Northside Medical Center Nurses Stage One-Day Strike

After working for more than a year without a labor contract, members of the Ohio Nurses Association/Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association staged a one-day nursing strike at the Northside Medical Center yesterday. The strike, which went from 7 am to 7 pm, follows allegations earlier this year by the O.N.A. that the hospital is not bargaining in good faith with their nurses.

Meanwhile, Northside has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board claiming that the O.N.A. violated the NLRB’s regulation of strike notifications by issuing “three separate, conflicting and confusing notifications” of their intent to strike:

• The initial notice, that stated a strike would begin at 8 am October 24th
• An amendment stating the strike would begin at 8 am September 24th
• A final amendment changing the start time to 7 am September 24th

In addition, the hospital argues that amendments extending the strike must be agreed upon by both parties in writing and contends that they did not do so.

If the NLRB finds in Northside’s favor, the nurses who participated in yesterday’s strike will be subject to termination for violation of the notification regulation.

To cover the staffing gap, ValleyCare Ohio Health System – Northside’s parent company – brought in temporary nurses from a local staffing agency to work with non-union hospital staff and those who chose to cross the picket line. Temporary nurse staffing allows hospitals to continue providing high-quality care to their patients and maintain a safe ratio of nurses to patients despite internal issues.

Nurse staffing factoring can prepare agencies for these requests, as well as ongoing contracts with facilities, by providing them with immediate cash to hire skilled professionals to fill these positions as needed. PRN Funding’s factoring program can be customized to fit temporary nurse staffing agencies of all sizes.

Learn more about temporary nurse staffing factoring and let us help your agency succeed.

Captricity Seeks to Further Enhance EHR

Berkeley-based startup Captricity is looking to capitalize on the ACA-mandated transition to electronic health records (EHR).

Captricity, helmed by CEO Kuang Chen, is a “crowd-guided machine learning and computer vision platform” designed to convert records of all formats into easy-to-use digital records that can be imported into a variety of systems for internal use.

The system utilizes a “shredding” process in which uploaded records are divided into minute pieces of data and converted using a special set of algorithms and, when necessary, human entry. The process allows Captricity to comply with federal privacy standards, including HIPAA compliance. The converted data is then reassembled into a secure digital record that the subscriber can download or import as needed.

In addition to basic Latin characters, Captricity is capable of converting any non-Latin based languages that can be entered into a computer. The company also offers 24/7 access from anywhere in the world, via cloud-based platforms such as Dropbox as well as mobile applications currently available for iOS devices. Much like mobile check deposit (and protected by the same levels of encryption), Captricity allows mobile users to upload photos of documents for conversion.

Subscription to Captricity can allow backlogged health systems to quickly come into ACA compliance regarding EHR without sacrificing the integrity of the data or dedicating countless person-hours to manual conversion. Furthermore, Captricity can improve the accuracy of medical billing and coding by properly converting often illegible doctors’ notes in order to reduce the number of costly coding errors.

Captricity offers a pay-as-you-go service and graduated subscription services that increase the monthly page limit, length of data availability, and available features. Prices for paid subscription begin at $75/month.

Healthcare providers and medical billing and coding companies can greatly benefit from services like Captricity, but may lack the cash flow to make an upfront investment in the service. Medical billing and medical coding factoring offer access to immediate cash that these companies can then use to ease the transition to EHR in their own firms. PRN Funding has more than a decade of experience with medical coding and medical billing factoring programs, and can help your company get started today.

Temp Nurse Staffing Agency Settles Wage Claims

A temp staffing agency for nurses, U.S. Nursing Corp. agreed to pay $1.77 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by California employees.

More than 2,500 nurses were involved in the suit that alleged the nursing staffing agency violated California labor law by taking out 30-minute meal breaks from its nurses’ time sheets. The break time was deducted whether or not the nurses took a break or recorded a break on their time sheets. The suit also claimed the staffing company paid nurses weekly instead of daily, and failed to pay them for travel time. The California Labor Code requires the nurses to be paid daily.

U.S. Nursing admitted no liability. The affected nurses received an average settlement award of $645 each. The staffing company must also pay $15,000 to the California Labor and Workforce Agency and $77,000 in back payroll taxes.

2014: Expect a Busy Year for Healthcare Staffing Agencies

Thanks to a slowly improving economy and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act on the horizon, those in the healthcare staffing world need to be prepare their recruiting strategies.

Healthcare workers, especially physicians, nurses and clinical staff, are growing more confident about their job prospects and may be seeking more lucrative employment offers. The physician shortage will undoubtedly make it tough on the healthcare staffing industry as well.

In order to meet medical staffing demands, certain states are allowing APRNs, physician assistants and other mid-level healthcare providers to step in. Giving mid-level providers more freedom and responsibility will help off-set the physician shortage and open up more career opportunities.

Although healthcare hiring appeared to be slowing in July, medical staffing should prepare for a fast rebound in 2014. Make sure your staffing agency is ready to handle the demand. Discover the ways healthcare staffing factoring can ensure your cash flow remains stable despite rapid growth. PRN Funding has spent more than a decade in the healthcare services industry, and we can design an accounts receivable factoring program specifically for your staffing firm.

Learn more about accounts receivable factoring for healthcare staffing agencies.

Cash Flow Strategies for the Medical Transcription Industry

Medical transcription service organizations (MTSOs) rely on cash, and for many smaller sized MTSOs, a strong cash flow is crucial for survival. Anything that has a negative impact on cash flow can break a MTSO; learning to recognize threats to your business’s cash flow and how to navigate them can be the difference between your business failing or surviving.

“It’s the nature of healthcare. [Hospitals] have to carefully manage cash flow in order to make sure they can cover their obligations. Revenues are constantly being squeezed, so one way to manage that is to pay vendors slowly,” said Philip Cohen, founder of healthcare factoring firm PRN Funding, who observes that it’s not uncommon to see net 90-day payment conditions. “Any well-run business can manage a slow-pay situation as long as they understand it going into the relationship. Where MTSOs get themselves into trouble is when they expect to get paid in 30 days and instead get paid in 90.”

Getting a credit report on any potential client before signing a commitment is the best way to get an accurate reading on the client’s payment history as you’re about to effectively lend them money.

Problems in cash flow arise when the MTSO fails to account for float time between gaining a new client and receiving the first payment. MTSOs usually pay medical transcriptionists and other personnel biweekly but bill clients monthly, which means the amount of cash coming in isn’t timed well with the amount of cash the MTSO is expected to pay out on a shorter timeline.

For some MTSOs, medical transcription factoring is a viable option that can help improve cash flow, relieve the pressure of scrambling to free up capital to pay employees, and let you focus on you’re the growth and success of your business.

Read the entire article to here for more ways that MTSOs can maintain a healthy cash flow.

Obamacare Greatly Boosting Areas of Healthcare Staffing

Obamacare has been receiving plenty of criticism due to accusations that the health care law will hurt employees by eliminating positions or reducing hours to part-time. While the actual effects are still relatively unknown, staffing recruiters and HR professionals are confident that Obamacare will help drive job growth in certain areas.

Since PRN Funding works with numerous healthcare staffing companies, let’s take a look at the positions that are prepping for fast growth in the healthcare realm.

1. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants
Due to an increased demand for routine checkups and preventative medicine, physician services are set to increase at least 2 to 3 percent by next year. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants can perform similar services for the fraction of the cost of a doctor. Not to mention, general physicians are still in short supply and take much longer to enter the workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the demand for PA’s will swell by 30 percent and staffing for registered nurses will increase 26 percent by 2020.

2. Medical billing coders
Healthcare IT staffing will be huge. Combine the requirements for healthcare facilities to transition to electronic health records and comply with a new medical coding system (ICD-10) with millions of newly insured patients and you have a recipe for lots of jobs to fill.

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) will include a staggering 69,000 diagnostic codes and physicians will be required to submit claims with the new codes starting Oct. 1, 2014 if they want to get paid. Lots of healthcare IT staffing will be necessary to build these codes into the electronic health records software. According to Staffing Industry Analysts, medical coding is one of the hottest jobs right now.

3. Occupational therapists
Occupational therapists make appropriate modifications to the homes and workplaces of the disabled to accommodate their mobility needs. Since Obamacare prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage, more disabled people will be able to take advantage of health insurance coverage. The BLS forecasts a 43 percent spike in occupational therapy employment by 2020.

4. Wellness and fitness coaching
The need for health education specialists is expected to rise by 37 percent in 2020, according to the BLS. Many employers will want to encourage healthy lifestyles, so the demand for workplace wellness programs will skyrocket.

Aside from healthcare staffing, Obamacare is also expected to help spur career growth for payroll service providers, computer programmers, lawyers, insurance consultants, customer service reps and human resources professionals.

5 Tips for Choosing a Medical Staffing Agency

Medical staffing agencies can be a great way to help you expand your job opportunities as hospitals and other healthcare institutions tap talent to fill in for permanent employees, which can potentially lead to a more permanent career for you. By hiring from a reputable medical staffing agency, the employer is assured that they meet the necessary qualifications, which means you picking the right medical staffing agency to sign up with crucial. Here are some tips on choosing the right medical staffing agency for you:
1. Do your research and look into a variety of agencies. You can actually register with more than one agency and you may find you prefer one over the other and decide to remain with them after trying out a few different ones.

2. Don’t feel pressured. There’s no need to sign a contract right away or feel pressured to take a specific assignment either. Wait for the right staffing company and job, rather than settling for one you won’t be happy with, even short-term.

3. Find out how often the agency gets jobs opportunities. There’s no point in signing with a medical staffing agency that won’t open doors for you because they don’t receive many job openings. Be sure the agency receives ample assignments, and find out how many are in your field.

4. Meet the people working for the agency. Since those employed by the staffing agency will be the ones helping you through the process of finding temporary medical staffing employment, they should have a clear understanding of the position you’re looking for. If they don’t, you won’t be happy with the results.

5. Choose an agency that has your best interests in mind. The best medical staffing agencies will look out for you, provide support and understand what sort of jobs are the right fit for you. If they aren’t willing to do so, they aren’t an agency worth sticking with.

Nursing Makes CareerBuilder’s List of Hardest-to-Fill Jobs

Even though the job market has been less than stellar, a new study from CareerBuilder found that 35 percent of hiring managers have positions that sat unfilled for over 12 weeks. Jobs in health care, sales and technology are the hardest to fill according to their online survey of more than 2,000 hiring managers.

The hardest to fill jobs (in order of jobs added between 2010 -2013) include:

Sales representative

Machine operator/Assembler/Production


Truck Driver

Software Developer


Marketing professional



IT manager/Network administrator

Each of these hard-to-fill positions are experiencing positive job growth.

Demand for Medical Coding is High, While Supply of Coders is Low

With so many clinical and regulatory initiatives in limbo, numerous hospitals that are already operating with thin-stretched staffing are finding their resources being further taxed. While the demand for quality medical coding healthcare professionals is high and getting higher, the supply of these individuals is at historic lows. Some professionals in the coding industry believe the challenges and obstacles created by this medical coding staffing strain will be one of the worst healthcare has faced in around 10 years.

Health Information Management (HIM) departments are also affected by these challenges and for years, they’ve operated under an ever-worsening scarcity of qualified medical coders, a situation which will be exacerbated by looming changes to the industry. Though no one can project how widespread the shortage will be, some expect nationwide medical coder deficiencies as high as 30 to 50% as soon as later this year.

Medical coders typically review patient information for preexisting conditions, like diabetes, and also retrieve patient records for medical personnel and act as a liaison between the health clinician and billing offices.

One of the upcoming changes in the healthcare world is the expanding elderly population that will need more healthcare services and extensive care, which will increase the demand for trained medical coding workers. A second change is that the medical coding industry will lose many qualified professionals due to retirement over the next decade because of an aging medical coder workforce whose average age is currently projected at 54. Further aggravating the situation is the shifting environment in which coders are working, characterized by shorter days to bill, the ICD-10 transition, and other regulatory enterprises.

Unless the healthcare industry can draw the interest of a younger workforce, this combination of factors indicates that hospitals will face an uphill resource battle to uphold high levels of medical coding quality and acquiescence.

Hospital HIM departments are in a rare position to lessen the impact of the degenerating coder shortage. They have the ability to train internal medical transcriptionists, of which there is now an excess with technological advances in the field, to be medical coders. The change to coder is possible for many medical transcriptionists and is a win-win for hospitals looking to streamline costs without firing staff and for transcriptionists looking for job security. Medical transcriptionists trained in coding make themselves more valuable asset to their organization as they can be tapped to manage fluxes in volume and planned or unplanned staff deficiencies. However, it is the hospitals that ultimately must decide whether they want to spend resources and energy finding new coders or leverage the skills of good employees who are already associated with the organization.

Since faster than average growth is predicted in the medical coding field through 2020, it’s a good idea to be sure you’re prepared to handle any sudden growth spurts in business. Learn more about PRN’s medical coding factoring programs and how they can help manage cash flow with zero debt.

Medical Transcriptionists Face Dictation Challenges

For years, physicians have been dictating their patient reports while medical transcriptionists have been trying to figure out what they’re saying. A recent article in For the Record discusses how technology such as electronic health records (EHRs) and speech recognition are turning these transcription challenges into serious downstream problems and what can be done to fix it.

Various habits and practices cause poor dictation, and even articulate dictators can sometimes fall victim to one or more of them. The propensity to multitask also can undermine the quality of the dictation. Physicians may eat or yawn while talking. They may be trying to speak on a speakerphone while driving in the car with the windows down. Oftentimes, dictation is done with others in the room so the medical transcriptionist must decipher one voice among four others in the background.

Unfortunately, the more physicians in a health system, the broader the range of poor dictation excuses. Melissa Campion, RHIA, CHDA, CHPS, CMT, an eHIM senior systems analyst for transcription at a big integrated health system in Melbourne, Florida, says that foreign accents, which many would assume to be an issue for transcriptionists, aren’t always a challenge. “The accents are actually easier to deal with because most of the doctors with a heavy accent are aware of it and try harder to make it clear,” Campion says, adding that her team has more difficult with dictation from physicians from the Deep South who may be oblivious of how their accents come through in the reports.

However, poor dictation isn’t really about accents, background noise, or speech patterns. Manager of transcription services at Lancaster General Health in Pennsylvania Kathy Lengel says communicating correct and complete data in an effective manner also can notably influence the quality and timeliness of the final report. “Poor dictators are very inconsistent in the format they use,” she states. “They don’t provide good patient information, and some of our poor dictators enter no patient demographic information. They jump all over the place. They have no rhyme or reason to how they’re dictating.”

The safety and quality of patient care are the main concerns when dictation challenges arise as they affect the timeliness and accuracy of the report. Treatment decisions are based on information in a patient’s chart so accuracy is of utmost importance as incorrect dosages could be disastrous or fatal. Many organizations refuse to fill something in if they aren’t 100 percent sure. The uncertainty impacts turnaround time and often requires reports being sent to the hospital to be manually fixed.

Being a good dictator takes several qualities, including being cognizant of the fact that someone on the other end has to be able to make sense of what you’re saying.

Medical transcription service organizations (MTSOs) may want to contemplate including contract language that tackles dictation problems. Medical transcriptionists are paid on a production basis, so having to struggle with poor dictation hampers their income potential. MTSOs may want to consider charging more if physicians are poor dictators and unwilling to improve the quality of communication.