In a reversal from last year when health systems were laying off and furloughing employees by the hundreds, about 40% of facilities now say they are accelerating their hiring processes to meet surging demand, according to a new survey.
In addition to those reporting accelerated hiring, about 36% are conducting normal hiring processes, the survey by global professional services firm Aon shows. It polled 150 health systems, representing over 1,150 hospitals and more than 2.4 million employees.
The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly worsened the existing healthcare worker shortage. As a result, health systems are scrambling to ramp up recruitment, even offering sizeable sign-on bonuses in some cases.
The Aon survey shows that a majority of organizations (93%) are focused on both attracting top talent and retaining them through enhanced benefits packages.
For example, as more organizations employ physicians directly, health systems are taking more integrated approaches to health plan network design and accountability for outcomes, the survey shows. In fact, about 66% of respondents said they are participating in a value-based contract with a payer.
At the same time, employee health plan choices appear to be dwindling. Around 54% of respondents said they offer only one or two health plans. Just over half of the health plans reviewed in the survey offer three or more tiers of coverage: domestic (within the system), in-network and out-of-network.
But health systems are making a concerted effort to offer onsite or near-site health centers for their employees.
Of the 49% of respondents offering an onsite clinic of some kind to employees, 29% said they are offering a primary care practice, 25% are providing an occupational health clinic and 7% are offering clinics for behavioral health.
Approximately 41% of onsite clinics are free for plan members, and 61% provide services for families of employees as well as for the employees themselves.
Employee wellbeing is also a priority for health systems, with 46% of respondents saying they offer a wellbeing incentive or requirement. These incentives range from non-cash options such as employee recognition, days off, fitness wearables and hospital swag to financial incentives.
About 74% of respondents said they offer annual financial incentives for wellbeing programs totaling $100 to $1,000 a year.
Overall, 87% of respondents track engagement in their wellbeing programs, of which 44% said engagement is high or very high. But that still leaves about 56% ranking engagement either moderate, low or very low.
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