In just a couple of months, National Nurses Week 2015 will be upon us. Celebrated annually, Nurses Week is an excellent opportunity for facilities to help celebrate the important role nurses play in the healthcare system and the huge impact they have in in their patients’ lives.
The American Nurses Association is providing a Nurses Week 2015 resource toolkit for facilities and organizations to use in advance of National Nurses Week, May 6-12. The theme this year is “Ethical Practice, Quality Care.”
The Nurses Week 2015 resource toolkit is full of useful information and tools to help you celebrate the occasion in style and to the greatest effect — as well as to help your facility promote National Nurses Week 2015 within your community and to members of the media.
The Nurses Week 2015 resource toolkit includes:
- A downloadable Thank You card to share with your nurses, which can be customized to include personalized messages as well as your organization’s logo
- A downloadable Certificate of Appreciation for your nursing staff
- A downloadable, customizable Microsoft Outlook OFT email to share
- A large (2’x 3’) downloadable banner which can be personalized with your logo and printed at a local vendor
- Downloadable ads in four standard sizes to help advertise the fact that you’re celebrating National Nurses Week 2015
- Tips for practical, yet creative ways to celebrate throughout the week
- Tips for working with media in order to inform the public about Nurses Week
- And much more!
As the ANA knows, it means a lot to nurses that their hard work, long hours, compassion, skill, and self-sacrifice are recognized. Whether you celebrate every day of the week or just say a simple one-time “thank you,” it means a lot to your nurses. Knowing you care enough to recognize their efforts is likely to be reflected in the effort they continue to put into their work at your facility.
I hope it helps your nursing staff feel honored and leads to an excellent celebration for your organization!
As healthcare reform continues to unfold in 2015 and beyond, providers, consumers, and insurance companies will continue to adapt. While most agree that the system was not previously and still is not perfect, what’s tricky to find a consensus on is how to improve things within such a complicated, entrenched system.
Health Leaders magazine, in partnership with Truven Health Analytics, recently provided a Fact File that provides an interesting breakdown of health insurance cost trends in the face of healthcare reform and, in turn, as employers attempt to reduce health insurance cost trends.
“By taking a data-driven approach, payers can manage costs and, ultimately, make their benefit programs sustainable in the context of healthcare reform. They can also maximize opportunities to improve population health and productivity and optimize the delivery of care,” reads the Fact File titled, Trends in Health Insurance Costs.
The information is broken down in terms of:
- Medical and Pharmacy Out-of-Pocket Costs: Combined, these out-of-pocket costs increased from $695 per member per year in 2012 to $734 in 2013 (a 5.7% increase). Medical alone increased 8.4% and pharmacy alone decreased 4% (the decrease is attributed to a shift to generics).
- Specialty Pharmacy: This sector saw continued growth, with an overall increase in cost of 23.1% in 2013.
- Trends in Medical and Pharmacy Claims Costs: At the current rate, these costs are on track to have increased by nearly 45% over the past nine years.
- Inpatient and Outpatient Costs: In addition to several factors at play, cost increases here seem driven by price increases and changes in admission types, while average length of stay remained steady. Outpatient services trend upwards.
- Preventative Screening Compliance
- Americans’ General Health
This data can be very interesting to hospital administration and healthcare professionals, in terms of knowing a bit more about the population you’re serving and the health insurance costs trends relevant to the care of each individual.
Click here to see the Fact File in full.
Medical Solutions Announces 2014 Traveler of the Year, Service That Inspires, and Recruiters of the Year Award Winners
When it comes to the traveling healthcare professionals you staff at your facility, quality is of huge importance! You should be able to trust your agency contacts as well as the Travelers they provide. Medical Solutions, the third-largest Travel Nurse staffing agency in the U.S., places a major emphasis on quality and that starts with the quality of the people we work with. Here’s a little bit about some of the great folks we recently honored as 2014 Traveler of the Year, Service That Inspires, and Recruiters of the Year Award winners.
Traveler of the Year
In order to recognize quality Travelers and award them for perfect hospital evaluations, we offer the Traveler of the Month program. This program recognizes a Traveler of the Month and a Rising Star (a newer Traveler) who received a perfect hospital eval and are chosen by our Clinical team from among the pool of perfect evals. At the close of each year, Medical Solutions awards one of them the Traveler of the Year award. This year, that Traveler was Jimmy C., an ICU RN currently on assignment in the Bay area.
“The best thing about Travel Nursing is that it’s really taught me how to adapt to nearly any situation,” says Jimmy. “Even though it’s been a short time, I feel like I’ve grown so much while learning how different hospitals and regions operate.”
Thanks so much for being an amazing representative of Medical Solutions, Jimmy!
Services That Inspires Award Winner
For 2014, Medical Solutions awarded this inaugural award, which is meant to honor a Traveler who embodies our mantra: “Service That Inspires.” The hard-working winner was Jenna H., a CST currently on assignment as a CVOR Tech in Kentucky.
A few of the facilities Jenna has worked at through Medical Solutions called her a hard worker, dedicated to her craft, extremely reliable, positive, and attentive to detail.
One facility even reported that Jenna is “superior in all surgical services, general, urological, gynecological, CVOR, vascular,” and added, “If we could clone candidate and fill all tech positions, we would.”
That’s a pretty glowing review! We are so proud to call Jenna a Medical Solutions Traveler. Thanks for everything you do, Jenna!
Recruiters of the Year
While our Clients get the privilege of working with our amazing team of Medical Solutions Client Managers, the Travelers have their Career Consultants as a point of contact. Client Managers and Career Consultants work together to ensure that each placement is a good mutual fit for the facility and Traveler.
Based on performance and Traveler nominations, the two Recruiter of the Year winners for 2014 were Stephanie Balkovec and Geri Koehler. We are so proud to have these two to help our Travelers build their careers. Plus, happy, productive Travelers start with a good recruiter! We know that the hard work our Career Consultants put forth results in smoother assignments and better patient care. Check out the videos below to hear some of the kind words Stephanie’s and Geri’s Travelers had to share about working with them.
Thanks and congrats to all of our 2014 winners! We appreciate your commitment to delivering (and supporting the delivery of) great patient care!
Click here to read more about all of our wonderful winners.
Health Leaders Media published an interesting slideshow of 2015’s top healthcare quality issues. The slideshow features 13 issues that will be important for the leadership of healthcare facilities to keep in mind in 2015.
“Healthcare has experienced fascinating changes during the last few years, and 2015 will be no exception,” they write. “Major programs stemming from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are well under way, dozens of new quality measures and data galore are flowing into the public domain, and quality of care remains in the spotlight for providers at all levels.”
Their choices for 2015’s top healthcare quality issues are:
- Measuring Misdiagnosis — “If physicians’ diagnostic accuracy were like air travel, one in 20 planes would not land when or where it should, and one in 40 flights would put passengers at risk of significant harm, or even crash.”
- Hospitals will get star ratings — The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will rate facilities based on a 5-star quality scale.
- Readmissions socioeconomic adjustment
- Demise of Partnership for Patients
- Medicaid parity expiration hurts doctor supply
- Disproportionate Share hospital cuts remain unfair
- Antimicrobial stewardship as a Medicare condition of participation
- Electronic quality measure reporting babble — “The American Hospital Association points fingers of blame at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology for failing to “enable electronic health records to generate feasible, reliable, and valid quality data for reporting purposes.”
- Mining physician quality for contracts
- PCORI research to vet which pricy drugs are better
- Cuts, cuts, and more cuts to doc pay for care to the poor
- Gaggle of quality reporting
- Healthcare fraud
Do you agree with Health Leaders Media’s list of 2015’s top healthcare quality issues? Are these issues affecting your facility in 2015? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Click here to view the slideshow in its entirety.
What kind of experience do traveling nurses and allied health professionals have when they work a travel assignment at your facility?
Travel Nursing Central has just released its annual Travel Nurse hospital ranking results, which include the top 10 Travel Nurse hospitals of 2015, according to Traveler feedback.
With 703 Travel Nurse hospitals rated, the rankings provide great insight into what traveling healthcare professionals want to see out of the hospitals they come to work for. This insight is helpful to Travelers who are seeking out assignments at Traveler-friendly facilities, but it’s also helpful for hospitals to examine what’s working and what’s not. Whether your facility is on the list or not, the amount and detail of the feedback can help you make sure that your hospital is doing things right.
The Top 10 Travel Nurse Hospitals of 2015 are:
- Sharp Memorial Hospital (San Diego, CA)
- St. Alphonsus Hospital (Boise, ID)
- Shriners (Sacremento, CA)
- Wilcox Memorial Hospital (Lihuem, TX)
- White Plains Hospital (White Plains, NY)
- St Joseph/Carondet (Tucson, AZ)
- Mary Washington Hospital (Fredericksburg, VA)
- Falmouth Hospital (Falmouth, MA)
- LSU-SHC (Shreveport, LA)
- University of Madison Hospital and Medical Center (Madison, WI)
Congrats if your facility was recognized!
Click here to see the complete Travel Nurse hospital ranking results. Each facility has a score and number of rankings listed, and you can click on “View Details” to see an excellent breakdown of each hospital’s rankings in 20 specific categories including technology, friendliness, scheduling, staff morale, orientation, parking, cafeteria, location, and more. In addition to the numbers, you can read reviews of your hospital and its competitors written by actual Travelers. These detailed rankings and reviews are very efficient at providing information that will help your facility attract and retain top-quality travelers. They are a great window into what helps make an assignment a success for a traveler, and, in turn, also for your management and perm staff!
With 2014 in your rearview mirror as you embark into 2015, it can be helpful to look back and examine the trends of the past year to help inform your strategies going forward.
Staffing industry Analysts released its report, “December 2014 US Healthcare Staffing Growth Assessment” on December 31, 2014. The assessment was broken down into sections examining:
- Supply and demand for healthcare
- Target markets and skills
- A profile of healthcare staffing
- A look at the American healthcare in the future
The overview suggests that, “The current environment for the healthcare staffing market is generally positive, especially in certain pockets such as travel nurse, due to a confluence of favorable drivers.”
One big factor is the products of the Affordable Care Act’s momentum, such as health insurance exchanges and the expansion of Medicaid, both of which have created a higher volume of patients. Medicaid expansion has also cut down on admissions of uninsured patients, which ultimately has the effect of cutting costs for facilities and providing leeway and need to increase staffing levels.
An overall improving economy has unemployment down and more workers using their employer-sponsored healthcare benefits plans to purchase coverage and, in turn, visit facilities and hospitals.
The report reflects that the demand for healthcare workers has grown and continues to grow at a quicker pace than even facilities themselves have anticipated. In this climate, the need to raise staffing levels at the drop of a hat, yet also for sustained periods, has made getting staffing levels right a particularly imperative objective. Temporary and Travel Nurses, as well as other Allied Healthcare Professionals, have been instrumental in filling the need facing by facilities nationwide.
Click here to read Staffing Industry Analysts’ intro to its 2014 US Healthcare Staffing Growth Assessment, as well as the full PDF report.
Senior Editor John Commins made a list and checked it twice last week when he wrote Health Leaders Media’s Christmas Wish for U.S. Healthcare, which he opens by saying:
“This well-reasoned manifesto makes the case for an end to unfair billing practices, no more ICD-10 delays, and better access to healthcare for all. In the spirit of the holidays, here is my wish list for the coming year.”
Here’s a quick look at the items on Health Leaders Media’s Christmas Wish List for U.S. Healthcare:
- For Physicians — Find a Permanent Fix to the Sustainable Growth Rate
- For the Poor — Expand Medicaid in Every State
- For Hospitals and Public Health Policy — Implement ICD-10 with No More Delays
- For Consumers — Eliminate Drive-by Doctoring, Balance Billing
- For Veterans — Eliminate or Greatly Reduce Care Wait Times at the VA
- For Insurers — Reject the Latest Challenge to the PPACA
Regarding the item for hospitals and public health policy, a wish to implement ICD-10 without further delay, Commins says that there’s really no valid argument against ICD-10 implementation and makes a call to “move diagnostic coding into the 21st century.”
The U.S. has the biggest spend on healthcare in the industrialized world, he writes, yet we remain the only industrialized country still using the coding set, ICD-9, which was established in the 1970s. While acknowledging the speed bump implementation may present, Commins argues that ICD-10 has been no surprise and that the data offered by ICD-10 is needed to “help identify best practices, and track treatment regimes, procedures, outcomes, quality, cost, redundancy, and fraud.”
“These delays are unfair to the people, hospitals, and other institutions who assumed the implementation dates would be met and who acted appropriately and prepared. Hospitals are spending billions to operate dual systems because of the delay,” writes Commins.
Click here to read Health Leaders Media’s Christmas wish list for U.S. healthcare in its entirety.
What do you think of the list? Is there anything else you’d add?
Health Leaders Media shared an interesting list of 20 people improving healthcare with a recent post, “20 People Who Make Healthcare Better.”
The list includes a picture, bio, and interview with each of the 20 chosen, who span all aspects of healthcare. Included in the list are nurses, physicians, researchers, executives, providers, payers, watchdogs, innovators, and even patients.
According to Health Leaders Media, this year’s Health Leaders 20 were chosen for “their efforts to make a difference in healthcare. Their stories are sometimes tinged with struggles or challenges, but always, ultimately, with success.”
The list includes the following 20 people improving healthcare:
- Otis Brawley, MD, Chief Medical Officer, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA
- Anne Wojcicki, CEO, 23andME, Mountain View, CA
- Tom X. Lee, MD, CEO, One Medical Group, San Francisco, CA
- Steve Simonin, President/CEO, Iowa Specialty Hospitals and Clinics, Clarion, IA
- Bryan Coffey, CEO/CFO, Hamilton County Hospital, Syracuse, KS
- Rebecca Katz, Author, Director, The Healing Kitchens Institute, Bolinas, CA
- Lee Aase, Director, Center for Social Media, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
- Roxana Reyna, RN, Skin and Wound Care Specialist, Driscoll Children’s Hospital, Corpus Christ, TX
- Rushika Fernandopulle, MD, Co-founder/CEO, Iora Health, Cambridge, MA
- Andrea Ippolito, PhD Student, MIT, Cambridge, MA
- Derek C. Angus, MD, MPH, Chair of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA
- José Ramón Fernández-Peña, MD, MPA, Director, Welcome Back Initiative, San Francisco, CA
- Ellen Goodman, Columnist, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Cambridge, MA
- Sam Foote, MD, Internist, Phoenix VA Health Care System, Phoenix, AZ
- Manny Sethi, MD, Orthopedic Trauma Surgeon, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN
- Cole Galloway, PT, PhD, Professor of Physical Therapy, University of Delaware, Newark, DE
- Charles Kennedy, MD, Chief Population Health Officer, Healthagen, San Francisco, CA
- Peter Semczuk, DDS, MPH, Vice President of Clinical Services, Montefiore Medical Center, The Bronx, NY
- Ed Damiano, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, Boston, MA
- Bruce Ribner, MD, Infectious Disease Specialist, Emory University Hospital, Atlanta, GA
Click here to check out the list and full bios.
Many hospitals, facilities, and agencies celebrate Nurses Week and Travel Nurses Day each year. Such occasions provide a wonderful chance to recognize the hard work of your staff and a great opportunity to celebrate them and make them feel special. And, as research indicates, a fulfilled, appreciated staff is a more productive staff.
Well, this week, November 3-7, comes another great opportunity to celebrate your staff — by celebrating Allied Health Professionals Week!
The term “Allied Health Professionals” covers more than 200 specific careers and each of them has a unique, truly important impact in the healthcare industry. So this year, Medical Solutions decided to go about celebrating Allied Health Professionals Week by letting Allied Health Pros tell their story. At MedicalSolutions.com/AlliedWeek, they can enter their specific title, also sharing why they do what they do and why they love their job.
In celebration this week, here are a few things your facility could do for its Allied Health Pros:
- Buy lunch or some other gift for them
- Create and post signs recognizing the occasion
- Make cards for each of them that recognize the occasion
- Make a point to verbally wish them a Happy Allied Health Professionals Week — whether in an assembly or individually
How you celebrate can vary; the main thing is recognizing and celebrating Allied Health Professionals Week and thanking them for all they do! Making a point to do so can go a long way when it comes to morale.
Also, don’t forget to send them to MedicalSolutions.com/AlliedWeek where each respondent will be entered into a drawing to win one of the following prizes:
- Grand Prize — Amazon Fire HD 7 Tablet ($174 value) that comes with a one-year Amazon Prime membership, plus a $100 Amazon gift card
- Second Prize — $150 gift card to Zappos
- Third Prize — $50 gift card to Tafford Uniforms and Scrubs
We hope your facility and staff have a great time celebrating Allied Health Professionals Week!
A recent post from Staffing Industry Analysts’ The Staffing Stream discusses risks associated with celebrating Halloween at the office, or, in the case of healthcare, at the facility or hospital.
When it comes to planning and executing Halloween in the hospital or other healthcare facility, what should administrators and management consider to make sure everything goes well?
Here are some tips inspired by The Staffing Stream and other ideas on how to best celebrate Halloween in the hospital:
Do Have a Some Kind of Celebration
Whether it’s a party, letting people wear costumes, buying candy or lunch for the unit, or whatever — do something to recognize that it is a holiday. It’s really good for your facility culture and staff morale to do something special to enjoy the day.
Don’t Insist on Participation
Make both attendance of any gatherings and wearing a costume voluntary. None of your staff should feel forced into the experience or participating in something they may not care for or believe in.
Do Insist on Safe Costumes
Be sure to communicate that professionalism and dress code don’t necessarily take a holiday just because it’s a holiday. This will help lower the possibility of inappropriate costumes, inappropriate remarks, and other such issues that could blow up into major problems. This is also key in a hospital in terms of patient safety — you want to avoid any costumes or celebrations that could endanger patients or exacerbate a condition.
Do Have a Clear Idea
Your best defense against any issues is to attempt to anticipate and interrupt them. Make sure to have a clear idea — and to communicate it to all employees — of how things will unfold on Halloween. Try to think through how things might unfold and recall any issues from past events in order to achieve this.
Do Communicate with Your Staff
As mentioned above, be sure to communicate thoroughly with all staff. Make sure they are well aware of all information regarding a celebration, as well as their employer’s expectations of them.
We hope these tips will help all involved enjoy a very happy Halloween in the hospital!