I am willing to bet that you think like me on at least one thing. And, that thing is “life should be fair.” I remember being a child and thinking for the first time “that’s not fair.” For some reason, the idea that everything in life should be fair was planted in me at a very, very early age. What about you?
Fast forward to where we are today and there are still things that, we believe, can be determined in the spirit of fairness.
Major ones for our company are how we treat our customers and how we treat our team members. We want to treat everybody fairly; but, over the past two years, there are aspects of our business that have not been fair.
One very major area for our customers came with the advent of “crisis rates.” Many articles have been written about crisis rates. Recently, a group of U.S. Senators and Representatives asked for an investigation into allegations of overpricing by nurse staffing agencies during the pandemic. Hospitals nationwide have spoken out about the “unfairness” of the rates charged, the inability to compete with pay packages and the loss of their staff over the past two years.
Yet another example of what has happened involves a lawsuit between a hospital chain and a staffing agency as they sued one another over staffing issues. The hospital refused to pay their $40 million bill (wow!) because the rates were illegally inflated and asked the judge to keep the agency from pulling staff from its hospitals. The agency contended it couldn’t pay its bills until the hospital paid them.
As Fidelity On Call has watched what has happened with billing rates and pay rates, we have spoken many times about the word “fair.” We have counseled several of our customers to not increase their rates. They thought if they increased their rates, they would attract more nurses to work in their hospitals. But, when rates increase in one place, the next one just follows and we are on a wheel that never stops turning. Recently, while on a call with a vendor management company and their contracted hospital, we advised the same thing. The hospital thanked us.
We have been deeply concerned with what we have seen regarding rate increases in our industry. We have also alerted our nurses that what went up will come down. Or, at least, that is what we perceive will happen. And, we want our team members prepared.
Our recruiters are the best. They have never deviated from our mission for the best of patient care; however, hospitals are reporting that nurses (not from us – but other companies) don’t care about their patients. They are there only for the money. Once again, everybody needs to be fairly compensated, but when we reach a point where it is all about the money, something has gone terribly wrong.
As we move forward we will continue to work hard to make sure the scale of fairness is even on both sides. That means we will provide the best of care and be fair to both our hospitals and our great team of nurses.