high number of RNs and Allied healthcare professionals to” stated Mark Holloway, the Director of Client Services for Meridian Medical Staffing. “The Midwest, in particular has really been hit hard with an economic downturn, so naturally, hospitals in many of those states are finding it difficult to lure full-time RNs to their facilities,” Holloway continued. “That’s where we step in, by delivering a temporary 13-week solution to their permanent staffing shortfalls. We are truly excited about this partnership and have already had RNs start assignments in Iowa and California. “
If you would like to see a complete list of the new Trinity positions, as well as all of Meridian Medical Staffing’s currently available travel assignments, visit their website at www.MeridianMedicalStaffing.com

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Meridian Medical Staffing, Inc. announces new partnership with Steward Medical Group

Posted on Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 at 4:36 pm.

Meridian Medical Staffing, Inc., one of the nation’s fastest-growing medical staffing companies announced today that they have partnered with Steward Medical Group, out of Boston, MA. Steward Medical Group incorporates over 18 hospitals and healthcare facilities in and surrounding the greater Boston Massachusetts area. Meridian Medical Staffing, a Denver, CO-based corporation specializes in travel nurse assignments and travel allied therapy assignments nationwide. “Adding this distinguished group to our list of clients is a great partnership for both companies,” stated Susan LaPan, Meridian Medical Staffing’s Director of Client Services. “Boston and the surrounding area is a highly sought-after destination for many travel nurses and allied travelers,” LaPan continued. “We’re extremely excited to help this system with their travel staffing needs going forward. Boston is such a great travel destination and offers very strong pay rates. The travel assignments for the summer are already pouring in.”
To find out more about the new needs in Boston, call a Meridian Medical Staffing recruiter at 800-245-9414, or visit their website at www.MeridianMedicalStaffing.com

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Do I really need an accountant as a traveling Nurse?

Posted on Monday, July 19th, 2010 at 7:03 pm.

From my experience as a traveling nurse, I have learned that taxes for travel nurses are a lot different to taxes of a non-traveler. The first year I worked as a travel nurse, I didn’t use an accountant and, as a result, I was not aware of all the extra benefits and deductions that I was eligible for. I ended up regretting that I didn’t go to an accountant because I would have done things differently throughout the year and been able to save myself a lot of money on my taxes in the long run.

If you keep a permanent residence as a travel nurse you will be eligible for many benefits. You can even file for a daily cost of living allowance that basically pays for all your food when you are on assignment. The amount that you are allowed for daily cost of living varies from state to state. Your accountant will know where to find that information.

Also, you will need to pay state tax in each state where you work. You can also deduct mileage on your taxes. In some cases, a travel nursing agency may not reimburse you the full amount that you are eligible for in your taxes and you can deduct the difference. These are only a few examples of ways taxes are different for travelers, and accountants can be very helpful in making sure that you maximize your tax-saving opportunities.

When I traveled, I didn’t know of any accountant that specialized in taxes for traveling nurses. However, things have changed over the past few years and there are now several accountants out there who are experts at handlings taxes for traveling health care professionals. They know the ins and outs of everything related to taxes for your situation, and can advise you what to do in the coming year to make the most of your income.

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Getting the job starts with being prepared!

Posted on Thursday, July 15th, 2010 at 5:25 pm.

Many people often do not understand why it takes so long to hear back on a job, one surefire way to know that you have covered all your basis and all your information is current and correct is by making sure you are prepared. Meridian Medical Staffing has put together a list of the most used items so that you can come to the table as prepared as possible!

The below information is all possible info you may need to supply usually in this order…

Name & Address (perm)
Address (temporary)
Email address
Cell phone, Home phone or Voice mail
Original License Date (when you first were issued your first license)
State Licenses (numbers)
Expiration Dates
License of Resident State
Certifications, Expiration Dates
Clinical Experience in Reverse Chronological Order with below info:
Facility Name, address, phone number
Dates of Employment, Job Titles, Job duties
Job type: Perm, Per diem, Travel Nursing Assignment
Supervisors name, phone number + extension, email , alternate phone numbers
References: name, phone number + extension, email , alternate phone numbers
Not necessary to list Travel Nurse Companies you worked for. (Confidential)

Also keep copies of the below documents to scan and email or fax…

Licenses
Certifications
Drivers License
Employment Physical (current) (some companies may send you to their own medical screening if so request a copy for future use)
Immunization Records PPD
Resume
Complete Reference list
Letters of Reference
Past Evaluations
Skills check list (make sure it is a comprehensive one so the Company will accept it otherwise they may want you to use theirs)
W-2 (keep a blank copy for that year)
I-9 (Proof of citizenship) (Keep a Blank Copy for that year)
Copy of Check with VOID written across (for Direct Deposit)

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Are You Asking the Right Questions? Good Questions for your Travel Nursing Recruiter

Posted on Wednesday, July 14th, 2010 at 5:46 pm.

Are the hours per week guaranteed?

While you are on assignment and the census is real low and you get called off will they still pay you?

Is there any floating required to other units? What units? If you don’t want to float make sure it is written in the contract.

Is there a renewal bonus? (If this is a renewal or extension contract) Negotiate for this because the facility would have a trained staff and no additional Travel pay for another Traveler.

What type of Unit is it? Staffing? Other Support Staff?

What shifts will you work? Will you have to float to other shifts or do rotating shifts?

Base pay rate per hour? Overtime pay rate? Holiday pay?

What Holidays does the Travel Nursing Company have?

Possible Extensions? What is the max amount of extensions allowed? How much time will you have to be gone before you come back after you are maxed out?

Is there a clause to prevent you from being hired as a perm employee? If there is for how long? Can the Hospital pay a fee to release the clause? Ask that they delete it which they may if they want to sign you.

If you are sick can you make up shifts? Will they deduct for Housing costs related to the time you are sick? Can you extend contract if you are sick for example a week? (some companies won’t bother you if it is maybe 2-3 days in an assignment or will work with you if it is more so it is wise to discuss this possibility).

If you extend can you have some time off between? Will you be charged for housing costs if you still want to maintain the same housing? Depends how long but if you have to pay see if you can exchange a bonus for these costs. If you may need sometime in the middle of an assignment for something very important and brief give your recruiter and manager forewarning and come up with a possible plan.

Airfare paid? How much?

Travel Pay? How much?

Do they do the Tax Advantage Program? Details?

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Have the rules of travel nursing changed?

Posted on Thursday, June 17th, 2010 at 9:59 pm.

a confused travel nurseIn speaking with a few new travelers and some of my recruiters, it seems the travel game has changed a bit.

As most of us who are travelers know, last year was a particularly hard year for the travel nursing industry. At one point, travel assignments were down almost 50% from the previous year and many seasoned travelers were having difficulty finding assignments.

This year we have rebounded, but the assignment selection still isn’t what it used to be and a few new developments have caused some major changes in the industry.

The first thing we are seeing is more short term assignments (4-8 week contracts). This is almost certainly a reaction to the economy and the attempts by the facilities to minimize their reliance on costly outside staffing. However, this often presents a problem with travelers, who might be traveling a great distance, only to work for 4 weeks, then have to pack up and go somewhere else. If you take as much crap with you on assignment as I do, packing up every 13 weeks can be a task, let alone every four.

Next, many facilities are now offering contracts with start dates only 3 weeks or less in advance. This brings into play the licensing boards since some states cannot process applications for endorsements within that time frame. This might restrict you from certain assignments if you are not already licensed in that particular state.

The third, and possibly most important change, is in the pay rate. Many travel companies now employ VMS (Vendor Management Services). To describe what these companies do would take more space than I have in this column. Suffice it to say, they are someone else who has their hand in the cookie jar. Unfortunately, their cost seems not to be absorbed entirely by your travel company, but also by you, the traveler. This of course leads to rates that are sometimes dramatically lower than we saw just 18 months ago.

For example, a traveler recently contacted me regarding a Florida travel position, working on a med-surg floor. The assignment was only for 4-weeks, paid $21/hr, and would require him to pay out of pocket for travel and licensure. Not a very attractive offer considering he would be traveling from Michigan.

While the rules of the game might have changed, the game itself has not. Nurses can still travel to wonderful destinations, have their housing paid for, have medical/dental plans available, and still earn a fair hourly wage. For me, travel was never about the money, it was always about the adventure. While travel might not be as lucrative as it once was, the wonderful opportunity to travel is still ever-present for those looking for a little adventure in their nursing career.

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Top Reasons to Use Temporary Healthcare Professionals-Traveling Nurse Agency

Posted on Thursday, May 20th, 2010 at 5:27 am.

It doesn’t have to be time consuming.There are several ways to automate the management of staff from healthcare suppliers. Everything from job requisitions, credential management, timekeeping, invoicing and reporting can now be automated. Last minute needs. Your census changes daily, sometime hourly. If a major fluctuation occurs you can’t hire to your census. Having contracts with valued staffing suppliers that can assist you in these times can ensure you are properly staffed when you are in need. Increase your hospitals revenue. Unmet staffing levels can lead to turfing patients, which can lead to unfilled beds. Unfilled beds can lead to a lack of revenue for your hospital. Therefore, ensuring proper staffing levels or even increasing your staffing levels in order to take care of more patients can help your hospitals bottom line. It’s not always more expensive. Lets face it. Employees are expensive. Depending on what metrics you are using – employers can spend up to an extra 35 – 50% on top of an employees salary for benefits and other overhead costs, not to mention costs associated with attrition. So, with that, consider the typical markup of a healthcare staffing supplier (35 – 50%). Remember, the client only pays for time worked and orientation costs (in some cases). There are no associated recruitment, hiring or attrition costs. Therefore, using temporary staff in a well planned and managed way can actually end up saving you quite a bit of money. Maintaining steady usage ensures you have staff when you need it. If you infrequently contact your staffing suppliers they will place you in a lower priority. However, if you maintain a steady relationship with them you ensure they can meet your needs when you most need it. Further, if you’re a hospital that has an in-depth orientation process it’s a good idea to keep orientation slots open and candidates moving through them so that when you do request temporary healthcare professionals you have a pool of staff ready to go in your area – not sitting through orientation. Use more travelers (contract staff). Hospitals that primarily use travelers have more control over their staffing needs. Working with travelers requires more planning and preparation but can help you fill in anticipated staffing gaps due to seasonality and other occurrences. The bill rates for travelers are typically lower due to a longer guarantee of work or from differences in economic factors in different parts of the country. In addition, using travelers allows you to work with individuals who will be at your facility longer and therefore have a greater understanding of your practices and become more efficient in their patient care delivery. Finally, if you find the traveler is someone you would consider hiring – do that. Work with the staffing company to offer the caregiver a new job. Avoid costly overtime pay. The amount your hospital spends on overtime can end up being much more expensive than using temporary staff. I’ve worked with several hospitals that were attempting to reduce their spending on staffing by cutting back on outside staff. However, because these hospitals were inappropriately managing their overtime hours they ended up spending more money than before. Avoid staff burnout. There is a lot of talk about nursing burnout these days. Hospitals have cut back on healthcare supplier usage, however, there is still a nursing shortage. Therefore, in a lot of cases, that means hospitals are asking their staff to work harder. Doing so can be an effective solution in the short term. However, eventually your employees will start suffering from burn out and need reprieve. Starting new projects Implementing an EMR system? Opening new units? If so, most likely you will become quickly understaffed as your internal staff are dedicated to these new initiatives. Planning ahead of time to cover these projects by partnering with good staffing suppliers will ensure adequate coverage. Call Meridian Medical Staffing today at 800-245-9414 our website is www.meridianmedicalstaffing.com

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Yale Health System Contract

Posted on Saturday, April 17th, 2010 at 8:47 pm.

Meridian Medical Staffing has been awarded the Yale Health System Contract

Meridian Medical Staffing has won a contract with Yale New Haven Health System replacing one of the largest travel healthcare companies in the country. Meridian will now offer positions with; Yale-New Haven Hospital, Bridgeport Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Psychiatric Hospital and Greenwich Hospital and Delivery Networks. Meridian Medical Staffing, Yale New Haven Health System, will work in affiliation with the Yale University School of Medicine and other universities and colleges around Connecticut. We will provide jobs in all area of healthcare, for health professionals and advanced clinical care.

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Medical Staffing Network, AMN, Prolucent, Concerro

Posted on Friday, April 16th, 2010 at 8:54 pm.

MSN Warns Investors As reported by Jason Lander, the Staffing Robot, Medical Staffing Network (MSN) has warned investors that “it could file for Chapter 11 in bankruptcy court to fend off its lenders”.

MSN operates a managed service program (MSP) called One Source that acts as a gateway for staffing vendors servicing its hospital and clinic clients. With the dark cloud bankruptcy looming, the Robot suggests that staffing companies working through One Source take precautions like verifying amount due them are kept in escrow accounts.

Continue reading

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BIG” Healthcare Staffing Companies in Trouble?

Posted on Friday, April 16th, 2010 at 8:52 pm.

Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) held its healthcare staffing summit this last week. Jack Terrana of Tempworks and Jason Lander of StaffingRobot commented that the attendance was down but not dreadfully so and that the presentations were top notch as is usual for SIA shows.

A look at the income statement from Cross Country sums up the struggle of “BIG” health care staffing companies in light of the weakening economy:  $200 million in loss on $730 million in revenue.  Several Mid size companies like Meridian Medical Staffing, I’m happy to report are bucking that trend by eliminating almost all overhead with our outsourced processing solutions.  Since they’re not worrying or spending time on administration, they can give clients that extra TLC that keeps them ahead of national competitors like CCRN.

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Hartford, CT Contracts

Posted on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010 at 6:22 pm.

Meridian Medical Staffing is pleased to announce that we have just contracted with two new facilities in the greater Hartford, CT area.  Both allied and RN travel assignments will be available shortly.

We are very excited to partner with these hospitals, as we understand there are a great deal of needs curently available.  The area is beautiful, year-round, and apartment choices should be vast.  Connecticut Licensure is relatively fast, and quite simply.

We look forward to a long-term relationship with these new facilities!

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Top Healthcare Staffing Stories of 2009 and Predictions for 2010

Posted on Monday, December 14th, 2009 at 6:20 pm.

What the healthcare staffing industry looked like in 2009:

Major downturn in spending on healthcare temporary staff.

The biggest news in 2009 for the healthcare staffing industry was undoubtedly about the downturn in the economy. My second blog post ever was on the reasons hospitals were spending less on healthcare agency staff. The down turn in the economy even made people start asking the question: “is there still a nursing shortage?” From there, leading economists confirmed that not only was the economy bad but that it will take awhile for it to improve and return the healthcare staffing industry to pre-2009 levels. And finally, the Staffing Industry Analysts informed us that the nurse travel industry decreased by 44% this year and we saw this downturn reflected in the revenue loss reported by major public healthcare staffing companies.

Widespread adoption of healthcare vendor management.

In 2009 hospitals gave a big vote of confidence to vendor management as the preferred model for agency management. VMS has matured in the industry and delivered on its promise of saving hospitals both time and money on their staffing costs.

How healthcare reform will affect healthcare staffing.

The topic of how healthcare reform will affect healthcare staffing couldn’t be avoided. Many debates about the pros and cons of healthcare reform occurred on my blog and many of us had the privilege of hearing former Senator Tom Daschle’s view on healthcare reform at the healthcare staffing industry conference. AMN even produced results from a poll suggesting that hospital CEO’s feel healthcare reform will benefit the healthcare staffing industry.

Technology VMS companies struggle.

Even though some healthcare vendor management technology companies thrived in 2009 as hospitals increased their adoption of VMS, many companies did not fair so well. A few healthcare VMS companies had to close their doors this year while some VMS companies struggled to pay their staffing agency partners. Additionally, some VMS companies found acquisition to be the best way to survive the turbulent year.

Increased use of social media.

2009 was the year that many hospitals and staffing agencies began to use social media. Many hospitals, such as Providence St. Vincents in Portland Oregon who found success with their ‘pink glove dance video‘ that went viral, took full advantage of these tools. Some hospitals are still behind when it comes to social media while several hospitals are finding success with tools such as Twitter. Both healthcare staffing agencies and hospitals are now promoting and monitoring their brands online, as the online tools for brand promotion and management are starting to become more prevalent. I’ve even created some helpful tools for people to search for healthcare staffing industry information and follow companies in the healthcare staffing industry on Twitter.

As you can see, 2009 was a very eventful year for the healthcare staffing industry. So what will the next year bring?

Predictions for healthcare staffing in 2010:

More consolidation of staffing agencies and VMS companies.

After struggling through the economic downturn of the last 1.5 years many companies are now really feeling the effects. I see several staffing agencies closing their doors and many more acquisitions in 2010. I wouldn’t be surprised if we even see some consolidation with some of the major players. In addition, I expect we’ll see some more acquisitions of healthcare VMS companies.

Continued adoption of vendor management.

Hospitals will continue to choose vendor management for their agency management solution. As the rate of adoption continues to increase, I expect we’ll see hospitals still choose vendor neutral healthcare vendor management companies over agency run managed service providers.

New technology players.

The industry has gotten a bit stale in terms of innovation and new technology options. In addition, we’ve seen a decent amount of consolidation of industry technology companies. Both of these facts suggest to me that new players will enter the market and hopefully they will bring with them some exciting and innovate technologies. As these players enter the healthcare staffing industry I expect we’ll see more and more hospitals and healthcare staffing companies embracing technology to improve their staffing process. Stay tuned!

New marketing methods and opportunities.

As budgets tighten many hospitals and staffing agencies will look for more inexpensive and effective methods for marketing their services. Many more healthcare staffing organizations will turn to SEO/SEM and social media for company/brand promotion.

The market will come back slowly. Kind of.

Even though there are some positive signs for the economy overall and there has been some slight improvements in the healthcare staffing industry I don’t see anything that suggests we should get too excited. Earlier this week the Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) hosted a webinar about the economic outlook for 2010. Their predictions suggested that every industry will improve in 2010 – except healthcare staffing. In fact, they are predicting an overall decline of -1%. Therefore, unfortunately, I believe 2010 will still be a year of struggle. There will be some positive bumps here and there but we won’t start fully pulling out of this down turn until early/mid 2011.

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Oh where oh where have all the jobs gone?

Posted on Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 at 6:18 pm.

If you’re in the healthcare staffing industry I’m sure you’ve noticed something missing lately.  All those job orders you had last year.  Yes, it appears that our industry is not immune to the affects of the economy.

During economic downturns people lose jobs and losing jobs leads to no insurance.  No insurance = Not going to the hospital. Not going to the hospital = lower patient census.  Lower patient census = lower need for staff.

Of course there are other factors affecting the business of healthcare staffing – budget cuts, tighter credit markets increasing hospital borrowing costs, lack of hospital expansions, contingent workers looking for the security of full time work and benefits, etc.

I recently conducted a survey of 35 staffing suppliers across the nation, the results of which show these companies are seeing a 15-40% decline in hospital job requisitions from last year.  These results led me to look further into the reasons for such a dramatic decrease.

So I went to the source and participated in a survey of 26 medium to large health systems across the nation that asked that very question.  Here are the results of that survey:
What does this data suggest a company should do to survive this current storm?
2 things:

  1. Focus on retention
  2. Connect to all available job sources

Focus on retention.  Right now, with so many people looking for jobs recruiting should be easy.  Make the best of that and streamline your recruitment efforts as much as possible.  However, don’t make that your main focus.  In regard to your existing staff, your primary objective should be to retain your top employees.

  • Identify those people and do whatever you can to keep them happy and working for you.
  • Make them top priority in job placements so they stay content with the work they are getting.
  • Make sure their pay and benefits stay competitive and do something extra so they feel valued, and stick with you during this time.

Connect to all available job sources.  During an up economy jobs are plentiful and recruiting staff is a challenge.  Now, however, the opposite is true.

  • Nearly every job out there has increased in value so increasing your access to every job you can is key.
  • Be sure to focus on your clients and ensure you are meeting their needs.  Maintaining clients is more valuable than getting new ones.
  • Think different.  Are you checking multiple job boards?  Client job posting pages?  Are you connected to all the VMS providers in your industry?  Are you plugged in to social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter?

Like all storms, this one too shall pass.  In the meantime, keep your focus, think different and hang in there.  For a ray of sunshine check out this article on the new government healthcare plan being a boon for hospitals.

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Many Hospitals Are Still Behind When It Comes To Social Media

Posted on Thursday, December 3rd, 2009 at 6:11 pm.

Many hospital employees present at each of the shows admitted that their organization had no social media presence and typically gave the same reasons why – either their hospital had a policy prohibiting employees from using social media or the hospital was absent a policy permitting such usage.

Hospitals are fairly traditional institutions when it comes to marketing, technology and communication. Add to it the brave new world of social media and the issue becomes even more complicated. Here are some of the standard objections I hear as to why hospitals tend to avoid social media:

There is too much liability with social media. Every industry has the potential for lawsuits. Healthcare is not unique in this way. Imagine if every industry were similarly afraid of such liability that it led to the same avoidance and  inaction – we’d be getting no where. Your legal department needs to be educated on the realities of social media just like all of your departments. Your hospital legal department will gladly write you books on all the potential issues and liabilities that exist for you on the web. They’re lawyers and that’s what they do. I’m certainly not trying to dismiss their advice (or provide my own – I’m not a lawyer). However, the incredible adoption of social media as a means of communication and networking mean that ignoring it or prohibiting its use won’t make it go away. The risks and potential threats need to be discussed, recognized and thought through.

What about ads from competition? This is a question that bothered a lot of people at one conference. Many social networking sites contain ads. These hospital HR managers were concerned that if their employees went to their organization’s social media pages they would be lured away by the ads from their competitors. The fact is that your employees are seeing these ads all over the place already and if an ad is going to make them jump you’re at risk for losing them anyway. But being absent from the web is only going to ensure they see the ads of your competition and not any of your organizations promotions.

Our IT Department has firewalls permitting us from accessing social media sites. Being in healthcare your hospitals are held to incredibly strict standards in order to protect health information. Of course it’s necessary that IT has these firewalls in place. However, just like your other departments, IT too needs to be prepared and brought into the loop regarding your organization’s social media plan. If the bigger concern here is employee productivity (or loss of, due to usage of these sites) you can address this in your policies just like anything else, or simply allow access only to select individuals within your walls.

We don’t have a policy allowing us to use social media. I’ll be honest, hospitals are the only institutions I’ve interacted with where both the presence of a ‘No’ and the absence of a ‘Yes’ mean the same thing. This can create an environment of inaction. If you don’t have a policy I certainly don’t want to suggest you put yourself in a situation where you will get in trouble or fired, but I will suggest you start pushing for getting a policy in place STAT! If you don’t know where to start, there are many examples of social media policies out there to draw from.

Conclusion:
Promoting and marketing your brand using social media
is not a fad and it’s not going away. In fact, if you are not already doing it you’re late for the party. Hospitals and health systems have a tremendous opportunity to get their departments and employees motivated and engaged with tools that help promote their organizations in many new, exciting and effective ways. Social media can help people learn about your hospital culture, help you communicate more effectively with patients and staff and even afford you new recruitment opportunities for healthcare professionals and staff.

Everyone you come into contact with is using social media – your staff, your patients, and yes, even your competition. If they use these tools more effectively than you, you will soon be losing patients, business and employees (if you’re not already). Join the conversation and help direct it positively. If there are any negative issues, address them, resolve them and move on.

Kudos to those hospitals already engaged with social media. To the rest of you – it’s time to embrace these new platforms for what they are – the most effective communication and networking mediums that exist today.

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Healthcare Staffing: Canadian Style/Not so good for the staffing business!

Posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 at 6:17 pm.

A Canadian based company that makes staffing software for hospitals gave some interesting information on healthcare staffing in Canada such as:

  • All hospital census is always at 100%. There are 0 vacancies. The theories as to why were everything from – there is a waiting list for care in Canada and no beds are ever empty to – there are too many, unnecessary for-profit healthcare delivery organizations in the states causing a consistent census gap, mismanagement and poor staffing.
  • All hospitals employees are unionized and the same organizations that run the educational centers for healthcare professionals negotiate on behalf of the unions.
  • All of the hospitals are not for profit and effectively owned by the government.
  • Due to all of this, there is little to no market for healthcare staffing agencies in Canada even though there is still a shortage of healthcare professionals.
  • When polled, consistently, the people of Canada approve of their healthcare system by 80+%
  • The company I met with also makes payroll systems for countries all over the world and claimed that 1) the U.S. has the most complicated tax laws over any other country and that 2) no other country they work with has local or regional taxes.

This information is anecdotal, as it came from a handful of people. However, I’m interested in learning more about it so I’ll be doing more research on it. If anyone else has information on any of this please let me know.

Posted by Jason Landry www.Staffingrobot.com Tuesday, December 01, 2009

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Help! Is there an economist in the house? – Notes from the Healthcare Staffing Summit

Posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 at 6:08 pm.

Keynote with Alan Beaulieu: Help! Is there an economist in the house?

Alan Beaulieu, Senior Economist for the Institute for Trend Research had a great session at the Healthcare Staffing Summit last week. Two years ago he presented at this same conference and predicted the downturn in the economy almost to the dollar and date. At the time, things were going so well most people thought he must be way off. Turns out he was right on. So this year, we all listened intently to what he had to say.

Interestingly, Alan tried to convince us that he would only speak facts and avoid politics. However, I’ve never listened to anyone talk about the economy and successfully remove their political slant. In this regard he did a decent job – but at the end some of his comments were somewhat political. Specifically, he stated that the cost of healthcare reform could make U.S. businesses less competitive internationally. Perhaps. But there are several arguments that suggest healthcare reform will make U.S. businesses more competitive. Right now, American businesses have the burden of providing healthcare for their employees while no other country has this same cost. Removing this cost could help U.S. employers tremendously in terms of competition. Regardless of who’s right – you can’t tell me this isn’t a political statement.

Alan went on to take a few more cracks at the government. Toward the end he said “but don’t get me wrong. I’m very civic minded. I took public transportation to get here today. I drove a GM.” Very clever.

Here are my notes on his session:

  • The economy will rebound. However, it won’t be a “V” or a “W” – it will be a “U” and it will be a long U. Kind of like Charlie Browns smile.
  • It could take up to 10 years (2020) before we return to 2007 levels.
  • Right now is a great time to create wealth.
  • Investing in property, Fed-Ex (international shipping), CAT (international building) and even publicly traded staffing companies like AMN and Cross Country are all good investments right now.
  • Invest in food, water, energy, healthcare and green companies.
  • Unemployment is worse than the government anticipated.
  • For the 1st half of 2010 unemployment will get to 10%+ and then improve to 7-8.5% and stay at this rate for a long time.
  • Inflation is coming and is unavoidable.

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Good Sign for the Economy: Demand for Temporary Medical Staff Increasing

Posted on Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 at 6:07 pm.

Some potentially good news in regard to the economy and staffing: Demand for temporary workers is rising according to the American Staffing Association.

The staffing index of the American Staffing Association has risen in recent weeks. The index stood at 83 starting in mid October and jumped to 85 by mid November.

The 85 reading is still about 10% below year-ago numbers indicating that the job market remains weak. However, demand for workers has picked up 21% since July according to the American Staffing Association.

The staffing industry is considered a leading indicator for the overall performance of the general job market. Typically, a rise in temporary hiring usually precedes an increase in general hiring. With a current U.S. unemployment rate at the highest it’s been in 26 years (10.2 %) this is welcome news indeed.

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Vendor Neutral Healthcare VMS Not So Neutral Anymore

Posted on Tuesday, November 24th, 2009 at 6:05 pm.

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the recent acquisition of the healthcare vendor management company Medefis by the private equity group Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe. What I didn’t realize is that this private equity group also owns a very large healthcare staffing company called Onward Healthcare.

This definitely changes the game for Medefis and the companies working with them. Being owned by a staffing agency or a company that owns staffing agencies definitely negates your vendor neutrality. This private equity company, as well as Onward Healthcare will now have access to all the data within Medefis including bill rates, pay rates, job order and candidate data.

What does this really mean? Keeping the new ownership ties between Medefis and Onward Healthcare quiet was probably wise. Most likely if they’re smart, Medefis will continue to bill themselves as being vendor neutral. However, the acquisition will also provide a huge benefit to Onward Healthcare in terms of being promoted to hospitals, as well as increased access to job requisitions and candidate profiles.

This isn’t necessarily bad for the hospitals, depending on how much distance exists between them and Onward Healthcare and as long as they continue to get their needs met by quality, cost effective staff. The biggest losers are the staffing agencies that entered into a relationship with Medefis under the guise of vendor neutrality. Staffing agencies typically participate with vendor neutral companies more than working through a MSP delivered by one of their competitors’ because they have equal chance at filling requisitions, and the company won’t be attempting to recruit their staff with the data they have in the system. What happens when this all changes?

I guess we’re about to find out.

Posted by, Jason Lander from www. on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 StaffingRobot.com

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Testimonial - Crystal S. - Telemetry RN

Another Great Testimonial