Costs Mount For Providers Seeking Health Workers In Short Supply
As hospitals, nursing homes and other health facilities clamor for more help, traveling nurses and caregivers can command higher bonuses and other incentives.
$25,000 Signing Bonuses To Hospital Workers? Whatever It Takes
Rachel Norton has been a critical care nurse for 14 years. She's worked as a staff nurse at a hospital, as a flight nurse and, currently on an as-needed basis for a system in Denver. And every so often, she takes on travel nursing assignments, sometimes spending a month at a new hospital when there's a need. Norton's flexible nursing career is one that's become more common in the past year as staff nurses have taken lucrative travel nursing contracts, reduced their hours or left the workforce altogether from burnout or for early retirement. And nurses aren't alone. (Christ, 7/23)
The High Cost Of Temporary Nurses Forces Providers To Get Creative
Healthcare providers are finding new ways to adequately staff facilities in response to escalating costs for travel nurses and rising COVID-19 cases. The high demand for nurses has created a competitive market for temporary staffing, leading some healthcare companies to leverage internal resources and change up existing staff structures to meet patients' needs. The resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic driven by the Delta variant, especially in states with low vaccination rates, is burdening providers whose staffing shortages have worsened just as demand spikes. States including Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri and Texas are enduring significant increases in daily cases, hospitalizations and deaths, triggering an urgent need for healthcare professionals. (Devereaux, 7/23)
Georgia Health News:
State Has Paid Staffing Firm $434 Million As Pandemic Deal Continues
Georgia’s tab for providing staffing help to hospitals and nursing homes in the pandemic has grown to $434 million. The payments have gone to Jackson Healthcare, a private firm based in Alpharetta. The company, after getting a no-bid contract, has supplied medical staff, from doctors to nurses to respiratory therapists, to dozens of hospitals and nursing homes across Georgia over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, through its subsidiary, HWL. (Miller, 7/23)
In decision-making and information tech in hospitals —
Shielded From Scrutiny, Epic Algorithms Deliver Inaccurate Information
Several artificial intelligence algorithms developed by Epic Systems, the nation’s largest electronic health record vendor, are delivering inaccurate or irrelevant information to hospitals about the care of seriously ill patients, contrasting sharply with the company’s published claims, a STAT investigation found. Employees of several major health systems said they were particularly concerned about Epic’s algorithm for predicting sepsis, a life-threatening complication of infection. The algorithm, they said, routinely fails to identify the condition in advance, and triggers frequent false alarms. Some hospitals reported a benefit for patients after fine-tuning the model, but that process took at least a year. (Ross, 7/26)
Most Research On Clinical Decision Support Tools Is Never Replicated
Clinical decision support is one of digital health’s great promises. Faced with a surplus of information about a patient’s history and symptoms, algorithms built into electronic health records can provide important alerts and reminders, automated prescription suggestions, and even diagnostic support — hopefully, helping patients receive the right care. But those systems don’t always hold up after their initial testing. Most recently, work pointed to flaws in an algorithm to predict the risk of sepsis, integrated into Epic’s electronic health record platform. A recent STAT investigation found those shortcomings extend to other Epic algorithms, including those used by hospitals to predict how long patients will be hospitalized or who will miss appointments. (Palmer, 7/26)
The Pandemic Made Telemedicine An Instant Hit. Patients And Providers Feel The Growing Pains.
Crystal Joseph pays for two telemedicine video services to ensure that her small therapy practice in Silver Spring, Maryland, can always connect with its clients. She’s been burned before. During one hours-long service outage of SimplePractice in late May, PsycYourMind, which offers mental health counseling and group sessions for Black patients, lost about $600 because of missed appointments. Livid, Joseph requested a small credit from the telemedicine service, which costs $432 monthly for her team of clinicians and trainees. SimplePractice refused, she said. (Norman, 7/26)