Healthcare Staffing in the Time of COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has upturned life around the world. At the time of this writing, the U.S. surpassed 15,000 cases, and more than 200,000 cases have been confirmed globally. Those numbers will be outdated by the time you read this. Countries and states are instituting aggressive measures, including closing schools, businesses, restaurants, retail shops, playgrounds and more; enforcing social distancing and sheltering at home policies; slashing travel; and closing borders.

While individuals, families and organizations of all sizes try to navigate our new virtual landscape, healthcare officials and politicians are taking steps to keep the pandemic from overwhelming the system. In the U.S., the recently released COVID-19 Response Plan painted a grim picture, estimating that the pandemic could last 18 months or longer, and could include multiple waves, putting significant strain on the healthcare system. According to Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, “We have to figure out now how we’re going to get hospitals through, not just today, not this week, not next week, but potentially months of being under siege with these cases.”

Preparing for the Surging Demand for Healthcare Workers

All of this translates into sharply increased demand for healthcare workers, including clinicians and non-clinicians. However, given how easily transmittable COVID-19 is, healthcare workers can easily contract the virus. In Italy — ahead of the U.S. in the trajectory of the disease — more than 1,700 healthcare workers have contracted the virus, taking them out of commission for weeks to a month at a time. In China, where the outbreak began late last year, 3,387 healthcare workers were infected by Feb. 24.

Healthcare staffing organizations will be working hard to meet this spike in clinical placements for at least the next several months — and they could be trying to manage it with decreased availability if many healthcare workers acquire the virus. This will be coupled by a need to quickly ramp up and down according to the “waves” mentioned in the U.S. response plan.

Along with this volatility will come the labor-intensive processes of onboarding clinicians, which includes reference checks, employment verification and licensure verification. This credentialing process can take weeks, if not months, to complete. Now, more than ever, healthcare staffing organizations must determine how to expedite that administrative process without compromising the thoroughness and precision it demands.

Finding a partner that has the expertise to handle healthcare administration for clinicians will help staffing firms decrease precious turnaround time so clinicians can onboard as quickly as possible.

Outsourcing the Healthcare Credentialing Process

PSG’s outsourced credentialing support services can help healthcare staffing organizations get clinicians working as quickly as possible where they’re needed most. We have identified specific activities, metrics, technologies and roles necessary to drive quality improvements, decreased turnaround time and savings — all while keeping risks low. Our team of more than 400 dedicated associates are working around the clock to handle reference checks, employment verification, and licensure verification for healthcare clinicians. PSG has helped onboard more than 220K clinicians and conducted over 700K reference checks and verifications of employment to help place those candidates. In many cases, we’ve decreased turnaround by up to — all while decreasing costs.

Mitigating liability is always one of our primary concerns, so our recruitment coordinators adhere to a specific process that delivers results. Our associates handle all reference check calls and verifications of employment. Then, they run background checks through appropriate channels and put responses in a centralized data repository. Our coordinators set up drug screen events, run license verifications, and file all necessary documents, including state licenses, TB tests, and criminal background checks in our clients’ systems to ensure that all the necessary documents are in place to put the healthcare professional to work as quickly as possible.

If there are any exceptions that fall outside our strict set of rules, PSG’s coordinators escalate all requests to a credentialing manager who reviews them to ensure no risk is associated with placing a specific healthcare provider. Our resources work efficiently and carefully, closely following the guidelines provided.

Sourcing and Administrative Support for Healthcare Organizations

For healthcare enterprises that need help sourcing talent for interviews and managing other administrative functions, PSG has more than 300 associates to support our clients’ recruiting processes, including:

  • Posting jobs
  • Timecard auditing and exception management
  • Payroll
  • Collections support
  • Billing and collections
  • PSG associates are skilled at facilitating a seamless process while delivering cost-effective solutions. Our proactive measures — such as attributing or labeling candidates in the applicant tracking system (ATS) – help healthcare companies search more effectively for clinicians based on specific skill sets, as well as better allocate those candidates to assigned recruiters.

    PSG is committed to serving as a source of stability and flexibility in this challenging environment. Whether you’re a healthcare staffing organization or a healthcare company, PSG can help you get healthcare workers where they so critically need to be during this tumultuous time.

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