Strategies to Decrease Labor Costs in Healthcare

January 3, 2023

The healthcare sector has consistently faced increased premium labor costs in recent years, according to studies. These escalating costs must be managed effectively to ensure the smooth running of healthcare systems. When costs get out of control, it places a burden on administrative teams and leadership to stay within budget and fill staff gaps when the primary focus should be on supporting employees as they provide quality patient care.

Thankfully, support from agencies like Health Carousel through flexible staffing and other workforce solutions can help organizations find effective ways of managing labor costs. From deploying the correct staffing mix to implementing strategies to attract top talent, there are tons of labor solutions that can be customized to your needs.

What Factors Increase Labor Costs for Healthcare Systems?

Several factors contribute to the rising labor costs in healthcare, chief among which include employee retention and high turnover rates. Data from the Advisory Board notes that the turnover rates for registered nurses have reached critical levels, and the average cost of RN turnover is an estimated $40K per nurse. This alarming number shows the potential scale of labor cost reduction strategies if managed effectively.

High turnover also suggests that healthcare organizations are losing their investments in staff training and development, including expensive continuing education programs for registered nurses and other healthcare professionals. Thus, the cost is not only financial but also involves a loss of intellectual capital and a decline in the staff experience and patient care quality.

Apart from these, other factors like an aging workforce, increasing patient expectations, and technology changes also contribute indirectly to healthcare labor costs. Addressing these issues can assist in managing labor costs more efficiently.

Strategies for Labor Cost Savings in Health Systems

As healthcare systems grapple with the challenge of balancing premium labor costs while ensuring the delivery of quality healthcare services, flexible staffing has emerged as a dynamic solution.

The concept of flexible staffing is to reconcile the fluctuating labor demands in healthcare systems with the increasingly apparent desire for flexibility among medical personnel, particularly nurses. This strategy is key to realizing significant labor cost savings since it optimizes staffing and increases efficiency without compromising the quality of healthcare services. Essentially, flex staffing refers to the process of using different types of hires, like floating staff or travel nurses, combined with full-time staff to meet fluctuating demand.

Flexible Staffing Models

Flexible staffing takes various forms according to the specific needs of a healthcare facility. Some popular models include:

  • Float Pool: This model involves a pool of trained personnel who have the necessary skills to work in different units or departments within a healthcare system.
  • Unit Registry: Unit registry staffing assigns staff to specific departments or units within a healthcare organization where they gain specialized experience.
  • Internal Agency: An internal agency, structured within a larger healthcare system, provides staffing services across different departments or outlying facilities associated with the larger system.

Each of these flex staffing models provides unique offerings and can be tailored to a healthcare system's specific needs, playing an instrumental role in its labor cost reduction strategy.

How Flex Staffing Lowers Healthcare Labor Costs

Adopting a flexible staffing model presents a spectrum of benefits geared toward lowering labor costs. Flexible staffing capitalizes on flexibility, giving healthcare systems the ability to anticipate and respond to varying labor demands. Consequently, this results in significant cost savings by increasing efficiency and productivity.

A strategically chosen staffing program also grants a healthcare facility access to a wider skills base. Facilities can work with specialized talent to fill temporary demands to meet immediate and long-term needs. This model also allows facilities to define how and when people are being placed, leading to a more optimized use of budget and skills.

Moreover, flexible staffing is a catalyst for healthcare staff retention. With an industry characterized by high turnover rates, flex staffing accommodates the personal needs and preferences of the healthcare staff. This not only lowers recruitment and training costs but also fosters an environment for the provision of quality healthcare facilitated by familiar medical staff.

Partner with an Agency

Flexible staffing can be implemented even more effectively through a partnership with a seasoned agency. At Health Carousel, we execute an in-depth needs assessment for your healthcare facility to define and implement a flex staffing strategy that aligns with your labor cost reduction goals.

This collaboration provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the varying flexible staffing models and guides you through selecting the model that best suits your specific needs. Whether it's positioning local travel, internal flex, or external flex, partnering with an agency paves the way for the successful execution and realization of your labor cost savings strategy.

Health Carousel and Lower Labor Costs

Amid the sea of agencies in the healthcare staffing industry, Health Carousel distinguishes itself through a unique approach. Rather than offering isolated services, we offer a holistic flex staffing solution, serving as a one-stop-shop for healthcare facilities.

Health Carousel leverages our deep-rooted industry experience and insight to evaluate your facility's needs, formulate an ideal flexible staffing plan that aligns with your cost-savings objectives, and manage the entire execution process. Our integration of technology in our services unveils a new dimension in healthcare staffing, driving efficiency through innovation.

In essence, Health Carousel's strategic approach to flexible staffing avails healthcare systems with an invaluable resource for navigating labor costs while enhancing their healthcare delivery. By providing an all-encompassing service, Health Carousel ensures that healthcare facilities have everything they need to manage labor costs and deliver uncompromised quality healthcare services. Discover our workforce solutions today to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you break down labor costs?

Breaking down labor costs involves analyzing various components such as wages, benefits, insurance, taxes, and any other associated costs attributed to employees. This process typically requires categorizing costs into direct labor (those directly involved in creating a product or service) and indirect labor (support staff or overhead). After identifying these costs, they are then allocated to specific products, services, or projects to understand the labor cost contribution to each, aiding in budgeting, pricing, and overall financial management.

Why is low labor cost important?

Low labor cost is important because it directly affects a company's profitability by reducing the expenses associated with producing goods or services. Lower labor costs can make a business more competitive by allowing it to offer lower prices or to invest more in research and development, marketing, or other areas that could improve the company's market position. Furthermore, companies with lower labor costs may also have greater flexibility to adapt to market changes and economic fluctuations.

About Health Carousel

Health Carousel is committed to partnering with world-class healthcare facilities across the country, providing rewarding assignments for Registered Nurses and Allied Health Professionals, and attracting the best internal talent at all career levels.