Vaccine Mandates, Burnout Challenge Health Care Workers

AKASA, a developer of AI for health care operations, released findings from a new survey where health care finance leaders ranked the biggest challenges in recruiting and retention within the revenue cycle as health care organizations navigate staffing gaps across the board.

The survey of more than 400 health care financial leaders ranked the following as the biggest challenge impacting operations:

  • #1: Competitive market for talent (71 percent)
  • #2: Vaccine mandates (42 percent)
  • #3: Employee burnout (41 percent)
  • #4: Rapid employee turnover (40 percent)
  • #5: Limitations to offer remote work (23 percent)

“The back office of health care is essential to keeping the doors of hospitals open by making sure the bills are paid,” said Malinka Walaliyadde, co-founder and CEO of AKASA. “Yet, these teams are facing labor shortages like never before. COVID-19 has stretched hospitals and health care systems beyond the breaking point. And for all the new problems the pandemic has introduced, it has also shone a light on decades-old issues, where health care operations teams have historically been understaffed. To tackle these challenges, leaders should continue to evolve strategies that boost morale and recruitment efforts, and examine opportunities to leverage AI to alleviate the burden on their teams.”

Staff churn and the onslaught of COVID have resulted in health care professionals working overtime and extra shifts. Beyond burnout, this is putting added financial strain on health care systems, as overtime pay is often higher than standard pay and further taxes the already-depleted resources of many revenue cycle departments. Added financial strain makes it more difficult to hire the additional people who are needed, which furthers the workload of the current team – creating a vicious cycle.

With the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the health care worker vaccine mandate, some health care leaders may find it more difficult to find new talent or retain current staff who have been resistant to complying with the requirements – especially in states which have been lax on enforcing COVID-19 restrictions.

As remote work increases and becomes the norm, hospitals and health care organizations are now competing with other providers across the country for the same talent. If a revenue cycle specialist is working at a local provider and making $14 an hour — but can remotely work for a larger health care provider in another state for $16 an hour — they have little reason to stay put.

This also puts smaller systems and more rural ones (who often have lower pay scales) at an extreme disadvantage. Individuals are also leaving jobs for lateral moves, with the same pay, if it means they can work remotely.

AKASA helps leaders understand the changing dynamics impacting the revenue cycle, offering strategies and insights from experts and solutions to transform health care operations in this environment. To learn more, download our new report, “No Resignation: Solving Today’s Greatest Staffing Challenges in the Healthcare Revenue Cycle.”