Payroll, Workforce Management Software Keep Salaries and Overtime In Check

Tara Heiser

The shift to a value-based purchasing model requires more efficient delivery of services to patients as well as reductions in unnecessary or avoidable expenditures. Healthcare organizations have strict standards to meet when seeking reimbursements for services or federal financial incentives, forcing leaders to reevaluate how money is spent across departments, and where cuts can be made to improve financial performance. Payroll software solutions help healthcare leaders keep track of money paid out to employees, and measure salary growth and overtime costs to pinpoint areas of wasteful spending.

Overtime costs are impacting the bottom line
When healthcare organizations experience reduced staffing levels or sharp increases in census, workers may find themselves staying at the hospital past their scheduled shift, racking up overtime hours in the process. While some overtime work is unavoidable, industry leaders encourage organizations to prevent overtime whenever possible, as the cost of paying workers to stay beyond their scheduled shift can add up over time.

According to national studies, over 50% of full-time nurses work overtime, averaging seven hours per nurse, per week1. For many hospitals, nurse overtime accounts for 7-10% of total hours worked2. Unmanaged overtime in the 10% range is costly, roughly $3 million for a 300 bed hospital. By reducing nurse overtime from 7.5% of total hours to 2.5%, this same hospital can save north of $1.2 million annually3.

Workforce management solutions can help managers keep better track of overtime hours to help determine what departments may need more regular staff or help from contingent staff to meet patient demands more effectively and reduce overtime hours.

Discrepancies in staff salaries
Healthcare organizations can leverage payroll and human resources software to monitor employee-related costs by comparing the salaries of workers on the same level to ensure biases are not impacting payouts. While healthcare leaders may not intentionally be paying workers inconsistently across departments or skill set, certain hiring habits may be overlooked and negatively impact profit margins.

The Medical Group Management Association’s report4 on healthcare compensation looking at 2013 data revealed inconsistencies in salary figures for CRNAs, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. CRNAs made $43,750 more in median compensation than nurse practitioners. The media salary for CRNAs was $ 154,214, $94,446 for physician assistants and $110,460 for nurse practitioners.

Similarly, data from the U.S. Census Bureau5 revealed male registered nurses are earning more money than their female counterparts despite the field historically being dominated by women. Since 1970, the percentage of male RNs has increased from 2.7 percent of total RN population to 9.6 percent in 2011. Now, 330,000 male RNs work alongside 3.2 million female RNs. The data showed male nurse salaries averaged $60,7000 per year, a 19 percent jump over the $51,100 average for female RNs.

Payroll solutions offer decision makers reporting capabilities to breakdown compensation practices by department and worker demographic to track activities and identify problem areas. When payroll solutions are fully optimized, healthcare organizations may find ways to free up capital for other areas of operations or to offer competitive salaries to incoming professionals when expanding facilities or services.

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1 Bae, Sung-Heui. “Nursing Overtime: Why, How Much, and Under What Working Conditions?” Nursing Economics, 30, no. 2 (March/April 2012): 60-71.

2 The Advisory Board Company. “Data and Analytics Nursing Productivity Benchmark Generator.” Accessed July 2, 2014. http://fac.advisory.com/2014_B_NUBI_BGFramework/Main/GetSession/?var=917910FF-D016-4149-BB43-DD6666801BC0

3 Sage Growth Partners Analysis.

4 http://www.mgma.com/Libraries/Assets/Store/Surveys/8743-2014-Key-Findings-Academic-Practice.pdf

5 https://www.census.gov/people/io/files/Men_in_Nursing_Occupations.pdf

 


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