Use of Temporary Medical Staff Is On The Rise

Specialized Agencies Ease the Burden of Short-term Staffing While Providing Service and Budget Advantages.

If you run a medical office, there is nothing more stressful than managing staffing. That responsibility only increases if an employee goes on a maternity or medical leave or calls in sick. Then there are the patient load fluctuations that can be difficult to manage even if everyone is working.

Couple that with the time and effort it takes to find a qualified replacement quickly and that’s why more and more medical and dental offices are turning to temporary employees to cover their staffing needs. This is especially necessary in light of the changes in the availability of qualified candidates for medical positions.

Just like many industries, health care is impacted by the aging of the population in the US and the retirement of many qualified medical employees. According to the Pew Research Center, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers reach the age of 65 every day. So in addition to losing qualified workers who want to enjoy their golden years, health care organizations will also be faced with increased levels of medical care needed for this aging generation.

Already, there is a dearth of skilled nurses and medical staffers. National studies indicate that 30,000 more nurses need to graduate each year to meet the future health care needs. Additionally, according to a report by the American Journal of Nursing, the largest segment of the nursing workforce is already in their 50s. With this expected shortage of skilled medical personnel at hand, hiring of contract workers is expected to grow.

Fortunately, there are advantages to hiring temporary employees, including less initial cost, risk and overhead than permanent employees. It also provides an opportunity for a health care organization to see if an individual is a good fit before deciding to hire them permanently.

Another important aspect of using temporary employees is to lower the overall employment costs for a medical clinic, hospital or dental practice. Because of fluctuations in patient appointments, having a full-time staff member who isn’t used to their full capacity can really impact your bottom line. As a result, many health care organizations are finding that using temporary medical personnel during times of work fluctuations can provide patients with quality health care services while decreasing payroll costs.

While the use of temporary medical employees is on the rise, many health care organizations have not screened contract workers as thoroughly as full-time employees. In its annual benchmark survey, HireRight found that while 64 percent of those surveyed use contingent/temporary workers, 32 percent of them do not screen these individuals. With temporary medical workers having access to sensitive medical information, this could be a liability for the health care organization if this information was used unlawfully.

Part of the reason health care organizations don’t screen these temporary employees is the amount of time it takes. With more organizations facing increased patient loads and decreased staff, often an office manager of a medical facility barely has time to find a qualified temporary replacement, let alone spend the hours it takes to research their employment and critical background. That is one of the biggest advantages of using a temporary staffing firm.

For example, at Davis-Smith, we have more than 6,000 temporary medical personnel already pre-screened in our database. We do complete employment and criminal background checks and drug screening to ensure our temporary employees are qualified. And because of this huge database of qualified candidates, we can often provide a temporary employee within 24 hours of a request, and often the same day. That can be crucial if an employee calls in sick and your patient load requires an immediate replacement.

With all the changes in the health care industry, using temporary employees can help overworked office managers and administrators continue to provide quality patient care while staying within the budget constraints that more and more health care organizations are faced with. Fortunately, using a qualified temporary staffing firm can make the job of finding qualified temporary employees painless.

Oct. 24, 2013