A good place to start is with a backend technology solution. The best platforms offer built-in independent care model infrastructure that helps navigate specific challenges and mitigate risk. At the same time, using technology solutions can reduce operating costs and help match service capacity with patient needs.
Modernizing Operations to Meet Internal & External Demands
Following are three ways technology-driven solutions can help you streamline both operational and compliance practices:
1. Prescreen Independent Caregivers
Posting vacancies on recruitment sites, manually reviewing each candidate, and evaluating qualifications is a cumbersome process that leaves many agencies struggling to move independent caregivers through this process and into the field. By implementing an automated prescreening process, organizations can leverage various compliance workflows according to certifications, locations, and a variety of other screening services to expedite the vetting process. This helps ensure that caregivers are compliant and qualified to provide services prior to allocating valued time and resources to move them to onboarding.
2. Navigate Negotiations
Treating independent caregivers as an extension of the agency rather than as a separate business entity can lead to costly compliance violations. Recording the negotiation process prevents exploitation of either entity and minimizes potential compliance issues. Leveraging software with an interactive negotiation platform provides a neutral landscape to digitally capture the negotiation interaction. If the negotiating parties establish a deal or contract using this type of solution, the agreement is documented with clearly established terms that are acceptable for each of the negotiating parties.
3. Establish an Audit Trail
Regulations, labor laws, litigation and audits are constantly in the media. As such, providers need to ensure the defensibility of their compliance strategies. Clear implementation of best practices and documentation of those practices are essential components to withstand regulatory scrutiny. Having a complete end-to-end audit trail tracking the entire independent caregiver interaction lifecycle can seem like an arduous process. But with caregiver management software, agencies can digitally track necessary interactions to provide supporting evidence of its compliance plan and limit vulnerabilities.
Overall, leveraging technology allows agencies to take a proactive approach. Additionally, implementing a tailored solution to ensure your best practices are consistently followed through custom-built workflows helps you work smarter, reduce risk, and streamline operations.
See it in Action with Mosaic
Read how a modern technology platform enabled Mosaic to migrate more than 600 host home independent caregivers across 36 agencies in 10 states into a new, automated system, allowing them to better respond, grow and succeed in home care.
*PHI: U.S. Home Care Workers
What’s the Impact?
A significant care gap is emerging. The greater demand for home care services, and a labor force that’s experiencing little growth is resulting in a short supply of caregivers to provide home care services. Furthermore, the matter of quality of care becomes more important than ever.
If that wasn’t enough, two additional factors are ramping up the demand for home caregivers:
- The Affordable Care Act (ACA)
In 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which put in place comprehensive health insurance reforms that put consumers back in charge of their health care. Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court declared the ACA constitutional, healthcare organizations have been scrambling to recreate their business models. Now that incentives are centered on keeping patients out of the hospital, rather than maintaining capacity, organizations are being forced to run much leaner, and much more cost effectively than ever before.
Furthermore, the ACA has caused a surge in the number of individuals and families seeking adequate healthcare coverage. While this has helped to provide health insurance to previously uninsured Americans, it has also emphasized the growing health care workforce shortage and created somewhat of an overburdened healthcare system.
- Minimum Wage Increase
At the start of 2017, minimum wages increased in 19 states, a shift that will lift pay for millions of individuals. According to the Economic Policy Institute, about 4.3 million low-wage workers across the nation are slated to receive a raise. Though the federal minimum is supposed to rise with inflation the last significant change was in 2009, when it was set at $7.25 an hour. Thus, the shortage of home health care workers is being blamed on wages that have driven some providers out of the industry. Take Wisconsin, for example:
A survey conducted by the Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations shows that 95 percent of individuals needing home health care have a hard time finding workers. The survey also showed that 1 in 5 people are thinking about moving out of their home and into a nursing facility because of the workforce crisis.
Alternative Ways to Cut Cost & Meet Demand
Many home health providers have begun to feel immense pressure to reduce operating costs, and as such, have turned to alternative staffing strategies and independent caregiver management software to reduce operating costs and match service capacity with patient needs.
- Remove the burdens of back-office administration and accelerate onboarding and processing related to pay with real-time verifications.
- Capture all contractual and compliance documentation in an automated, web-based environment with the ability to create custom enrollment workflows that can accommodate a variety of complex compliance requirements.
- Tracks back and forth communication in an audit trail, and captures the final negotiated rate safeguarding both parties from any ‘hearsay’ issues related to the agreement.
Additionally, as the workforce shortage continues to become more prominent, independent caregivers can offer home care organizations with supplemental resources. Not only will this provide additional support, but it will allow organizations to help ‘fill the gap’ in relation to the workforce shortage, and alleviate a great deal of the operational burdens faced by today’s providers.
Joint or Single Tax Return Just $179
Designed by tax specialists that understand the independent contractor model, our partner Equinox Business Solutions is extending a special discount for Openforce members. Regularly priced at $300, we’ve secured a special rate of $179 for preparing and filing a joint or single tax return. To learn more, an Equinox specialist is ready to help at 1 (800)-533-4230.
Whether it’s your tax filing, tax saving account, accounting or bookkeeping needs, the experts at Equinox will ensure your business takes advantage of all the government programs that are available to you.
This year Tax Day lands on Tuesday, April 18th. It’s generally a good idea to file as early as is practical, as early filing can result in a speedier refund. Filing early is also one of the best safeguards against fraudulent tax returns being filed in your name.
All 1099s were mailed on January 27th and are now available in the self-service portal.
Helpful Financial & Insurance Services
In addition to our tax-related discounts, Openforce also works with several financial and insurance service providers that offer our members the following helpful services:
- 401k Plan Administration
- Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)
- Retirement Planning
- Disability & Long-term Care
To access these helpful benefits and discounted programs, simply login to self-service portal, your all-in-one resource, and go to your Benefits Section.
There’s no time like the present to take advantage of these special discounts and services.
Good luck and happy filing!
With the ability to accommodate various levels of scheduling flexibility and locations, provide specialized skillsets and services, and reduce the costs of carriage, Independent Contractors allow modern trucking organizations to make the most efficient and productive use of their resources.
Along with the benefits of utilizing Independent Contractors come many of the same challenges that all trucking companies face in trying to retain their employee drivers. For both employee drivers and Independent Contractor drivers alike, a ‘revolving door’ of commitment and work for a carrier creates costs that erode profits, and can impact the quality of work done for shippers.
2 Key Reasons for High Turnover Rates
As experts in helping carriers contract the right way with their independent owner and drivers, Openforce has observed two major drivers behind turnover that carriers need to address:
- Quality of Carrier Relations
While there are clear rules that distinguish Independent Contractors from employee owned drivers, it can be challenging for carriers to understand the important differences in how they need to treat independent drivers compared to employed ones. The primary differences center on the fact that an Independent Contractor is a business, not simply an employed worker. As businesses, Independent Contractors are heavily reliant on efficient use of their time, prompt payment for their services, and interactions with carrier staff that are helpful, business-focused and solution-oriented. The most successful carriers have built focused carrier relations programs that rely on best of breed technology and support to ensure:
- Proper contracting of Independent Drivers.
- Proper clearance and safety ratings for Independent Drivers.
- The ability for Independent Drivers to negotiate rates, accept work, invoice for their services, and get paid in a timely manner.
- Problem-solving and logistics support to make sure loads are handled smoothly and on time.
- Safety and Efficiency
By nature, Independent Drivers are required to work with, and respond to industry needs for a flexible schedule. As a result, Independent Drivers rely heavily on the efficiencies of the carriers they work for. Carriers that can quickly manage the contracting process and get the driver on the road are the most highly prized by Independent Drivers. The best practice in the industry is to take advantage of web-based (paperless) onboarding systems that reduce the cycle times and errors in the contracting process. Yet, efficiency is not the only operational challenge to the retention of Independent Drivers. Safe working conditions in terminal, dock, warehouse, and load handling operations are critical to the successful engagement of Independent Drivers. As Independent Drivers must pay for their own insurances and bear the risk of lost wages from injury or damage to their equipment, they have a huge vested interest in working with carriers who formalize safety program management and create environments that minimize physical risk. Think of it this way—If two carriers post similar loads of equivalent duration and rate, the carrier that will get the driver is the one who does the most to protect the driver and his or her equipment to the greatest degree.
While turnover rates within the Independent Contractor community have historically been high, there are a few strategies that can be leveraged to help trucking companies minimize turnover, retain Independent Contractors for longer periods of time, and reduce operating expenses. The most important is that carriers realize and take advantage of technology and service programs that establish proper contracting relationships, ensure timely payment and enable the Independent Driver to operate safely and efficiently to get the job done.
What strategies has your company implemented to reduce your turnover?
- Openforce clients experience 30% less turnover than the industry as a whole.
- Click Here to learn more about how leading carriers have been successful in the face of driver turnover.