September 19, 2023

Embracing an Independent Workforce: Essential for Health Systems' Future

Podcast Rewind: Community Health Systems' Success with CareRev

A nurse walks alone down a hospital hall looking at a tablet.

With: Becker’s Healthcare and Joe Anzalone - Chief Strategy Officer at CareRev, Jon Stabbe - Director, Centralized Staffing & Flex Staffing Resources at Community Health Systems, and Hannah Patch - Manager, Integrated Flex Staffing Resources at Community Health Systems

In modern healthcare, independent workers play a pivotal role, offering strategic advantages like flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and specialized skills. As healthcare facilities adapt to this shift, they're crafting long-term sustainable workforce strategies in response to changing dynamics in work-life balance, family structures, and education.

During high-demand periods like flu season or the looming ‘tripledemic’ this year, independent workers prove invaluable, providing a cost-effective and scalable solution without long-term commitments or extra expenses. This evolving landscape emphasizes the importance of flexible work arrangements, enabling healthcare facilities to access a wider pool of qualified professionals. 

Implementing the Flexible Staffing Model

Successful implementation of a gig-type workforce has exceeded initial expectations, showcasing its viability and effectiveness. Since partnering with CareRev, Community Health Systems has grown their labor pool from 50 ‘gig workers’ to over 300. This model enables rapid adjustments based on current needs and gives Community Health Systems peace of mind that they can meet fluctuating patient demand with ease.

In a recent podcast episode, Joe Anzalone, Chief Strategy Officer at CareRev, joined Jon Stabbe, Director of Centralized Staffing & Flex Staffing Resources at Community Health Systems, and Hannah Patch, Manager of Integrated Flex Staffing Resources at Community Health Systems, to discuss their remarkable accomplishments with CareRev and how independent contractors have made a significant impact on the facility.

Unlock Strategies for Sustainable Healthcare

Moderator: It sounds like smart health systems are going to be incorporating more independent work into long-term workforce strategies. So Jon, how do these independent workers differ from travel contracts in terms of advantages that they offer? And then when we talk about real-life situations, like let’s say the last three years during a pandemic or a flu season, any situations that caused these higher patient demand periods, what’s the difference here with the independent workers?

Jon Stabbe: So, we at Community Health Systems have learned that this new type of flexible workforce is really an integral part of our staffing model. Over the past three years, contracted workforce such as travel nurses became extremely costly through the pandemic to a point where you could not afford to bring those folks on. Going back to the traditional staffing method wasn’t always possible with shortages of nurses and kind of a fight for talent.

Tapping into the independent workforce really allowed us to fill some of those gaps that we had in staffing and allowed us to flex up and flex down when we have surges or spikes like COVID-19.

We’re able to provide our folks PTO, which was so needed after a very long and hard three years, giving them that PTO to leave, recharge their batteries, and come back. As a result of all of this, we’ve learned that this type of workforce is so important, and we’ve actually devoted a good portion of our FTEs solely to independent workers so that we can leverage them and place them in that staffing model to really hit some of those staffing challenges that we face.

Hannah Patch: From a staffing perspective, and even with healthcare, we have such fluctuating needs, whether it’s an influx in ED needs or again, like you said, flu season or pandemic, staff that need to be out due to a COVID exposure or something like that – we can scale up or down our resources to ensure our patients are cared for without those long-term commitments that you have with travel and other contracted staff.

And the difference with CareRev is we can get them right away, whereas working with staffing agencies, it often requires weeks to source for candidates and onboard, and then it also requires those long-term commitments.

A Promising Future for Independent Workforce Models

Embracing independent workers in healthcare is not merely a trend; it's a strategic imperative. As demonstrated by Community Health Systems and other healthcare facilities across the nation, integrating this model leads to improved flexibility, efficiency, and patient care. With technology as an enabler, the healthcare industry is poised to forge a workforce strategy that is both sustainable and adaptable to the ever-evolving demands of healthcare.

Interested in exploring an independent workforce?

Learn how CareRev partners with hospitals