Nurse shortage and need for immigrant nurses

Greg Siskind is the Founder of Siskind, Susser, Bland, P.C. – Immigration Lawyers, which is one of top ten largest immigration practices in United States.  In his the Greg Siskind blog, Greg added a post discussing how the current immigration system is adding to the United States’ nurse shortage.  He writes: “Low green card quotas have also left the U.S. with an undersupply of nurses that threatens patient care.”  He also offers a short-term solution, encouraging the U.S. government to ease the limit on foreign nurses allowed entry into the United States.


Click here to read his entire post: WSJ writes on dangers of nursing shortage and need for immigrant nurses.


Nursing crunch may be hard to fix

Theo Francis wrote a post The Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog about the nurse shortage and some of its causes.  Although the outlook looks bleak, he mentioned a unique source of new nurses–Career-changers.  Crediting the Boston Globe, Francis explains how the healthcare system can cope with the nursing shortage by “tapping mid-career professionals who go to nursing school for a change of pace or after taking early retirement.” 


Click here to read the entire post with reader comments: Nursing crunch may be hard to fix.


Area hospitals filling vacant nursing jobs

A survey conducted by the Dallas-Fort Hospital Council reported that the vacancy rate for RNs local to the state of Texas is now 8.8 percent, which is down from 10 percent in 2005 and from 9 percent two years before that.  The survey gives credit to flexible training programs and international recruiting for helping with the nurse staffing crunch in Texas. 


Although this is good news for Metroplex hospitals, healthcare providers are still facing nurse shortages across the nation.  In fact, the American Hospital Association estimates 116,000 registered-nurse jobs are unfilled nationwide.  Another tactic not mentioned, which has worked well in other medical facilities with nurse shortages is to utilize temporary nurse staffing agencies to help fill vacancies. 


Click here to read the entire article: Area hospitals filling vacant nursing jobs.


Michigan State Cannot Pay Hospitals

Similiar to the situations in California and Illinois, Michigan’s state governement is also cash-strapped, delaying their payments to hospitals. Originally, hospitals such as Detroit Medical Center, were supposed to receive their share of $54 million in state and federal payments in April and July, but now September 26 is the day these medical facilities are told they will receive the funds. Until then, hospital finance officers say the hospitals have to do some rearranging of inhouse funds to combat the delayed payments.

Click here to read the entire article: State can’t pay hospitals: Fiscal problems force long delay of $54 million.

Protect Your Healthcare Staffing Firm Against Client Bankruptcy

This article appeared in the September 17 issue of the American Staffing Association’s Staffing Week E-newsletter.  Although aimed at all staffing agencies, medical staffing companies could be affected even more by client bankruptcy because the majority of America’s hospitals are already operating in the red.  The bottom line is to continuously monitor your clients’ credit terms and their payment trends.


With the U.S. economy showing some weakness in areas such as home construction and mortgage financing, staffing firms might begin to worry about the financial strength of their clients. Economic downturns can lead to business failures that put companies that provide services in troubled sectors of the economy—such as staffing firms—at increased risk.



Staffing company owners often wonder whether their firms have any basis for claiming priority status for unpaid client invoices when a client is in bankruptcy. Unfortunately, unless the claim is secured in some way, the answer generally is no.



Because employee wage claims enjoy priority status in bankruptcy, staffing firms commonly ask whether unpaid client invoices can be treated as a claim for unpaid wages. In most cases, however, the staffing firm has already paid its employees when the client’s claim in bankruptcy is filed, so courts treat such claims as for unpaid vendor invoices, not wages.



Some years ago, ASA considered seeking an amendment to the federal bankruptcy law to grant priority status to staffing firm claims. The association was advised by bankruptcy experts that this would not be feasible. ASA was told that, since 1898, Congress has granted preferences to just two industries—farming and fishing—and then only in very limited circumstances and with a low dollar cap (currently $5,400) on the amount of the claim entitled to priority status.



The bankruptcy experts concluded that there was virtually no chance of success in getting preferential treatment for the staffing industry. It was unlikely that Congress could be persuaded that staffing firms are uniquely different from other business services or are suffering significantly greater hardship. Moreover, any relief granted would be very limited in terms of dollar amount.



Given the remote chances of success, and the limited relief even if the effort was successful, ASA decided not to pursue an amendment.



Because of the “supplier beware” legal environment created by the bankruptcy laws, it is always a good business practice, regardless of the state of the economy, for staffing firms to be careful about extending credit to clients and to closely monitor their receivables.



-Ed Lenz