Healthcare labor woes? Workflow automation provides a solution

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On “There are hundreds of years of experience in behavioral health in this room.”

As a sponsor of the Florida Behavioral Health Admin Forum, Paubox was eager to share our suite of solutions with the leaders in attendance. After hours of conversations with existing customers, it became clear that workflow automation can solve their most significant pain points: budgetary and staffing issues in the healthcare industry.

We introduced this idea to information technology specialists on the first day of the event. Next, we shared our hypothesis with human resources and finance executives on day two. Finally, we listened in on a lecture regarding labor law updates that could further challenge behavioral health.

The Admin Forum concluded with a hot breakfast and an AMA session on labor law questions, hosted by sponsor Theresa Gallion. Attendees agreed she is “the best teacher when it comes to employment law.” And, Ms. Gallion devotes a third of her legal practice to training human resources professionals. She covered a range of hot topics, from the Stop Woke Act in Florida to medical marijuana in the workplace.

Gallion captivated the crowd with solid advice regarding navigating changes in labor law. As participants pointed out in their questions, businesses face revenue challenges, which are directly related to employee headcount.

Ms. Gallion pointed out that there were “hundreds of years of experience in behavioral health” represented by the folks in attendance. While many people sought her expertise, solutions were crowdsourced from colleagues in the room. Paubox offers similar discussion opportunitie with our monthly social mixers. It was great to see the community come together to support each other.

Florida Behavioral Health Association Pop up banner in hotel lobby with a group of people in the background
A group of CIOs chat at the FBHA Admin Forum.

Lack of funding contributes to healthcare labor woes

Many of the questions Ms. Gallion fielded over the three-hour session were related to cutting human resource costs. Attendees are having trouble recruiting and retaining talent. State-sponsored agencies do not have the cash flow to compete with private practice. A few people asked about transitioning full-time employees to independent contractors, and Gallion cautioned against it. An independent contractor must be free to accept contracts at more than one organization, but most agencies need individuals to commit 40 hours each week to their business. One participant mentioned they had transitioned to a part-time model. Fortunately, this approach allowed them to have a higher headcount at a lower annual cost per employee, and their bottom line improved as a result.

Gallion acknowledged that Florida underfunds behavioral health. Florida’s per capita expenditure for mental health is $36.05, ranking 48th country wide. The Florida Policy Institute states that roughly 633,000 adults and 113,000 youth had unmet mental health needs before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Tragically, those numbers have risen two years into the global health crisis.

Funding for mental health in Florida comes from “non-recurring” general revenue. Subsequently, providers have to justify their budgets to legislators each year. The Orlando Sentinel reported in February that Florida was missing out on $128 million in potential funding through the American Rescue Plan Act. That money could have made a big difference for agencies and the populations they serve.

Minimum salary requirements may be changing

The federal minimum salary requirement may increase, making things worse for employers. The lack of leadership in Washington has been evident since the Senate rejected Wage and Hour nominee David Weil, who previously held the division director position at the Department of Labor under the Obama administration. The proposed salary threshold increase was $47,000 at that time. During the Trump Administration, the minimum salary requirement remained at $35,568 and remains there. Gallion advised organizations to start preparing for the increase, as Biden may seek to implement it.

 

Group of people in business casual attire with drinks in hand mingle at the hotel bar
After meetings, technology experts enjoy in-person camaraderie at our Pau hana in Orlando.

Workflow automation can help solve healthcare labor woes

The healthcare industry protected Americans during COVID-19 and continues to do so daily. However, staff burnout is common after so much heroic effort. Consequently, thousands of people have left the industry. In the behavioral health field, agencies struggle to fill the gaps in headcount while maintaining their financial viability.

Paubox envisions workflow automation as one solution for staffing shortages. Much of the day-to-day work that leads to staff burnout is administrative, manual, and repetitive–the kind of work that takes employees away from what they love: serving and caring for patients. On the other hand, automation can eliminate much of that repetitive work, and it operates tirelessly.Vacation days are not necessary. Luckily, bots don’t ask for benefits and are not affected by federal salary requirements. There is no chance they will not pay taxes and leave the agency on the hook for the bill.

Automation reduces the risk of human error and frees employees up to focus on more interesting and important work. Reach out to your account manager to learn more about how we can help solve your staffing frustrations today.

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Aja Anderson

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