How to Choose the Right Managed Service Provider for Your Facility

A checklist to help you define your workforce needs

Before you start a search for a Managed Service Provider (MSP), know who you are as an organization and assess your ability to handle all aspects of workforce management. Can you handle every detail of recruiting, onboarding, training, credentialing, billing, ordering, contracting, training, internal notifications, policy change documentation risk and insurance internally? Or, do you need additional resources to do an effective job?

Do you have the time to deal with multiple contracts from multiple staffing vendors? Are you currently using an MSP, but experiencing low fill rates and slow fill times, despite their massive partner network? Do you have the insights and reports you need to prepare for what’s ahead? The answers to these questions will help you narrow down your options and select the right MSP for your specific needs.

Don’t settle for an off-the-shelf solution

A good MSP should oversee healthcare staffing agencies in a way that takes the burden off you, gives you access to the highest quality available healthcare talent at the lowest cost and empowers you with actionable insights to prepare for what's ahead.

Many MSPs offer a standard solution to increase your access to talent. In this cookie-cutter approach, you develop a transactional relationship, where you let the MSP know what jobs need to be filled and they post them out to the marketplace and send you candidates. Often, your main contact is through a technology platform.

The MSP may have a menu of additional services that come standard, such as screening, interviewing and credentialing, to help streamline the hiring process. They may allow you to purchase just the services you need or require you to buy the whole package. Such an MSP might be a good fit if you don’t use a lot of supplemental staffing. They might also meet your needs if their standardized services complement your internal capabilities.

1. Are they flexible?

In a 2019 Workforce Solution Buyers Survey from Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), respondents were asked to rank six reasons for using contingent labor from 1 (most important) to 6 (least important). Flexibility was chosen as the most important reason by the most respondents (32%).

Those organizations that take a holistic approach to talent — one that considers all the available resources from temporary, temp to perm or permanent — have the flexibility to address the root cause of their challenge.

Your MSP program should be custom-built and offer a portfolio of flexible staffing options that includes nurses, allied healthcare professionals, physicians, advance practice providers and nonclinical staff — available on a temporary or permanent basis. As the needs of your organization change, your MSP partner should flex and change with you, providing the personalized service you deserve.

2. How do they communicate?

The quality and responsiveness of an MSP’s initial communications represents the quality of their service. Are their responses thoughtful in addressing specific issues or do they read like they were pulled from a template?

Additionally, how do they communicate? Do they provide an omnichannel experience that lets you correspond the way you prefer? For instance, can you pick up the phone when you need to talk to your account manager directly and use technology for simple transactions?

 3. Do they take a clinically led approach?

Quality is nonnegotiable. If the MSP will handle the screening, interviewing, onboarding and/or managing of your contingent staff, their clinical team should have deep experience and the ability to understand the culture of your organization and your desired outcomes.

You want a clinical team that does a deep dive with your leadership team to understand what is specifically unique about each position you're trying to fill. They should ensure all contingent staff are so well qualified they improve patient care and overall employee satisfaction, not detract from it.

4. Do they offer change management support?

Developing a new relationship with an MSP involves change management. The MSP should have a process to establish the milestones that need to be met before going live.

A dedicated team should work with you to ensure a smooth transition and reassess the program several months after go-live to evaluate whether it’s meeting your expectations. You can expect the best results when the MSP assigns a dedicated employee to work onsite with your team, to help manage contingent talent and determine opportunities to optimize your workforce.

 5. How do they use technology?

Healthcare professionals have different preferences when it comes to seeking work. Some like personal interaction with recruiters, while others want to interact online. Utilizing leading edge technology is critical for identifying the best candidates and streamlining the entire recruitment and interviewing process.

You want to look for a forward-thinking MSP that is developing or investing in technology that is intuitive, fast and provides effective recruitment analytics. If you have your own vendor neutral software, your MSP should provide a consultative approach that empowers you with visibility, control and actionable insights on performance and overall labor costs.

Visibility, control and actionable insights

 6. Do they have solid vendor relationships?

Has the MSP provided transparency and collaboration to their partner network to remove the supply constraints and ensure highest quality? Are they a first choice for vendors to join their network?  If they have their own panel, has it been vetted for quality?

An MSP dedicated to your success will work to create a three-way partnership with you and their vendors. The MSP and panel representatives will meet with you to develop an understanding of your needs and be given access to proprietary tools and training to make your jobs standout. As partners, the vendor panel will be committed to giving your jobs priority. They will provide transparency and visibility around costs and billing as well as insights into competitor and market trends. The partnership will work together to assess bill rate and determine what rate is required to deliver the fill rate necessary to meet the needs of your patients.

7. Is the MSP serving your competitors?

An MSP may say you are a priority client. But if they are serving other healthcare facilities in your region, you will be competing with other facilities for the same healthcare talent. An MSP that has no other clients within a 100-mile radius of your facility is able to recruit strategically for the nurses, advanced practice providers, physicians and allied health workers you need.

8. Can the MSP provide workforce management solutions that help with retention?

Some MSPs can partner with you to provide ongoing training, mentorship, conflict resolution and other support that optimizes the productivity and job satisfaction of your staff.

9. What other solutions does the MSP offer to reduce dependency on contingent labor?  

An effective way to reduce reliance on supplemental labor is to turn temporary staff into permanent employees. Having a mix of travel, part-time and international nurses and providers in the pipeline increases your chances of success. An MSP that can contract with highly qualified international healthcare workers and support them in their new homes can provide you with a new source of longer-term talent.

When you take the time to do thorough research on the MSPs you are considering, you maximize the chance of finding the perfect fit for your healthcare organization.

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