MSP: A Cost-effective Healthcare Workforce Model

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MSP: A Cost-effective Healthcare Workforce Model

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By Bob Livonius, president, Strategic Workforce Solutions, AMN Healthcare

Some temporary healthcare staffing companies are resistant to the rise of managed services programs, or MSPs. But today, almost everything is changing in the healthcare world, and how we manage the contingent healthcare workforce must change, too--for the healthcare provider’s sake. Changes that promote healthcare cost-effectiveness are occurring at every turn. Since the workforce draws half of all hospital expenditures, it’s no surprise that healthcare workforce solutions that reduce costs are on the rise.

Before MSPs, hospitals had to manage dozens of suppliers and contracts for contingent doctors, nurses and allied health professionals--each supplier with separate billing systems, rates, quality assurance and other processes. That may have been fine in the old fee-for-service days, when efficiency wasn’t a big factor in healthcare and change occurred comparatively slowly.

But fast forward to today:

• Cost containment and improved patient care are the dueling mantras of healthcare reform and the competitive healthcare marketplace.
• Healthcare reform is bringing in 32 million newly insured patients.
• Shortages of clinicians are significant and mounting.
• An aging population needs more and more healthcare.
• The health information technology revolution is in full swing, consuming hefty upfront capital.
• Reimbursement and compensation formulas are undergoing rapid change.

All of this means financial upheaval and great uncertainty for healthcare providers. With so many balls in the air, hospitals and health systems shouldn’t also have to juggle dozens of contingent labor vendors and contracts. Today, they don’t need to, thanks to the MSP model.

As an example, AMN Healthcare’s MSP provides single-portal management for all aspects of a healthcare system’s contingent workforce. The MSP team establishes contracts and strong relationships with hundreds of vendors to expand the number of labor sources to fill clients’ needs. Then, they contract with clients to meet fill rate, quality and cost-savings metrics. The entire burden of managing the temporary workforce--a sizeable operation at large hospitals--shifts from health system to the MSP.

MSP represents a cost-effective management model that supersedes the traditional way of doing things with a better idea. It’s the centuries-old story of business: We do something one way until a better way comes along, and then we give up the old way and embrace the new. Not because it’s new, but because it’s better.

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