Epidemics and pandemics have been experienced by health officials for years, and one of the top concerns during each has been maintaining sufficient healthcare staff. A qualified nursing workforce is needed for a hospital to effectively respond to various public health emergencies. When a pandemic occurs, hospitals become high risk for inadequate staffing. In fact, all healthcare staffing is at risk during unprecedented times like these.
How Essential Healthcare Companies Survive Public Health Emergencies
Considering healthcare companies have employees in close daily contact, these professionals become high-risk when a contagious disease outbreak occurs. To negate these risks, healthcare companies need to consistently address what to do when a public health emergency is upon us. In order to create a plan for all public health emergencies, health care companies can work with third-party HR companies, like Brian Patten & Associates, to make sure:
- Workplace safety precautions are addressed
- A process is in place to limit the number of healthcare professionals from getting infected
- An open line of communication is mandated
- Healthcare staffing remains at a high
As a trusted third-party administrator (TPA), BPA assists with handling all enrollment processing, reporting, premium adjudication, billing, and other HR administration. Healthcare professionals need to take special precautions to ensure that employees, as well as patients, are protected. The CDC, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides information specific to high-risk healthcare workers.
Planning for Unknown Public Health Emergencies
When a real crisis develops, healthcare professionals must go through a process to develop an emergency plan that can promote collaboration, flexibility, and adaptability. The effects of any public health concern, epidemic, or pandemic raises many questions about the capacity of healthcare organizations to maintain staff and provide appropriate care. There are three essential steps in preparing for a public health emergency:
- Preparedness and communication
- Surveillance and detection
- Response and containment
Naturally, infection prevention and control is a concern in every facet of healthcare as organizations strive to keep their staff and patients healthy. The key in these situations is to ensure that employees remain healthy and that your health emergency plan is in play.
Prevent Healthcare Worker Infections
A key strategy in getting through any epidemic or pandemic is to keep the workforce as healthy as possible. To minimize the risk of exposure to viruses like SARS or COVID-19, the CDC advises healthcare personnel to follow infection prevention and control guidelines by using recommended personal protective equipment (PPE). Depending on the severity of the situation, healthcare professionals can take various actions, including:
- Sending any symptomatic employees home
- Quarantining any nurses, nursing aides, or doctors who have been exposed
- Limiting face-to-face meetings
The CDC has also identified several categories of individuals who are at exceptionally high risk for developing complications and should not be working in the healthcare field during a pandemic. They include pregnant women, individuals 65 years of age and older, and individuals with certain chronic health conditions.
Keeping Healthcare Workers on the Front Lines Informed
Dealing with illness in healthcare workplaces can be challenging under normal circumstances, but even more so during a pandemic. Without proper communication, healthcare professionals can become worried about their exposure to bacteria and viruses, and these worries can affect their productivity.
In any pandemic situation, infection prevention and control procedures are vital to protect healthcare workers and patients alike. Online education from reliable sources can provide easily accessible information to ensure all healthcare workers understand the necessary precautions and procedures. The CDC provides regular updates during any pandemic, further allowing people to understand the virus.
BPA Provides Benefit Enrollment & HR Solutions as Healthcare Companies’ Demands Surge
Pandemic preparedness plans must include strategies for expanding and adapting the healthcare team as demand surges and illness circulates among staff members. Brian Patten & Associates provides hiring healthcare professionals with open enrollment benefit services. We help companies of all sizes handle enrollment education and communication. We specialize in executing benefits strategies that facilitate direct engagement with the employees. We improve employee retention by providing benefit coaching, voluntary benefits, wellness solutions, and more. Brian Patten & Associates can have all paperwork and processes set up in a matter of days rather than months like other benefits administrators.
Brian Patten & Associates also provides HR solutions to healthcare companies. Eliminating the extra time that is needed to run a proper human resources department, we allow healthcare professionals to focus on what they do best – saving lives. BPA works closely with healthcare companies to find strategies to expand staffing in the event of a public health emergency. Due to the recent pandemic, BPA has transitioned to a call center for enrollments. We have available capacity to help with any clients during this unique time. Our call center support services provide all clients with:
- Their own dedicated 1-800 number for assistance in all BPA services
- BPA’s service of providing customized scripts, to guide employees through the benefit enrollment process
- Customizable IVR that can be accessed 24 hours
- Year-round support for the employees on any benefit questions (i.e. deductibles & networks)
- Custom programming to manage employee eligibility by classification or location
- Bi-lingual services (English & Spanish)
- Dedicated account executive– your single point of contact for the “Client” management team
- Assistants in any changes/cancellations
- Data analytics and call tracking that can be separated into sixteen (16) different metrics based on the consultant or client’s needs
Please feel free to reach out if we can be of service and we appreciate the partnership.