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The Healthcare industry and hospitals are facing catastrophic challenges due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The pandemic has highlighted many gaps in our healthcare system and pointed the way toward reforms that can improve our ability to cope with the future epidemic. The pandemic has impacted our healthcare industry in several ways. Here we will discuss some major impacts.

 

Loss of lives

 

The immediate and direct impact of COVID-19 was the loss of lives. Around 964,774 Americans have died of COVID-19 as of March 2022 (Statista, 2022). Till the year 2020 around 375000 lives were lost. During the surge of the pandemic, many hospitals prioritized the treatment of COVID-19 patients and that has attributed to an increase in time-sensitive non-COVID-19 deaths (Chan, Cheng, & Martin, 2021). According to a research study, the COVID-19 affected the female and male populations differently. Around 77% of the male and 93% of the female population died due to direct or indirect effects of COVID-19. Many healthcare personnel (HCP) lost their lives due to close contact with infected patients and the unavailability of personal protective equipment. According to CDC around 115000, healthcare workers have died from COVID-19 from the start of 2020 till 2021 (CDC, 2021).

 

Financial crisis

 

For the first time, the crippling financial crisis intimidated the viability of a significant number of hospitals and different healthcare settings. Especially those who were already financially vulnerable such as hospitals in rural and remote areas, primary care practices, and safety-net providers (Barnett, Mehrotra, & Landon, 2020). The reason for this crisis is unexpected fluctuations in demand for healthcare services and increased demand for acute care that overburdened some hospitals. According to an estimate, hospitals have lost $323.1 billion till the year 2020 (Barnett et al., 2020). By May 2020 employment in the healthcare industry was declined by more than 1 million jobs. The sudden surge of the pandemic has substantially damaged health insurance coverage in the United States. Due to increased unemployment, many Americans lost their employer-sponsored insurance. A recent survey by Commonwealth Fund revealed that around 40% of respondents said that they had insurance through the job that was lost (Blumenthal, Fowler, Abrams, & Collins, 2020). Continued reliance on employer-sponsored insurance and failure to implement the current law (ACA) are the main reason for this coverage crisis.

 

Ethnic and racial disparities in the healthcare system

 

Racial and ethnic inequalities become a major crisis causing the failure of our healthcare system to care for persons regardless of their color or race. The reason for this inequality is failure to insure people of all races. Lack of implementation of ACA and poor coverage results in limited access to care and a high prevalence of the disease among minorities. Social disparities left people of different ethnic groups and colors more vulnerable to the devastations of COVID-19 (Nelson, 2002). According to research that black people of America account for more than 22% and Hispanics constituted 33% of total death in America due to COVID-19 (Millett et al., 2020).

 

United States reported 24% of the total deaths occurred due to COVID-19 globally (Blumenthal et al., 2020). That reflects the collapse of the healthcare system to identify and control the spread of the virus. Unavailability of country-wide testing facilities delayed imposing of physical distancing guidelines, and lack of leadership has played role in the current crisis of the healthcare industry and uncontrolled spread of novel coronavirus.

 

 

Barnett, M. L., Mehrotra, A., & Landon, B. E. (2020). Covid-19 and the upcoming financial crisis in health care. NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery, 1(2).

Blumenthal, D., Fowler, E. J., Abrams, M., & Collins, S. R. (2020). Covid-19—implications for the health care system (Vol. 383, pp. 1483-1488): Mass Medical Soc.

CDC. (2021). WHO estimate: 115,000 health workers have died from Covid-19, as calls for vaccine access grow.  Retrieved from https://www.statnews.com/2021/10/21/who-estimate-115000-health-workers-have-died-from-covid-19-as-calls-for-vaccine-access-grow/

Chan, E. Y., Cheng, D., & Martin, J. (2021). Impact of COVID-19 on excess mortality, life expectancy, and years of life lost in the United States. PloS one, 16(9), e0256835.

Millett, G. A., Jones, A. T., Benkeser, D., Baral, S., Mercer, L., Beyrer, C., . . . Crowley, J. S. (2020). Assessing differential impacts of COVID-19 on black communities. Annals of epidemiology, 47, 37-44.

Nelson, A. (2002). Unequal treatment: confronting racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Journal of the national medical association, 94(8), 666.

Statista. (2022). Deaths in US due to COVID-19. from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1101932/coronavirus-covid19-cases-and-deaths-number-us-americans/

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Blog Post, Staffing Solutions

In the last 10 years, finding good employees has become one of the most challenging aspects of running a business for many employers. Since COVID-19, the struggle has become even more prevalent. 

The job market is competitive right now – many employers are hiring and there is a limited amount of people looking for work. According to the National Federation of Independent Business in March, 42% of business owners reported to have job openings they could not fill. 91% of those business owners currently hiring could not find qualified candidates. And those numbers are growing. 

There are a number of reasons for people choosing to not reenter the workforce – from not wanting to become vaccinated, receiving unemployment checks that pay more than a starting hourly wage, to not having childcare for schools that remain virtual. While the reasons may be valid in some cases, it makes things very difficult for businesses to remain open without any labor.

The key many employers need for finding people for their job openings is to sell the position and attract those looking for work.

How to Find Good Employees In a Tough Market

Sell the Position

Your recruiters are your best sales team. Even if you aren’t looking for someone for a certain position, you should always be recruiting and selling the position. Make a prospect list, create a strategy, and consistently work to attract your talent.

Talk to former employees, ask about referrals, and perhaps even convince them to come back on board. Identify talent and sell the job – don’t rely on a job posting to do the hard work for you. Many employers make the mistake of listing qualifications and requirements for the job and leaving it. In a competitive market, the job post needs to sell. 

Write simply and clearly. Avoid jargon, buzzwords, and industry cliches. Provide details of the job responsibilities, a clear job title, and specify the salary range. Most quality candidates know their desired salary and will be more willing to apply for a job that is straightforward and transparent.

Showcase the Company Culture

When the market is competitive, quality employees know they have choices. The place of business is important – the culture is critical. When selling the position, sell the company. Show prospective employees how wonderful your company is and your company culture. Spotlight current employee’s testimonials on social media and your website. Make sure when potential employees look for information about your company, they find engaging, fun, and impressive information that draws them in. Build a reputation of being somewhere that people want to work.

Make Your Purpose Known

You may be surprised at how important your company’s purpose is to prospective employees. Attracting and retaining talent relies on their ability to connect with a business and know what they are doing is making a difference.

Conveying a well-defined purpose will ensure that your potential employees understand what you’re trying to accomplish. If someone buys into your purpose, drive, and goals, they will be much more likely to stay long-term. While it takes a lot to attract new employees, as soon as they see themselves as a part of something bigger, they will stay.

Hiring employees in a tough market is a challenge many businesses are faced with. These strategies will help you normalize your hiring process and attract high-quality employees.

Click HERE to find out about our current job openings. 

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Blog Post

Physical therapy is a proven method for helping people of all ages who have injuries or medical conditions that limit their daily function or mobility. Having a comprehensive personalized physical therapy treatment program can help people resume their daily activities, prevent future injuries, and get people back to doing what they love.

Different from traditional physical therapy, VIP PT provides personalized and comprehensive luxury care to their patients. A comprehensive plan that focuses on the whole body, not just the area of injury or pain, ensures the whole body is getting stronger and recovering from any possible contributing factors that cause added pain. This type of physical therapy can be easily combined with other healthcare regimens, meaning your overall health will be improved.

This model creates a strong relationship between therapist and patient and provides more opportunities for open lines of communication. Working with the same patient gives therapists the ability to more accurately track the patient’s success and milestones. Treatments can be more personalized and tailored to the patient’s exact needs.

5 Benefits of Personalized Physical Therapy

  1. Understands the Problem

Having one-on-one sessions with a trained physical therapist gives the therapist time to really understand your needs as a patient. From a diagnosis standpoint, this helps therapists get to the root cause of the problem and your pain. When a deeper understanding is possible, a more comprehensive plan for care can be created to provide positive outcomes. 

2. Accurately Tracks Progress

Because our therapists are focusing solely on one patient during your session time, it is much easier to track your progress with detail. VIP PT’s personalized programs mean the same therapist works with the same patients throughout their entire treatment plan. This is very important if you are an athlete or very active and working toward specific goals to resume your desired lifestyle. Having a baseline from where you started to see how your progress is improving can get you back to doing what you love, faster. This model creates a strong relationship between therapist and patient and provides more opportunities for open lines of communication.

3. Opens Lines of Communication

The more a patient and therapist can be open and honest with each other, the more successful treatment will be.  It can be unnerving when you don’t know what to expect during therapy sessions or what symptoms change throughout the course of your treatment. Being honest about how you feel during exercises or between sessions helps our therapists tailor your treatment to suit you best. 

4. Tailoring Treatment Plans

The goal of each session is to improve function and mobility. Having a purpose for each session can help maximize the time you and your therapist have together. We understand that your time is precious, which is why our treatment plans are specifically tailored to your needs. This means we won’t have you do any unnecessary “warm-ups” but only things that improve bodily function or mobility. When working with a personalized therapist, they are able to correct your posture, form, and help facilitate better and more accurate movement, rather than having you do exercises alone while they treat other patients. 

5. Preventing Future Injuries

We frequently see patients who are being cut off from insurance despite their treatment plan not being complete. Insurance companies care about “functionality” which often means patients leave their treatment program when only 80% finished their rehab program. However, this means patients are more likely to have a repeat injury or other injuries. Resuming daily activities or hobbies without being fully rehabilitated increases the risk for further damage and pain. The VIP PT model of personalized care and treatment educates you and focuses on getting you back to 100% in a shorter amount of time. 

Not all patients should be treated equally. Our bodies move and change, and your physical therapy should reflect that. Contact VIP PT today to learn more about our personalized physical therapy programs or fill out the form below. 



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Blog Post

Pain conditions can regularly be treated through the use of physical therapy. It is among the safest and most effective methods for managing pain, according to the CDC. Medications only mask the pain sensations, whereas physical therapy uses movement, hands-on care, exercise, and education to treat pain and help patients learn how to manage their pain. 

Physical therapy not only helps reduce pain and promotes healing, but includes treatments that focus on the prevention of further injury. A trained physical therapist is skilled in conservative treatments and rehabilitation of orthopedic, neurologic, and cardiovascular conditions. 

Physical Therapy to Treat Chronic Pain

Many chronic pain conditions can be treated through the use of physical therapy. Conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic headaches, and neuropathic pain can be alleviated by using two different methods of physical therapy: passive and active. 

Passive Physical Therapy

Passive physical therapy techniques include:

  • Heat/Ice 
  • Ultrasound
  • Dry Needling
  • Cupping
  • Manual Therapies – such as massage, manipulation

Active Physical Therapy

Active techniques include:

  • Range of motion exercises
  • Stretching
  • Strength-training exercises
  • Low-impact conditioning
  • Pain relief exercises 

Both passive and active physical therapy methods offer a variety of treatments. Exercise can include using a treadmill to walk or job, water aerobics, swimming laps, or other low-impact activities. Treatments are based on the patient’s level of pain and abilities. Physical therapists work with each patient to design a specific treatment plan to understand their particular pain: what causes it, how severe it is, and what other types of treatments have been used to manage it. 

How Physical Therapy Helps Manage Pain

The right combination of exercises and therapy can be a long-term way to manage pain. When practiced regularly, exercise and proper therapeutic techniques can postpone – or potentially avoid – the need for surgery or invasive treatments. Physical therapy exercises will help maintain the ability to move and function, as opposed to becoming a slave to chronic pain. 

Being active and exercising for 30 minutes a day, a few days a week helps manage chronic pain:

  • Strengthening muscles
  • Increasing endurance
  • Stabilizing joints
  • Maximizing flexibility in the joints and muscles

Chronic pain has the tendency to limit daily activities that were once enjoyable. Exercise and physical therapy can help reintroduce things to keep patients doing what they love and remaining independent as they get older. 

Pain affects the mind, too, and can cause depression. However, exercise has the opposite effect – exercising releases endorphins, which act as your body’s natural opiate and react with pain receptors, reducing a patient’s perception of pain. 

Physical Therapy and Patient Education: The Perfect Combination

It’s important to keep in mind that every patient’s pain, body, and habits are different. That means physical therapy and pain relief varies from patient to patient. Physical therapists are trained to identify and monitor their patient’s pain so an effective treatment plan can be created and modified accordingly. 

The team at VIP PT offers personalized therapy programs that are specifically tailored to each patient’s needs and lifestyle. 

Studies show that kind of positive relationship between a physical therapist and their patient is incredibly important to their recovery and has a significant impact on the patient’s success. The more active a patient is in managing their pain, the better their physical therapist can work with your body and assess how you react to treatments. 

When a physical therapist and patient have a positive relationship with open and honest communication about their care, the therapist can effectively educate the patient. This includes education about their specific pain and what is needed to treat the pain. Education increases understanding – and patients who are equipped with knowledge about their pain and treatments are typically more active in their treatment process. 

Physical therapy is more effective when patient’s understand why and how their exercises and treatment methods are helping their body heal and restore function. Patients will regain their ability to do what they love and improve their quality of life when following their physical therapy treatment plan and exercises. 

For a personalized physical therapy regimen, contact the team at VIP PT today, or fill out the form below.

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Blog Post

When you think about a person going into intensive care, you probably picture someone who’s very ill and likely fighting for their life. They may be on a ventilator or other equipment that’s keeping them alive. When you’re in that situation, surviving would be a win. But what happens after these people survive? Do they recover and go back to life as it was? What’s the road to recovery look like?

Fortunately, medical advances have led to higher survival rates for people who end up in intensive care units – it’s now between 71% and 90%, which is great. But, survival is not the end goal, and getting out of the ICU is not the end of the battle. Many patients show significant losses of physical, mental and cognitive abilities after discharge. It makes sense – if you don’t use it, you lose it! This cluster of problems is called Post-Intensive Care Syndrome or PICS.

PICS is now recognized as a public health burden. Interventions against PICS need to start in the ICU. Then they need to continue after discharge.

Physical declines often include significant losses of strength, endurance, and mobility. These can lead to serious difficulty completing basic daily tasks like getting to the bathroom, preparing a meal, or walking to the mailbox. This may keep some people from returning home. For others, it means they need a caregiver to safely return to their previous setting. 50% of ICU survivors have limitations in daily activities 1 year later, so this is a serious and long-lasting problem.

Mental health is also a very real concern for ICU survivors. They show significant rates of depression – the mean is 28%. 24% of survivors have anxiety and 21% report PTSD. Again, these conditions have a real impact on the quality of life after leaving the ICU.

Last, declines in cognitive abilities are very common in ICU survivors. 77% have cognitive impairments at 3 months post-discharge and 71% have impairments 1 year out. Cognitive issues after discharge can include poor memory, slower thinking, problems making decisions, or difficulty concentrating.

Physical therapists play a significant role in the fight against PICS. PT typically begins while the patient is in ICU, focusing on getting the patient up and walking early. Patients begin a progressive exercise program as soon as it’s safe for them. We expect a rise in PICS due to the number of people who COVID-19 has put into critical care and/or on a ventilator.

While we can’t prevent every problem that critical illness causes, recognizing the losses that remain after discharge from the ICU is an important step. Physical therapists play an important role in combating the effects of PICS and helping people return to higher-quality lives.

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Blog Post

More than 30% of people 65 or older fall each year. That risk increases with age. A simple trip on a rug or slip on a wet floor can change your life forever. Thousands of people break bones from falling. For seniors, that can cause a domino effect, resulting in a trip to the hospital, a severe injury, or even long-term disability.

A simple fall can cause seniors to lose the ability to live independently. It’s essential to take certain precautions to avoid and prevent falls and improve your safety. Working with a physical therapist specializing in how the body moves and functions can use exercises to help seniors avoid falls. 

Falls and Fall-Risk Causes

The fear of falling may cause many older people to stop doing activities they may love. Many factors can cause falling: A decline in eyesight, hearing, and reflexes, diabetes, heart disease, thyroid problems, and even medications that cause dizziness or confusion. 

Studies have linked personal factors to falling, such as muscle weakness, loss of balance, changes in gait, and hypotension (a drop in blood pressure when you get up after lying down or sitting). The type of shoe you wear can also attribute to fall risks. 

Adults 65 and older should be evaluated annually by their primary physician to help determine their risk of falling. If a threat is apparent, the patient should see a physical therapist.

How Physical Therapy Can Help Prevent Falls

Your physical therapist will conduct general analysis and evaluation to determine the best suitable treatments for you. An individualized treatment plan will be designed based on your fall risks and home environment. This treatment program will include exercises that help improve strength, balance, and flexibility.

Different modalities of your individualized treatment plan may include: 

  1. Safely doing more than one thing at a time: Older adults who have difficulty doing more than one task at a time have a higher risk of falling. Physical therapists can create a dual-task program. This program will challenge a person to maintain walking speed while performing another task, such as carrying groceries or simply maintaining a conversation.
  2. Pain Management: Exercises designed to reduce pain, such as strengthening and aerobic exercises, can also play an essential role in reducing fall risk. Treatments will be modified specifically to the patient’s pain and source of discomfort. Engaging in physical therapy can eliminate the need for taking pain medication, which frequently causes dizziness or tiredness – lending its hand to fall risk.
  3. Strength Training: Strengthening your muscles is vital in fall prevention, especially when combined with balance exercises. Your therapist will create your personalized strength training program that focuses on specific muscle groups to improve your balance while standing, walking, and your ability to recover from losing balance.
  4. Personal Recommendations: Along with exercises, your physical therapist may provide recommendations based on your condition and goals to help prevent falls. These recommendations may include changing your home environment like removing a rug, adjusting how you perform daily tasks, choosing appropriate footwear, or improving your sleep schedule or nutrition to help reduce cognitive dysfunction (leading to a fall risk). 

The physical therapists at VIP PT are all qualified to work with seniors who fear the risk of falling, have balance issues, or are recovering from a fall and need prevention tips. To get in touch with our team to learn more or schedule an appointment, please fill out the form below: 

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Blog Post

The world has changed.

As technology continues to improve, incredible amounts of data are being collected and analyzed across all sectors of business. Healthcare in particular holds massive stores of information with the potential to revolutionize patient care in amazing ways.

Yet humans are not efficient when sifting through these complex electronic mountains – artificial intelligence (AI) is better suited to perform this job effectively.

What Is AI?

Although the phrase may sound a tad ominous, artificial intelligence is simply a collection of technologies that helps support, automate, and speed up a wide variety of tasks. This assistance ranges from messaging alerts for patient adherence to the detection of important imaging features that may not be visible to the human eye.

According to Forbes, this country spends much more per capita on health care than any other country, and yet the U.S. “ranks 38th in the world in life expectancy, between Lebanon and Cuba.”

Artificial intelligence holds great potential to improve the healthcare industry.

How Is AI Used in Healthcare?

A key benefit of AI is its ability to analyze vast data collections and identify large or small trends – even from data external to the healthcare system:

  • Patient clinic-visit statistics
  • Prescribed medication information
  • Laboratory test records
  • Performed procedures
  • Credit card purchases
  • Census records
  • Popular health-related internet searches
  • Social media discussions

AI additionally boasts its own “skills” to assist in healthcare activities by providing treatment recommendations, predicting infection risk, and offering a host of other capabilities.

In What Ways Can AI Help Deliver Patient Care?

Artificial intelligence uses machine learning and deep learning to get “smarter” as it processes more information and recognizes useful patterns.

Imaging

Using computer vision to examine medical images, AI can scan for any indication of abnormal findings such as a lesion, tumor, or retinal disease.  Studies have indicated impressive accuracy, specificity, and sensitivity for the detection of small abnormalities. As a powerful tool to assist radiologists, machine learning for medical imaging is predicted to exceed $2 billion by 2023.

Patient Intake and Engagement

AI uses natural language processing to help with patient screening and navigation of care, and it can be used to communicate (via text, for example) with patients to encourage interest and compliance with their treatment plans. This reduction in physicians’ time obviously reduces cost.

Telehealth

While remote health today generally refers to a simple videoconference with a health professional, AI can be used with remote sensors to offer a more comprehensive solution. Eko provides software and sensors to observe cardiopulmonary signs from a distance, for example, and it has been shown to detect atrial fibrillation with 99% accuracy. Medical practitioners range from 70% to 80%.

Are There Other Ways AI Helps Provide Care Within a Hospital?

This technology can be utilized in creative ways within a hospital facility, including:

Predict the Onset of Healthcare-associated Infections

Computer models powered by AI can help providers make educated estimates to pinpoint which patients have an elevated risk of developing central-line infections.  Armed with personalized patient information, treatment history, and staff history, these systems may also indicate specific preventative measures.

Optimize Scheduling and Bed Management

Analyzing data regarding discharges, surgery schedules, current patient population, and nursing unit-specific criteria, patient flow can become increasingly automated and efficient.

Monitor Patient Health Status via Real-time Data Collection

Vital signs and other dynamic indicators can be monitored and examined to detect problems like arrhythmias with appropriate notifications to staff.

Accurately Estimate Childbirth Blood Loss

One system takes advantage of computer vision to monitor blood lost during childbirth. While staff estimates of such loss tend to be inaccurate, AI has managed a four-fold accuracy improvement over such estimates.

Improve Administration

AI shines with its capacity to reduce time and expense in this area and has demonstrated proficiency with:

  • Enforcing patient privacy via intelligent checklists
  • Automation of disclosures
  • Check-in systems that remind staff to replace equipment on mandated schedules
  • Analyze and assign costs for billing

The flexible use of artificial intelligence is growing exponentially in the healthcare industry. Fill out the form below to learn more about these advancements.


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Blog Post

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will resonate through healthcare for years to come, now that the initial shock has come to an end. For many independent practices and smaller healthcare systems, the pandemic caused great financial hardship that will be tough to overcome. What this means is that there is a growing divide between the “haves and have-nots” of providers and physicians. 

Providers and healthcare systems with strong digital strategies in place and accessibility to telehealth from the start will survive, while many practices which are smaller, perhaps in more rural areas, and not using the latest digital technologies may succumb to a hospital consolidation or be forced to close their doors. 

How Covid-19 Changed the Patient Experience

When we look back on this time, it will be clear that this was a turning point in the way health care is delivered to patients. Telehealth is single-handedly changing the workflow and how patients and physicians are having appointments. Urgent care, emergency rooms, and even annual, regular appointments with a primary care doctor are all possible via a telehealth platform. 

This platform was urgent and an obvious choice when the stay-at-home orders were mandated. However, the push for telehealth and moving to a virtual healthcare system reduces unnecessary visits, allows physicians to maximize profits and efficiency, while remaining safe and prohibiting the spread of COVID-19. 

There has been a huge uptick in patient engagement online – which means telehealth is becoming the norm for how patients expect to interact with their doctors. Patients who previously expected a doctor-led approach to their healthcare are finding the ease, convenience, and safety of technological ways to receive their care. 

Long Term Effects of Covid-19 in Healthcare

Expedited Telehealth Care

For many practices and physicians, it was long believed that they would not be able to operate virtually – until the pandemic. Overnight, the way they saw patients changed and transformed into remote care. In fact, some experts say that COVID-19 accelerated telemedicine by a decade. It is proving to be more effective, safer, and financially smarter for both patients and physicians. 

Since March, telehealth has allowed patients with low mobility, failing health, and those with compromised immune systems to see physicians seamlessly and effectively. This is because the availability of data and collaboration has continued to evolve. 

Decrease in Nursing Homes

During this time, nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been scrutinized for increasing the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in certain states. While these types of care facilities can provide around-the-clock care, it is becoming less appealing to house the medically vulnerable in close quarters. 

This leads to the increased demand for in-home care services. People want to live independently and have that mindset – not be “locked up” in a nursing home. With the changes due to COVID-19, there is going to be a large number of people in the coming years who need long-term care but do not want to go into a nursing home. 

In-home care, physician house calls, and certain medical deliveries to the elderly will become an increasingly popular demand. 

A Shift in Who Provides Care

The pandemic put an enormous strain on emergency rooms and intensive care units. What this did was emphasize the importance of nurses, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. This isn’t new to more rural areas and independent hospitals. 

For independent practices and hospitals, they are able to provide quality care at a lower cost by relying on non-doctor practitioners, when allowed. In fact, if Congress and state medical boards allowed, approximately 70% of primary care could be handled by advanced nurses. However, what this means is that smaller hospitals could shut down as more authority is granted to skilled nurse training and a larger role for these providers in daily healthcare. 

The shift leans towards more preventative and home care, and further away from hospitalizations and centralized healthcare.

Learn how Cartera Health’s comprehensive circle of care has been beneficial to the changing landscape of healthcare due to COVID-19.

 

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Blog Post

Medical credentialing involves the often lengthy process that health care entities undergo to review and verify every piece of information that documents the ability for a provider to practice medicine, including their education, post-education training, specialty certificates, licenses, and career history, including sanctions and litigation. The method involves intense, laborious scrutiny of credentials to prevent fraud, limit liability, and ensure that health care providers are competent and fit to practice.

Which Entities Govern Credentialing Standards?

Credentialing standards for providers do not fit a “one size fits all” approach. Credentialing standards will vary depending on whether a health care worker is a physician, a nurse practitioner, a physician assistant (PA), a nurse, a pharmacist, or other type of health care worker. As medical licenses are granted at the state level, requirements for practice and subsequently credentialing specifications may vary depending on the geographic location of providers. The National Committee for Quality Assurance has established standards, however, that can serve as a guideline for the credentialing process.

For providers that are hospital-based, credentialing is required by the federal office of the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) and also by facility accrediting bodies, such as the Joint Commission. Additionally, providers will have to get credentialed by insurance plans as well as through CMS depending on which plans they seek to submit reimbursement from for their services. Depending on the health insurance company, providers may need to be credentialed on an individual basis or they may be considered centrally credentialed once they are approved by their organization.

What is the Difference Between Credentialing and Privileges?

Medical credentialing is the verification process by which your education and experience justify your current ability to practice medicine. Although this process is initiated and completed by organizations for their practicing providers, providers themselves provide primary source documentation that is then verified as legitimate to either permit them to begin practicing in their organization or remain practicing..

Privileges are usually granted after credentialing is completed, and allow providers to provide medical care at specific facilities within the scope of their education and training in their employer organization

What Information is Needed to Complete Medical Credentialing?

Health care organizations or entities that reimburse through health insurance initiate the process of medical credentialing by sending a request to providers for extensive documentation in order to justify their ability to practice in a health care setting within their scope of training.

The types of information required by providers for medical credentialing to be submitted, usually electronically, include:

  • Demographic information, such as mailing address, citizenship, and birthdate;
  • Education and training, including the institution, location, and information related to ability to practice;
  • Work experience, including any sanctions or loss of privileges at previous employers;
  • Malpractice history;
  • Licensure details; and
  • State disciplinary action records, if applicable.

How Are Provider Medical Credentials Verified?

Given the importance of ensuring all providers are held to the same rigorous standards, and how imperative reducing fraud is in protecting patient health, it is no surprise that the credential review process is painstakingly thorough. Those involved in the credentialing process have to review detailed aspects related to the training and experiences of providers to ensure that they are fit to practice and would not pose any harm to patients if they were allowed to practice within their organization.

Organizations that require credentialing often employ individuals to verify the authenticity of provider-submitted credentials. While they may individually call educational institutions or past employers, centralized databases exist that credentialing professionals can utilize to streamline the process and ensure that no vital information is missed in the provider submission step.

Unfortunately, not everyone may be forthcoming about their past history and may choose to withhold information related to any “red flags” in their past that may reflect poorly on their ability to practice.  This is the hallmark of the medical credentialing process; by thoroughly paying attention to every aspect of the education, training, work history, and licensure of a provider, it becomes much less likely that someone who should not be credentialed to practice in a health care setting will be.

However, regardless of the method utilized to verify and accept credentials, the process is often laborious and time-consuming. This is why the process often takes months to complete. If you need help navigating the credentialing process, please contact us today to schedule a consultation. We would love to help you streamline the medical credentialing process to help get your highly qualified providers practicing medicine as soon as possible!


 

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Blog Post

The COVID-19 pandemic delivered a new era in the world of healthcare work. Staffing firms pivoted quickly to manage the demand for workers as the pandemic raced across the country. Demand increased for travel nurses while it decreased for many temporary specialists and therapists. 

While travel nursing remains in demand throughout 2021 as an effort for mass vaccination continues, it will likely even out in the upcoming months due to the cost and budgetary restrictions. As the industry becomes more regulated, hospitals will turn to more permanent staffing solutions.

This may impact the “new normal” in healthcare staffing. There are three main trends ushered in by the pandemic that are here to stay.

3 Key Trends in Healthcare Staffing

1. Using Automated Database Mining to Find Qualified Candidates

Staffing agencies had problems finding qualified candidates like travel nurses. However, many many of those same agencies had hundreds of inactive candidates in their databases. These candidates were disengaged.

By using automated software, recruiters save time engaging leads and only need to screen interested candidates, build relationships, and match them with proper assignments.

2. Problem: Pre-Credentialing Nurses to Prevent Losing Candidates

Because of the high demand and record number of candidates, they were being lost in the funnel. This is due to the credentialing process being too demanding or being presented by competing offers with faster placement.

One way to do rapid-response travel nursing – where nurses receive placement in a day or two – is to pre-credential them or have their credentials nearly complete with only state and facility-specific documents remaining that can be completed quickly. When handled by credentialing software combined with third-party partners with offshore recruiters, this process is far more cost-effective, scalable, and efficient, allowing the onshore recruiters to focus on building relationships with the nurses. 

3. Retaining qualified talent Using Comprehensive Healthcare Agencies

With specific specialties in high demand, staffing agencies worked hard to retain the talent they already had.

When multiple healthcare industries are connected by a larger company, there is more flexibility and opportunity for specialists. As the healthcare market for demand changes, nurses and workers are able to find other positions under the same company, in different practices. Cartera Health not only has connections in staffing in-home medical care but also provides medical credentialing. This ease gives nurses the ability to focus on their patients instead of the logistics of finding work when temporary assignments are up.

Growth & Sustainability in Healthcare Staffing

The U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics estimates employment will increase 4% by 2029, an annual growth rate of only 0.4%. Healthcare occupations are projected to outperform this number significantly. Two areas that will see the largest growth are healthcare practitioners and healthcare support – estimated to grow 9% and 23% by 2029. A report by McKinsey & Company expects that by 2030, the most significant growth in U.S. labor demand will be among wellness occupations and healthcare professionals.

To maintain the sustainability of growth, healthcare staffing agencies will continue adopting innovative strategies to guarantee that client, candidate, and employee engagement stays strong. 

Savvy healthcare staffing agencies are taking what was learned and what solutions were implemented over the past year and applying them so they’ll be able to meet forecasted demand for years to come. They’re maintaining the culture of flexibility, skill, and adaptability asked of them during the pandemic to make sure they’re ready for whatever happens down the road.

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