The Hidden Cost of the Grey Wave — MedCerts

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The number of individuals seeking healthcare treatment is rising faster than ever before and the aging baby boomer population is one of the biggest contributing factors. Also known as the Grey Wave, the growing number of older adults requiring ongoing care is exasperating the need for more healthcare workers.

In 2018, the US spent $103 billion on home healthcare alone, out of a total of $3.67 trillion spent across the healthcare industry. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services predict home health numbers will rise to $173 billion, and total healthcare spending to $5.7 trillion, by 2026.

These spending increases align with Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates of 2.4 million new jobs in healthcare in the next ten years, a 15 percent growth rate. These vacancies take into account the serious understaffing and lack of candidates that many organizations in the healthcare field are facing today.

Even beyond the personal pressure this understaffing places on people still in the workforce, the Grey Wave is having some significant financial impacts on healthcare organizations as a whole.

The Financial Impact of Healthcare Vacancies

When a healthcare facility is understaffed, the financial impact can be felt in countless ways. Some impact every employee, but others are less obvious.

Healthcare workers who don’t have enough support are more likely to feel stressed or overwhelmed. It’s all too easy for these feelings to boil over into burnout. Burned-out workers are less effective in their positions and more likely to quit than workers who feel supported. As a result, this burnout creates a domino effect, where a few vacancies eventually lead to higher turnover and a consistently stressed workforce. Which in turn, increases HR and recruiting costs to constantly be filling more and more positions.

Another surface-level financial effect comes from the cost of paying overtime. If you need 160 hours of coverage in a week, it’s cheaper to pay four people forty hours of standard pay than to pay three people forty hours of standard pay and then thirteen hours of overtime each. Not only is the company paying out forty hours of overtime, but the workload is also stressing each of those employees and making them more likely to burn out.

Finally, if a vacant position requires any specialized skills, it may not be possible for other staff to cover those responsibilities. If someone does step up to take over those responsibilities, they are facing the stress of learning new skills without adequate guidance. This can lead to patients being turned away or receiving subpar care leading to a loss of revenue at best. A single vacancy can work against the facility in multiple ways at once.

How to Get Ahead of Understaffing

Instead of waiting for someone to leave to start the recruitment process, it’s possible to train people in advance and develop a talent pipeline. There are a few healthcare staffing solutions to handle this effectively without wasting resources.

The simplest way to prepare for future vacancies is to cross-train or up-train the workers that are currently on staff. By providing each current staffer with additional training, you can ensure that there will always be someone capable of stepping into a position if the need arises. This reduces stress and makes it easier to hire a replacement. Instead of looking for specialized skills, you can move the up-trained staff member into the specialized role and hire a new worker with generalized skills.

Apprenticeship programs can also help you prepare in advance for future vacancies. You can set up contracts that pay for employee training in exchange for a promise to remain with the facility for a set minimum amount of time. This justifies the cost of healthcare training solutions while reducing your total turnover and preparing employees to step into new roles.

Finally, working with qualified healthcare staffing services like MedCerts can help you stay ahead of the curve. They often have job-ready candidates in your area available to fill those entry-level positions, who you can interview at no cost Plus, they can work with you to create a hire-and-train program that allows you to expand your talent pool and create a candidate pipeline required to stay ahead of vacancies.

Securing the Funding for Effective Training

Of course, training your employees isn’t without cost as these training certification programs do carry associated expenses. However, it’s crucial to balance these expenses against the cost of recruiting, which can be a significant budgetary burden on its own.

Recruitment involves multiple potential costs. First of all, during the recruitment process, the vacancy stands empty, causing other employees stress. Next, HR must sort through applicants and spend time interviewing and making a decision on who to hire. Third, every new employee must undergo some basic training specific to their new facility. Finally, even with the best recruitment practices, not every hire will work out, and the recruitment process may need to be repeated. These potential expenses are variable and hard to predict or budget for in advance.

On the other hand, training and certification programs have specific, known costs. Programs like MedCerts have clear tuition costs that can be discounted in bulk and built into the budget. In some cases, MedCerts students may qualify for aid through government grants through a local Workforce Agency or nonprofit., eliminating most or all of the cost.

Working with MedCerts offers additional benefits, as well. Not only is MedCerts a cost-effective way of filling open positions in your facility, but it can also help permanently solve healthcare staffing issues. MedCerts offers a service to vet all of your potential students to ensure that they only recommend high-quality, reliable candidates. By only training top-quality students, MedCerts makes your job easier. You can rely on MedCerts to provide candidates who will stand the test of time, reducing your turnover and improving the quality of your staff as a whole.

The End of Understaffing

Understaffing is a significant drain on a healthcare facility, in terms of both stress and cost. The easiest way to mitigate the impact of the Grey Wave on your staff is to start training them now.

By creating a talent pipeline and giving your staff the opportunity to learn new skills, you’re minimizing the potential issues caused by the increase in required patient care while helping staff members boost their careers. Best of all, you don’t have to go at this alone. Fill vacancies with new, reliable, certified employees through programs like MedCerts to keep your workforce prepared to handle anything.

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Written by MedCerts Team
Education Specialist

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Published on November 10, 2021