Workforce Solutions

nurse figuring out workforce solutions

HealthTrust's centralized staffing solution reduces labor headaches.

Five years ago, Ben Bittner, vice president of human resources at HCA East Florida Division, had a recruiting challenge. Overseeing staffing issues at 13 hospitals throughout the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Miami area, Bittner observed that some of the hospitals were using a standardized model through an outside agency, while others were maintaining independent practices internally.

“We were really struggling as a division in managing our recruiting,” Bittner says. “So we asked, ‘How can we do a better job and maintain efficiency?’ The solution was we really needed to coordinate our efforts.”

Bittner was already working with HealthTrust Workforce Solutions℠ at about half of the East Florida Division hospitals. In fact, HealthTrust Workforce Solutions℠ grew out of All About Staffing, a healthcare staffing arm of HCA that originated at one of the East Florida division campuses. So when Bittner decided to look for answers, turning to HealthTrust was a no-brainer.

“Even though HealthTrust, at that point, wasn’t representing every hospital, we asked them to take the lead to coordinate a market-based approach to help us get through a very difficult period, which consisted of our ability to hire and fill vacancies,” Bittner says. “We made a decision to engage with HealthTrust as a single source vendor.”

“With labor being 60 percent of the expense line on a hospital’s profit-and-loss statement, hospitals are always looking for ways to save money and become more efficient.”
— Brendan Courtney, president and CEO, HealthTrust Workforce Solutions

Between 2010 and 2011 when the division-wide HealthTrust agreement went into effect, the East Florida division increased overall hiring by 28 percent for RNs, with net hires increasing by 36.7 percent. From 2011 to 2012, the division saw a 16.5 percent increase in overall RN hiring, with net hires increasing by 15.6 percent in the same period.

“There were a lot of advantages in going with HealthTrust,” Bittner says. “They knew our operations and knew what we were looking for in terms of staffing. We went from 13 hospitals doing their own staffing to one centralized effort. It was a seamless transition.”

Replicating the Success Nationwide

The decision continues to have positive ripple effects.

“Net hires are continuing to climb; gross hires are continuing to rise,” Bittner says.  “We’re keeping more than we’re losing.”

Replicating East Florida’s success story throughout the country is one of the goals of Workforce Solutions’ executive team, led by President and CEO Brendan Courtney, who came on board in February 2013.

“With labor being 60 percent of the expense line on a hospital’s profit-and-loss statement, hospitals are always looking for ways to save money and become more efficient,” Courtney says.

Workforce Solutions, an offering of HealthTrust, provides strategic healthcare staffing and recruiting solutions to improve patient care and enhance operational performance with leading technology and services. The goal is to assist healthcare providers in reducing the use and cost of contract labor and the need for premium pay, increase operational efficiencies and improve employee satisfaction.

“There were a lot of advantages in going with HealthTrust. We went from 13 hospitals doing their own staffing to one centralized effort. It was a seamless transition.”
— Ben Bittner, vice president of human resources, HCA East Florida Division

Many in the industry agree that staffing challenges within the healthcare sector have never been as acute as the present time, with ongoing political and cultural changes continuing to affect how hospitals recruit and retain nurses, physicians and support staff. 

Expanding the Reach

Another goal, according to Courtney, is to expand HealthTrust’s reach into non-HCA markets.

“There’s no other company in North America that provides as many end-to-end services as HealthTrust,” he says. “Our goal is to take all those best practices and service offerings to more of the non-HCA healthcare community. As we’ve taken these practices to other hospitals, they’ve been very well-received. Every month we’re expanding our awareness and getting new customers.”

For more information on clinical staffing and recruiting services, innovative scheduling and productivity technologies from HealthTrust Workforce Solutions, visit http://healthtrustpg.com/workforce/ .