Managing Today’s Staffing Challenges: Top 3 Areas of Focus

Posted December 9, 2021 by Franny Potts

As healthcare leaders, we know that all aspects of healthcare are deeply personal. Whether it be welcoming a newborn baby, caring for an aging parent, providing financial assistance for medical care, or being the thought leader for clinical or financial advancements, our most precious, emotional, and challenging moments are directly tied to healthcare. And yet healthcare isn’t “healthy” right now.

With nearly two years into the new decade, reminiscing on the challenges we’ve faced in healthcare provides a glimpse of the path ahead. Without listing all the challenges, and honestly making us live through each of them all over again, there are a few that not only remain, but are continually growing as we slide into 2022.

When examining the business side of healthcare, some of the obvious challenges that leaders are continuing to face include:

    • Understanding data: the business skills of understanding data and statistics are necessary to grasp the scale of any problem and whether a solution is working.
    • Balancing the needs of patients with the business side of medical providers.
    • Multi-dimensional healthcare settings: medical systems are becoming more complex, thus requiring providers to take a holistic approach to addressing patient needs versus solely focusing on immediate medical needs.
    • Lack of staff: healthcare administrators are being faced with hiring in an industry where there are not enough skilled or credentialed candidates to remedy internal business challenges.

Now, let’s be honest with ourselves… the first three bullets above are challenges we have faced for quite some time now, and they are challenges we know aren’t going away. However, the last bullet relating to staffing difficulties is a challenge we have recently been forced to add to our list of priorities.

According to Spring Arbor University, there will be an estimated shortage of 100,000 providers by 2030. Ongoing staff shortages in healthcare is a real problem that makes providing patient-centered care a daunting task. Per a recent report by CNN, the US will need to hire 2.3 million new healthcare workers by 2025 to be able to take care of the aging population qualitatively. And this report only includes doctors, nurses, and nursing assistants. This doesn’t even account for healthcare administrators who are responsible for making sure all of the factors ‘behind the scenes’ are working effectively in order for the providers to do what they do best… care for patients.

There are many reasons for the change in the healthcare staffing landscape, but the ones that remain consistent across organizations include retaining top talent due to increasing turnover rates and competition, lack of resources and personnel for skill development, credentialing, and continued education, and last but not certainly least, employee burnout.

While we are all trying our best to come out of the darkest days post pandemic, and start shifting towards a ‘new normal,’ here are 3 key areas healthcare administrators can focus on to start combating these increasing staffing issues.

  1. Secure a trusted partner that has the expertise and knowledge to provide a “specialty third-party vendor team” to complement your direct staff efforts.
    • Relying on a third-party organization to collect money that is rightfully yours can be a daunting challenge. However, this might just be the solution to employee burnout. Overworking your billing staff to ensure all traditional and non-traditional claims are processed in an effective and accurate manner, whether the skill-set is present or not, inflicts a significant amount of stress of doing a job that, at times, seems never-ending. By creating this “specialty third-party vendor team,” you are able to ensure all your traditional claims are being handled to completion, and you are relieving the stressors associated with managing complex claims, ultimately removing the heavy burdens associated with employee burnout.
  2. Maximize your current staff expertise in their areas of strength with greater productivity and higher efficiency.
    • With one of the biggest staffing challenges being a lack of resources and personnel for skill development, credentialing and continued education, it’s no wonder healthcare administrators are feeling the burden of placing current staff in their areas of strength to produce increased productivity. The lack of expertise and knowledge associated with processing complex claims is a reality in many healthcare organizations. Combine this with the lack of resources available to train your existing staff to take on this segment of work, and you can be sure your billing department is not performing at the highest level of efficiency. EnableComp is the answer here. Allow your current staff to focus on what they have great knowledge and experience in, while we focus on our expertise on your complex claims.
  3. Reallocate valuable billing resources to improve staff productivity and increase “cost-to-collect.”
    • Retaining top talent due to increasing turnover rates is a huge staffing challenge healthcare administrators are facing today. There is a large amount of cost associated with hiring new personnel at any organization – recruiting, hiring, training, compensation, and insurance. In addition to cost, the talent pool is diminishing for skilled and qualified healthcare workers, while the competition to recruit is exponentially rising. With the current state of healthcare, cost is top of mind for us all. At EnableComp, each team member initially undergoes 100+ hours of both online and hands-on training to ensure a thorough understanding of how to process every type of claim, with continual educational and professional development goals every quarter. This alleviates a huge staffing cost your organization does not have the deal with and reallocating your current billing resources to focus on exactly what they know best (processing traditional, high-dollar claims, and leaving your complex claims processing to EnableComp) will guarantee an increase in current staff productivity and overall cost-to-collect.

At the end of the day, healthcare administrators who respond to this overwhelming staffing challenge by designing and implementing systems, tools, processes, and workplace environments that support their staff can better help them meet the ongoing challenges posed by the outbreak and its aftermath.

While we continue to face these difficult challenges, with sometimes feeling there is no end in sight, we sincerely appreciate our healthcare providers who are working hard every single day to provide care for their communities. Thank you for your commitment, your compassion, and for us hope during these stressful times.