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A severe shortage of skilled talent and competition in the health care industry is making the recruiting and retention of healthcare workers a top priority at hospitals across the nation. At the top of this list of skilled talent in short supply is registered nurses who have the most direct impact on patient outcomes and satisfaction. For providers who want to stay ahead of this crisis, a well-coordinated talent management strategy that includes an integrated talent management system with workforce planning and analytics is required.

Skilled labor shortages aside, hospitals are facing rising costs and increased scrutiny on patient outcomes that affect their reimbursements from the government’s Medicare program as well as public disclosure via the Internet about their CMS scores. These pressures are now forcing hospitals to compete not just for talent and skills, but also for patients.

CMS publishes participating hospitals’ HCAHPS results on the Hospital Compare website four times a year. The Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) links a portion of Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) hospitals’ payment from CMS to performance on a set of quality measures. Under the proposed IPPS rule, Medicare spending per beneficiary would account for 20 percent of a hospital’s VBP score, which is used to determine incentive payments starting Oct. 1, 2014. CMS scores can be directly correlated to the level of quality care delivered by nurses and staff that directly interface with patients and their families.

Research and published articles show that 60% of spend for most healthcare organizations is on payroll, compensation and labor costs. The fact is that healthcare services are delivered by people – which means that the single biggest cost factor in healthcare will continue to be labor and people efficiency – and resulting healthcare staff competency and training will drive patient satisfaction, provider reputation and Medicare reimbursements.

Hospitals should begin to address these challenges before the effects of labor shortages and new regulations start to impact their bottom line by developing talent management strategies using integrated talent management systems. Addressing these early-on will help them compete better by retaining their key talent, delivering better patient outcomes and reducing their cost for talent acquisition.

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