5 Tips for Managing Your Health Care Staffing Needs Around The Clock

Healthcare is one of the most rapidly changing industries in America today. New laws and regulations at both the state and federal levels are affecting the way healthcare facilities across the nation manage their operations. With this in mind, it is more important than ever for staffing managers and administrators to stay ahead of these changes by proactively incorporating new regulatory requirements into their operational procedures.

In an effort to help you manage your healthcare facility operations, we've compiled a list of the most critical changes that affect your healthcare staffing.
  • Federal Regulation 42CFR 482.23(b) requires all Medicare-certified hospitals and healthcare facilities to "have adequate numbers of licensed registered nurses, licensed practical (vocational) nurses and other personnel to provide nursing care to all patients as needed." While terms like "adequate" and "as needed" are extremely vague, the overall message is clear: healthcare facilities must provide the fully qualified and certified personnel necessary to provide patients with the appropriate levels of care to participate in the federal Medicare program. That means partnering with a healthcare staffing firm to supplement and support your full-time employee base.

  • The National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act currently before Congress seeks to establish definitive requirements for acute-care facilities to provide licensed RN staff based on the acuity of patient conditions. This bill provides minimum nurse-to-patient ratios for each unit that must be consistently maintained at all times. Under the propositions of this law, healthcare facilities would face penalties for failing to maintain these legally defined ratios.

  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is designed to reduce the overall cost of healthcare while increasing quality of patient care. As the provisions of this act go into effect over the next couple of years, the result will be a significant impact on the personnel management practices of healthcare facilities nationwide. With extensive updates to the learning and competency development program requirements, it will become more important than ever for facilities to ensure that both their full-time and temporary staff members have the training and certifications necessary to provide appropriate levels of patient care as defined under this new law.

  • Pennsylvania Senate Bill 438, sponsored by PA State Senator Daylin Leach, proposes significant changes to existing nurse-to-patient ratio requirements. "Various reports in recent years have shown that insufficient staffing has a direct correlation to patient lives lost, and one of the best ways to ensure Pennsylvania provides safe patient care and a healthy working environment for nurses is by implementing realistic and attainable staffing ratios," said Senator Leach. Support for the Senate bill has been tremendous, resulting in the initiation of companion Pennsylvania House Bill 1874, which is modeled on California's extremely successful 1999 law and would amend the Health Care Facilities Act to establish life-saving minimum nurse-to-patient ratios throughout hospitals.

  • New Jersey AB 660/SB 963 seeks to enact ratio requirements for registered professional nurses not unlike those proposed in PA as mentioned above. However, the proposed NJ legislation extends beyond hospitals, covering ambulatory surgery facilities, state developmental centers and psychiatric hospitals as well. The bill in question establishes introductory ratios for the different units and facilities and requires that all hospitals and ambulatory surgery facilities employ a commission-approved acuity and staffing system. As part of the acuity system, each facility must maintain a pool of qualified registered nurses to accommodate all staffing needs and eventualities.
As you can see from the examples above, staffing training and ratio requirements are changing nationwide. Therefore, it's more important than ever to ensure your facility has the staffing resources necessary to meet patient needs and satisfy new regulations. By partnering with a dedicated healthcare staffing firm like QCO, you can ensure that your healthcare facility has the highly qualified and fully certified staffing resources to maintain compliance at all times.

To learn more about how QCO helps healthcare facilities stay ahead of changing legislation and regulation requirements, visit us online or call 215-491-5900 to speak with one of our healthcare staffing experts.

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