The effects of employee shortages amid rising demand
Since 2021, one of the biggest trends in healthcare employment is the growth in healthcare staffing agencies. At the same time, nearly 1 in 5 healthcare workers have been leaving the field since the COVID-19 pandemic began.1 With registered nurses retiring earlier, and an aging patient population requiring complex care, there’s an increased need for staffing agencies to answer the call.
To minimize risks when selecting employees, healthcare staffing agencies hiring or contracting nonphysician workers should focus on such screening processes as:
- A private interview with applicants by a staffing specialist
- Verifying identity, education levels, and current licensure
- Competency, background checks, and positive references
Once employed, there should be ongoing performance review elements, including:
- Acceptable history of attendance and timeliness
- Active on-site supervision using client-approved methods
- Evaluation of feedback received from client organizations
Agencies which hire or contract with physicians (including Nurse Practitioners) should require clearly defined responsibilities regarding supervision, liability, and insurance.
Unless there are clearly stated agency and client organization responsibilities, “joint employer” status can come into play.
Examples of this include:
- Employment practices liability regarding wage and hour issues
- Workers compensation while agency personnel are on site
In addition, some risks that may be self-insured or insured by a
commercial insurance carrier include:
- General liability involving slips, falls, and the like
- Medical leave provisions and civil rights matters
- Professional liability (involving negligence or malpractice allegations)
For a more complete analysis of the current issues involving healthcare staffing, download our white paper.
1. Masson, Gabrielle, “About 1 in 5 healthcare workers have left medicine since the pandemic began- Here’s why”, Becker’s Hospital Review, Chicago, IL, November 17th, 2021, p.1. https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/workforce/about-1-in-5-healthcare-workers-have-left-medicine-since-the-pandemic-began-here-s-why.html
This website is general in nature, and is provided as a courtesy to you. Information is accurate to the best of Liberty Mutual’s knowledge, but companies and individuals should not rely on it to prevent and mitigate all risks as an explanation of coverage or benefits under an insurance policy. Consult your professional advisor regarding your particular facts and circumstance. By citing external authorities or linking to other websites, Liberty Mutual is not endorsing them.