Archive for December, 2013

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

merry christmas

As we prepare to observe Christmas celebrations with our loved ones, we at PRN Funding want to wish you a joyful and prosperous holiday season – whatever your holiday.

We give special thanks to the nurses, EMTs, and other healthcare staff who will work through some or all of the holiday to keep others safe and healthy. May the hours move quickly so you can be home with family and friends.

Take the time to reevaluate your company’s goals for 2014, to form new ideas and get rid of old ideas that are not working for you. Make a plan to pursue even greater success, or to overcome the greatest challenge facing your company today.

Finally, regardless of your company’s position, consider gifting yourself with peace of mind from money concerns. PRN Funding is here to help you beat your cash flow woes with a flexible healthcare factoring program perfect for a variety of services and industries. Of the gifts under your company tree, factoring is the gift that will deliver continued success year-round.

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!

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More Nurses Seeking Careers in Leadership

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Whether you visit clinics, hospitals, or rehab facilities, you will find that nurses make up the largest group of healthcare professionals. Throughout the country and the whole world, the largest sector of healthcare providers is made up of nurses. Regardless of their overwhelming presence, not many of these nurses are included in important policy discussions that could shape the future of patient care.

A two-year study analyzing nurses’ roles in re-shaping the current healthcare system was conducted by the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Among the findings from the study was a 600-page document, providing a closer look at nurses’ education. Additionally, the report offered suggestions for assigning leadership roles in enhancing the healthcare system.

medican and nurse staffing

Currently, new nursing graduates are being encouraged by their educators and nursing associations to serve as competent leaders in the healthcare industry. Aside from empowering nurses, these efforts aim to increase nurses’ leadership roles, all while promoting change within the industry.

Cathy L. Rozmus, associate dean for academic affairs and assistant vice president for Institutional Assessment and Enhancement at UTHealth School of Nursing, views education as a crucial component to nursing leadership. At the very least, Rozmus said that nurses should have a bachelor of science in nursing in order to prepare for a leadership role. However, she also said that many larger healthcare facilities call for a master’s degree, either in a nursing specialty or nursing administration.

Rozmus offered plenty of advice for new nursing graduates pursuing a leadership role in the healthcare industry. She said that the most effective way to prepare for a leadership position is to offer volunteer services for various committees. Furthermore, she believes that by working in interprofessional groups, nurses will gain invaluable experience that will help prepare them for a leadership role.

Top 10 Healthcare Careers for 2014

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

When it comes to healthcare careers, many immediately think about doctors and nurses. However, there are many other career options within the industry. In addition to job security, these professions also offer generous salaries. Whether you’re in the medical staffing industry, ready to grow or launch your own healthcare staffing company, or deciding on a healthcare career specialty,  consider these growing fields.

Here are 10 of the best healthcare careers for 2014

Pharmacist: Aside from dispensing prescription medications, pharmacists provide valuable advice pertaining to prescription drugs, as well as how to safely use them. Salary=$117,000, Projected job growth=25 %

Podiatrist: Podiatrists help patients with foot, ankle, and lower leg problems. In addition to providing diagnoses for illnesses, podiatrists also treat injuries and provide surgical care for patients. Salary=$116,000, Projected job growth=20%

Optometrist: Specializing in eye exams, optometrists perform routine checks to detect vision problems and diseases. Optometrists also write prescriptions for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Salary=$98,000, Projected job growth=33%

Physical Therapist: In addition to pain management, physical therapists help patients with injuries or illnesses improve their movement. Salary=$80,000, Projected job growth=39%

Occupational Therapist: Occupational therapists help patients suffering from illnesses, injuries, or disabilities by introducing therapeutic techniques and equipment that can help improve the skills necessary for everyday living and working. Salary=$75,000, Projected job growth=33%

Speech Pathologist: Speech-language pathologists provide treatment and diagnoses for communication and swallowing disorders. Salary=$70,000, Projected job growth=23%

Chiropractor: Chiropractors offer treatment for patients encountering health problems with bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. By using spinal manipulation and other treatments, chiropractors also help treat patients’ back or neck pain. Salary=$66,000, Projected job growth=28%

Respiratory Therapist: Patients suffering from breathing problems, such as asthma or emphysema, seek care from respiratory therapists. Additionally, respiratory therapists offer urgent care to patients encountering a stroke, heart attack, or shock. Salary=$56,000, Projected job growth=28%

Laboratory Technician: Laboratory technicians collect samples from patients and perform tests to further examine tissue, body fluids, and other substances. Salary=$36,950, Projected job growth=15%

Medical Records Technician: Aside from managing and organizing health information data, medical records technicians make sure that the information is accurate, secure, and readily accessible via paper and electronic systems. Salary=$35,000, Projected job growth =21%

Thanks to the implementation of Obamacare, healthcare jobs are poised to experience massive growth as more people seek services. For more information on the hottest healthcare careers for 2014, visit the Bureau of Labor Services Occupational Outlook Handbook for healthcare.

ACA: Consumers Face “Sticker Shock” with New Healthcare Plans

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Consumers signing up for new ACA-compliant healthcare plans may choose a lower-tier plan to save money, but the decision comes at a high price – that is, increased deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs.

As previously reported, available plans fall into one of five cost categories that feature increasing premiums but offer decreasing deductibles in exchange. Premiums for all plans are higher than 2013 premiums, but individuals who earn up to four times the national poverty level can qualify for tax credits to offset their premiums.

Consumers who purchase at least a silver plan and who earn up to 2.5 times the poverty level can apply for additional credits to offset deductible and out-of-pocket costs, further relieving the burden of care. However, consumers who cannot receive the extra assistance may bet on their own health and choose a more affordable monthly payment over better coverage.

Higher deductibles could create scenarios in which patients forego needed care to avoid a hefty bill, which runs contrary to the purpose of the ACA, or they receive care and are later unable to pay the bill which contributes to hospitals’ bad debt.

Despite the unpleasant news, the ACA also caps annual out-of-pocket expenses (including co-pays) for an individual at $6,350 – a large number, but significantly lower than past plans that may not have capped expenses at all. This may ameliorate some of consumers’ sticker shock, particularly for patients whose cost of care quickly exceeds that threshold due to serious injuries or chronic conditions. Also, well check visits and prescriptions are covered at varying levels as minimum essential benefits and are deductible-free in some cases.

The best advice for individuals still shopping for the right health care plan is to consider not only the up-front cost of a monthly premium, but also the real cost of using the plan should the need arise.

Medical receivable factoring can help facilities preparing for the potential financial impact of higher patient deductibles. Contact PRN Funding to learn more.

Healthcare Startup Offers Medical Exams Online

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Best known as a practicing psychologist and television personality, Dr. Phillip McGraw has now decided to take up another part-time profession: adviser to Doctor on Demand. This new healthcare startup was created to help patients obtain access to doctors directly online, which could have a big impact on healthcare across the country.

McGraw launched the San Francisco-based startup with the help of his son, Jay McGraw, a reality TV producer. Doctor on Demand was created to help people avoid scheduling pricey in-person visits to busy doctors’ offices and emergency rooms. Instead, people can video conference with doctors via mobile devices.

In order to take advantage of these services, patients are required to pay $40 for every online consultation. Doctors who choose to participate in the company’s online network will receive $30 per session. Services offered through the startup include diagnoses, prescriptions, or referrals to see a caregiver in-person if the situation is an emergency, calls for lab work, or requires a face-to-face examination.

Currently, Doctor on Demand is being used in 15 states, including California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Texas. More than 1,000 doctors have signed up to provide video consultations a day or two each week. Physicians are trained on how to use the service, and the company takes care of all other miscellaneous components involved in running the startup, ranging from patient questionnaires to pharmacy networks.

New Obamacare Plans Result in Drug-Cost Sticker Shock

Monday, December 16th, 2013

With the rollout of Obamacare, many patients with chronic illnesses are taking advantage of the new healthcare law. However, these patients, who are projected to be some of the biggest beneficiaries of the new initiative, may encounter sticker shock with drug costs. Under the new law, out-of-pocket expenses associated with the new exchanges could vary widely.

The new healthcare act enables patients with pre-existing conditions to obtain affordable coverage. Additionally, these patients can’t be penalized with higher rates than healthier participants. In terms of out-of-pocket expenses, the maximum set for individuals is $6,350, and $12,700 for families. Once these amounts are reached, insurers will then pick up the full tab.

Nevertheless, patients taking costly prescription drugs are more likely to reach these levels fast. While certain medications for serious conditions can cost thousands of dollars a month, some plans under the new exchanges may place as much as 50 percent of the cost on patients. Basically, plans with lower monthly premiums require patients to bear higher portions of drug costs.

In addition to premiums, many other factors impact drug costs for patients. Among these factors is a drug’s tier, or level of coverage. Tiers vary from plan to plan, and can be classified into different categories: generic, brand, preferred and specialty drugs. In order to determine tiers, insurers and drug manufacturers negotiate prices for each particular drug. Drug costs are greatly impacted by these tiers, which can make all the difference in patient costs.

As a result, high price tags and costly co-pays are associated with high-tiered drugs. According to insurance-industry experts, many businesses are anticipating larger numbers of sicker, costlier patients to sign up for the exchanges. This trend could lead to financial troubles if an inadequate number of healthier customers sign-up and balance out those costs. Regardless, insurers are not allowed to impose higher charges on chronically ill patients. Therefore, in order to keep monthly premiums lower, patients are forced to pay more for high-tier drugs.

Obamacare Sign-Ups Booming After Website Fix

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Ever since the Obamacare enrollment site was revamped, sign-ups for the new healthcare plans have been on the rise. In November alone, nearly 100,000 people elected coverage through Healthcare.gov. Additionally, when compared to the enrollment numbers from October, about four times as many people enrolled for Obamacare coverage via federal exchanges last month.

Although the numbers are impressive, the Obama administration said it is still far from reaching its original goal. Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, previously reported that the administration had set their hopes for reaching 800,000 total enrollees throughout the months of October and November.

In October, more than 100,000 people enrolled for healthcare coverage under Obamacare. The majority of the enrollees came from state-run exchanges, while only about 27,000 signed up for coverage through the federal website, HealthCare.gov.

Nevertheless, thanks to the recent website fix, 29,000 Americans were able to enroll in healthcare coverage throughout the past few days. The number of sign-ups is higher than those tracked from October, providing evidence that enrollment via HealthCare.gov is rising as a result of the massive repairs completed on the site. Furthermore, administration officials reported that they had achieved their deadline for fixing the healthcare enrollment site, making it readily accessible for the vast majority of users.

Meanwhile, younger uninsured Americans are still hesitant to enroll. Currently, less than one-third of them say that they plan to sign-up for healthcare coverage under the new marketplace, according to a new poll. If this data remains relevant, tremendous problems could be in store for the new healthcare law.

The Affordable Care Act is highly dependent upon younger, healthier enrollees who can help keep coverage costs down by offsetting costs for older, sicker individuals. Nevertheless, a poll released by the Harvard Institute of Politics revealed that only 29 percent of uninsured Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 said they would definitely or likely sign-up for coverage through the healthcare exchanges.

Nurses May Face Challenges Finding Hospital Jobs

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Throughout the recession, nursing was a thriving career field sought after by students who were searching for a stable, long-term opportunity. However, nurses may have a harder time coming across hospital jobs in today’s job market, as many major hospitals across the country are cutting tens of thousands of jobs.

Nurse in hospital

As the number of hospital admissions declines, many hospital chains are receiving lower reimbursements from the government, as well as insurance companies. Nevertheless, although many hospital jobs are being eliminated, other opportunities for nurses and other healthcare workers are opening up in other places, ranging from outpatient clinics to rehabilitation centers. Although these jobs offer slightly less pay than what nurses typically expect, these settings are fueling growth for the field of nursing, according to healthcare experts.

Nurses and students who had hoped to work in a hospital setting are now contemplating their future. In the past, finding a hospital job after college never used to be an issue for nursing students. Nursing students used to receive several job offers before they even completed their degree, and hospitals would constantly be on the hunt to fill plenty of nursing positions.

Nevertheless, patient admissions and overall revenue continues to decline. As a result, many hospitals say that they are forced to cut down on jobs, consolidate labs, and even abandon some programs. Meanwhile, nursing jobs are still plentiful in other settings, such as patient homes and walk-in clinics. Furthermore, the nursing industry is experiencing a shift from high-acuity care, which involves specialized staffing and pricey equipment to treat seriously ill patients, to lower-acuity care, which requires less intensive treatments.

Despite nurses’ concerns about their future, many continue to work in hospital settings. Currently, about 60 percent of the country’s 2.7 million registered nurses are employed by hospitals. However, unlike past years, national experts say that nurses should not just assume that they will receive several job offers.

Luckily, there is still good news for nursing employment. According to a news release issued last week by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nursing students who obtain a bachelor’s degree are much more likely to receive job offers upon graduation than the national average among all other professions. Hospital staffing may be slow at present, but the industry expects a wave of retirements in the near future. Not to mention, nurse staffing ratio laws and the Affordable Care Act may boost demand for nurse staffing.

PRN Funding is dedicated to helping nurse staffing agencies grow through accounts receivable factoring. We work with start-ups and seasoned healthcare staffing companies to provide a steady source of working capital for payroll and other expenses.   Cash flow challenges are common in the staffing industry due to slow paying clients and periods of rapid growth. Don’t let lack of working capital slow your business. Contact us today to learn more about factoring for nurse staffing agencies.

New Tool Designed to Improve Nurse Health and Wellness

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Registered nurses are constantly providing quality care to help patients achieve optimal health and wellness. Now, with the help of a new appraisal form, RNs can accurately assess their own well-being to ensure they are performing at their healthiest condition.

Thanks to the recent development of the HealthyNurse Health Risk Appraisal by the American Nurses Association, RNs have the opportunity to compare their overall health and wellness to the rest of the U.S. population, as well as other nurses within various demographic categories. Additionally, this online appraisal even enables nurses to better assess potential risks in the workplace, ranging from workplace violence to lifting-related injuries.

In addition to this data-gathering tool, the appraisal is paired with a Web Wellness Portal. This interactive site encourages RNs and RN nursing students to gather valuable information and educational insights catering to their specific interests or workplace environment. Participants can collect information in a variety of areas, ranging from fitness and nutrition to stress management and health screenings.

All RNs are welcome to take this appraisal for free. The survey only takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete, and will continue to be a helpful tool to help enhance the nursing profession as a whole by determining trends and policy strategies within the industry.

SEIU Seeks Hospital Price and Salary Caps on West Coast

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

The Service Employees International Union has threatened to introduce ballot measures in California and Oregon in an effort to cap hospital prices and executive salaries.

SEIU officials filed petitions with the respective states’ attorneys general early in November to add ballot initiatives to the November 2014 general election. The California initiatives would cap executives’ salaries at $450,000 per year, equal to the salary of the President of the United States, and would limit hospitals’ ability to upcharge for services to 25 percent above cost. SEIU claims that current charges are approximately 320 percent above cost. Hospitals would also be required to report their costs and expenses and would face fines for improper billing statements or failure to disclose that information.

The initiatives are the same in Oregon, with different specific caps: executive pay would be capped at 15 times the salary of the lowest-paid hospital employee, and service prices would be capped at 30 percent above cost. In addition, the Oregon ballot measures would include a requirement for non-profit hospitals to spent at least five percent of their revenue on charity care or community health. Both states’ proposed measures include a requirement to publicize the actual cost of routine procedures.

While the SEIU claims that these measures would improve the quality of care and reduce healthcare costs, hospital officials argue that they would not adequately address healthcare costs but would instead cut revenue and negatively impact the quality of care provided. The SEIU has offered to withdraw the petitions in both states if hospital industry executives will work with them. Any such arrangement would possibly include a neutrality agreement that would allow the union to organize hospital employees without interference from the hospital.

The Supreme Court is currently reviewing the validity of such neutrality agreements, and they are set to decide whether they violate labor laws regulating the exchange of “thing(s) of value” between businesses and unions. In the meantime, hospital administrators and SEIU representatives will prepare to throw millions of dollars into a possible ballot battle.

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