How Obamacare Could Increase the Demand for Healthcare Contractors

While employers across the nation are grumbling about healthcare reform, you may just end up rejoicing if you are working the healthcare niche.

A recent Staffing Industry Analysts report predicts that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), better known as "Obamacare," will increase the demand for healthcare professionals.  The influx of millions of customers who will be forced under the PPACA to get healthcare insurance, along with the aging population and a limited talent pool, is expected to bring a "perfect storm" labor shortage in the healthcare industry.

The report states that there are already skills shortages for some healthcare occupations, including some therapy professions.  For those occupations, the unemployment rate was below 1% during 2011, a year when the American unemployment rate hovered over 8%.

Staffing Industry Analysts' 2013 Staffing Occupational Markets Guidebook, which lists occupations that are poised for contract staffing growth, backs up the findings of the report.  Healthcare positions ranked high on the list. Specifically, the guidebook shows that physical therapists are in the top three and that contract/temporary payroll for these professionals is expected to increase by 39% this year.  

Healthcare is a huge area for contract staffing because medical facilities need a flexible, cost-effective solution to their staffing challenges.  In fact, healthcare has been one of the top three industries for Top Echelon Contracting's contract placements for over six years! In the past couple of years, we have especially noticed growth in the therapy fields (occupational, physical, and speech-language).  

If you are considering a new niche, healthcare may be the way to go.  But if you do delve into this area, you will want to make sure your contract placements are handled properly. Failing to thoroughly screen and validate healthcare contractors could result in severe consequences for clients and you.

To avoid problems, be sure that you or your contract staffing back-office:

  1. Has a Certificate of Insurance that includes sufficient medical professional liability insurance.
  2. Runs background checks and drug screenings on every healthcare contractor.
  3. Has healthcare contractors sign a HIPPA Agreement stating that they understand and will comply with the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA).
  4. Verifies their immunizations, specifically Hepatitis B and Tuberculosis.
  5. Verifies that they have any required licenses, and those licenses are up-to-date.
  6. Conducts an OIG/HHS (Medicare Fraud) Search.
  7. Conducts an Excluded Parties List System Search (EPLS).
  8. Conducts Bloodborne Pathogens training and testing.
  9. Havs contractors complete occupation-specific skills checklists.
  10. Verifies their CPR training and certification.
  11. Conducts FBI fingerprinting if the contractor will have contact with children.

Debbie Fledderjohann is the President of Top Echelon Contracting, Inc.

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