Evaluating a Healthcare Staffing Company's Cost

choosing red appleOf course no evaluation of healthcare staffing companies would be complete without a look at cost. However, we have saved cost for last because it is really a combination of the first two factors the quality of the candidate and the system of its delivery.

Obviously cost is a complicated and may be more than we should tackle in a single post, but we will give it a shot. First off though we will assume that you are already past the mindset that “travel nurses cost too much”. The cost of temporary healthcare staff is not expensive compared to what it costs to staff your hospital with a permanent staff member, you can learn more in this post about Can travel healthcare staff actually save you money? Sure there are times when it makes to use travelers and times when you flat out don’t need them, in this case we will assume you have made the decision that you do need them and you are merely comparing one travel nursing company to another.

There are some things you need to consider when looking at a cost. There is obviously not a lot of information available on individual companies policy towards determining bill rates so this will be a fairly generic overview, but it should give you a few things to consider when you are evaluating travel nursing companies costs.

Areas of Expense Affecting Healthcare Staffing Company’s Bill Rates

First remember that there are a lot of factors that go into determining bill rates and they will vary from company to company, but some of the most common areas of expense affecting bill rates are:

  • Rate of pay
  • Vacations, holidays
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Unemployment
  • Social security (FICA)
  • federal state and local taxes
  • Bookkeeping costs
  • Recruiting
  • Advertising
  • OSHA bloodborne training
  • HIPAA training, drug screens
  • Hep-B screen testing
  • Malpractice insurance
  • Housing
  • Other traveler benefits
  • Costs of hospital’s protocols (i.e. screening requirements and background checks required by the hospital.
  •  The length of the contract
  • The number of guaranteed hours
  • VMS involvement

Considerations When Evaluating a Healthcare Staffing Company’s Bill Rates

Based on these somewhat standard items that you need to keep in mind, you then need to look at the service you receive from the travel nursing or the travel allied health company and the quality of candidates from the point of view of what you are willing to pay for them.

So in conjunction with cost you need to consider the importance you place on the following areas:

  • Quality of candidates
  • Thoroughness of screening processes
  • Good communication with the nurse by the staffing company
  • The level of communication you want with the staffing company (not the VMS)
  • Customer service you want from the staffing company

Conclusion about Evaluating Healthcare Staffing Company’s Bill Rates

All of these areas are indirectly tied to the bill rates of the healthcare staffing company. For you HR and nurse managers making the decisions, the difference may be seen in a few dollars difference per hour either way, but can have bigger impacts than that. The question is, is that difference worth lower quality candidates or not having direct contact with the staffing company (both areas we discussed in the previous two posts in this series)? Or conversely is that extra service really worth the greater expense?

Conclusion about Evaluating a Healthcare Staffing Company’s Processes

The key thing to remember when evaluating a healthcare staffing company to work with is to think of your needs and what is going to be the best fit for your hospital. Just because a company has a slick sales presentation or is the biggest doesn’t mean they are going to be the best fit for your facility. There are a lot of factors that going into finding that right partnership for you and your hospital.