The day started out like any other typical Tuesday…alarm at 5:15, out the door to run 4 miles by 5:30 (a.m. that is), shower, get 3 boys dressed, then breakfast with the boys before off to work.
With my radar always on now…I got a yet another wake up call around 6:45 while getting my bowl of oatmeal to power me through the morning. What was it?
The local news was on (just to see the weather), and while I was waiting, I heard that a woman from NE Arkansas had contracted measles, and unknowingly infected up to 4 towns. Holy cow!
Now, if you are a therapist working with us in that area, then you are breathing a big sigh of relief…Why?
We’ll, Metropolitan Health Staffing Network has one of the most, if not the most, stringent vetting process of any contract therapist staffing agency or company I have experienced to date. Even facilities that run their JAHCO requirements past us do not require everything that we do. Pretty cool, huh?
One of the requirements is vaccinations. And for most therapists, especially older ones, this can be a challenge. Simply because they don’t keep track of Varicella, Hep B, and MMR. (FYI – in case you don’t know, Measles is part of MMR).
With only 1 in 10 people being vaccinated for Measles, the risk of outbreak here in NE Arkansas could be great. And deadly for those that aren’t vaccinated.
We won’t allow a therapist to work with us unless they meet all of these vaccination requirements, along with all of our other requirements. To see our full list, check out our previous blog post.
To learn more about this story, check out the local Memphis news story. Or just Google Arkansas measles case, and you’ll find it. I’m sure this story will continue to evolve as the department of health continues to investigate and attempts to control the situation.
“I could lose my license over that!”
I heard this statement once again this week, and quite frankly, it forces me to lose respect for those that say this. Why? Because those that fall back on this statement, simply don’t understand what it takes to loose their license. And secondly, most don’t take the necessary steps to protect their license.
Let me set the stage a bit for you, so that you can completely understand. First, I’m not a therapist myself. I’m an Athletic Trainer by trade, with a Masters in Exercise Science and quite a bit of experience in Industrial Rehabilitation, Ergonomics, and injury prevention. So I’ve worked in many situations that would make the typical PT “uncomfortable”, and I’m sure many of these situations put my license at risk.
I can also make these comments because I’ve worked with loads of PTs and OTs in my career, and this statement of “losing my license” is a crutch for what seems to be most therapists.
The particular situation this week was simply a matter of trying to get a speech therapist to complete her documentation. She did not understand the documentation…but instead of asking for clarification proactively, she went to the usual “I could lose my license over that!” statement. Which quite frankly, boils my blood.
It takes quite a bit to lose your license as a therapist, but most don’t realize that. Think about it…we all know therapists that are shady, unethical, provide horrible care, think only of themselves, fraudulent, etc. Don’t get me wrong – these aren’t the majority. But what they are, are still practicing therapists – which means they are licensed.
So what does it take to lose your license in Missouri as a physical, occupational, or speech therapist?
Well, if you Google that question, you won’t find an answer. And you wonder why therapists don’t know how to lose their license. You will find a complaint form on the Missouri Division of Professional Regulation website. But that’s all I could find…so I called the Missouri Division of Professional Regulation to get the answer straight from the horses mouth.
What did I discover?
Not much really, and the state actually seemed aggravated by the inquiry. No wonder therapists use this statement as a crutch and don’t really understand the process and risks. I was told the obvious, that each situation is taken on a case by case basis. “So, what’s the process?” I asked. First off, someone must file a complaint via the form found on the website. Then, the state board will investigate if the complaint is valid or not. Other than this, the only groundbreaking information I received was that I should look at all the rules and statutes for each profession: PT, OT, and SLP. Helpful, huh?
If this is the helpfulness and friendliness (or lack thereof) that someone with a valid complaint receives should they call the state, then I really have to wonder how well our state licensing protects those Missouri residents receiving physical, occupational, or speech therapy?
On the contrary, I did find a good synopsis and reminder from the state of Massachusettes entitled “10 ways to lose your license”. It’s a bit comical, but a very good reminder too on what not to do.
Now, there’s also a sure fire way to lose your license. How? Get named in a lawsuit, and not have your license protected. That’ll put your license at risk! Often times, your license will come under fire in the lawsuit…and if you’re relying on your employer’s professional liability policy to protect your license, you may want to think again. Most employer provided liability insurance policies DO NOT protect the individual therapists license. The only way I know of guaranteeing the protection of your license is to have your own individual professional liability insurance policy.
And you know what, most therapists don’t have their own policy. But yet they’ll easily say “I’ll lose my license” if they get uncomfortable in a situation. In fact, I know a PT that works in an outpatient setting, who even goes onsite to do some injury prevention at local manufacturers, as well as an occasional home health eval on the side. And guess what – he doesn’t have his own professional liability insurance, and he’s muttered those blood boiling words of “I could lose my license over that”. Even worse, he’s the bread winner and insurance provider for his family. We’ll then Einstein, you might want to protect your license (and thus your income, family, and future) with your own individual professional liability insurance policy.
If you don’t know where to start for your own professional liability insurance policy, try these two most common insurance companies:
Both have online applications and instantaneous coverage options. And the benefits significantly outweigh the minor cost of these annual policies. Why not start today?
How are you going to protect your Missouri Physical, Occupational, or Speech Therapy license today? Has your license or someone you knows been challenged? Share your story – I’m sure this stance does not agree with everyone, so please chime in here for everyone’s benefit.
Need Contract Therapist Staffing in Mid-Missouri? ? (Columbia, Jefferson City, Moberly, Mexico, Booneville, and more)
Client: Do you happen to have any contract therapists available in Columbia, Missouri?
Me: Absolutely! That’s where we started, and have quite the good market there.
Client: Really? I just talked with PEGs to see if they could get anyone out there. What are you doing to let people know that you guys are there?
Me: Primarily word of mouth and trade shows (until this blog post, of course).
Client: I’ll give the rehab director your number…she’ll call you.
This conversation, although it happened about a year ago, still resonates with me today. This was a client we have helped with temporary therapist staffing in other portions of Missouri…so why didn’t they think of us?
Quite frankly, the conversation got me pissed. At first, I was mad at the client – which lasted all of a few seconds – and then at myself, for not doing a better job of getting the word out regarding our contract therapist staffing abilities in Mid-Missouri.
Now that I look back, I’m thankful this conversation transpired, and even more grateful for the client’s honesty. Why? It made me realize how much more work I’ve got to do; more marketing, branding, and recruitment in what has always been, and still is, our best market.
Was I fearful of a competitor coming to the middle of Missouri and taking our business? Heck no. And for those matters, I’m going to list all of the contract therapist staffing companies that can service the Mid-Missouri area. I’m not talking about what seems to be the hundreds of different travel staffing companies, but temporary contract therapist staffing. Not every facility needs a PT, OT, or SLP for 40 hours a week for 13 weeks. J
- Agency ABC. ABC is a fictitious company. From everything I have heard from clients, therapists, and more, a temporary therapist staffing company did not exist in Mid Missouri until we arrived. Researching on Google proves the same. Crazy, isn’t it?
- Metropolitan Health Staffing Network. Yes, that’s us, and I don’t intend to brag. After all, the intent of this blog post is to list all of the temporary contract therapist staffing companies in the Mid-Missouri region. And we’ve been staffing temporary PTs, OTs, and SLPs in Mid-Missouri since we launched in 2010.
So there you go. I hope this helps you personally and professionally – whether you’re a therapist, or a facility in need…or the competition looking for a new market. ;) And BTW – I’ll update the post once I learn of any additional contract therapist staffing agencies in Mid Missouri.Do you know of any others?
It was October 2011, and of course, career fair time at the universities in Missouri. Early October is the Allied Health Career Fair at Mizzou – one of my absolute favorites for a myriad of reasons.
The students are well prepared, well dressed, and professional. The room is organized in such a fashion that crowds are minimized, which optimizes opportunities for conversations with the graduating students in physical, occupational, and speech therapy. The local community colleges attend also, so you also get a sprinkling of future PTAs and COTAs – and that’s super-cool too.
I get excited this time of year, because I get to meet fellow recruiters – those I’ve already met, and those I haven’t yet, but have formed a friendship online. I was particularly excited to see a good friend of mine from Rehab Choice. Not only have we developed a professional relationship, but we’ve also formed a friendship.
Well, my friend got me nervous the night of this particular career fair. She wanted to introduce me to our competition in Kansas City, MO where we were just cracking into that particular market. We certainly were not a part of the Kansas City market as long as Quantum Health Professionals was, so I was particularly nervous. And she wanted to introduce me to Troy Robert, the President. Did he know who we were? Would he be confrontational? Would I be confident enough?
It seems everyone knows Troy at these events for three reasons: blue jeans, cowboy boots, and candy. And I was nervous as, well, you know.
But Troy was as nice as could be, and professional, too. We talked work for a bit, and traded business cards…and now we’re connected on LinkedIn. Beyond that, we plan on meeting next time he is close to St. Louis. But of course, the night got busy and we went our separate ways.
But what does this have to do with Springfield, Missouri? Troy informed me that he was soon planning to enter that particular market. With the help of insurance companies, he had made enough contacts to justify the growth. So, why not?J
What other companies are in the Springfield Missouri region providing Temporary Contract Therapist Staffing services? Here goes:
- 1. Quantum Health Professionals. Based in Merriam, Kansas, Quantum has been staffing temporary therapists since 2002. Their model allows for as little as four hours, to as long as 13 weeks. Flexibility for the facility.
- 2. Metropolitan Health Staffing Network. (Yep, that’s us!) Based in Alton, IL, we’ve been staffing temporary therapists since 2010. But our experience and compassions have roots in 25-plus years of staffing temporary pharmacists with MetroRPh across 22 states, including Missouri and Illinois. Our model is 100 percent customized to the facility needs – no minimum number of hours, and of course no limits either.
There you have it. I don’t know of any other temporary therapist staffing agency that can service the Springfield, MO region (not including travel companies looking for 13 week agreements). I certainly haven’t come across another company in all my conversations with therapists and facilities in that region, though there are individual therapists working PRN, like everywhere else.
As always, when I learn of another agency providing these services, I’ll be happy to amend this blog post. Have I missed any that you are aware of?
I was on the phone this week with a client (facility) of ours discussing their upcoming temporary staffing needs as we approach the summer vacation months. And boy, did they have a lot!
The conversation was going along quite well when suddenly my contact on the other end of the phone started to go on a bit of a rant. I didn’t stop her, for those of you who are members yourselves, Toastmasters teaches you to be a better listener. And this was not the first time I’ve had either a client or therapist vent some frustrations to me over the phone. It makes for a longer conversation, but can also strengthen the relationship if you practice good listening skills and respond with more than a simple “uh, huh”.
This is not an attempt to pick on the client for such. In fact, I’m thrilled that she felt comfortable enough to divulge that information with me. She actually had a very good point. She was having to essentially double back and re-cover staffing that she had previously arranged with her own PRN therapist staff.
Now, this may not be a huge deal in the larger metropolitan areas of St. Louis or Kansas City, but, these locations were in some pretty rural areas of Missouri. So rural, that we are the only staffing company attempting, and sometimes able ;-), to assist companies with their needs. These locations can spread the full-time, part-time, and PRN staff very, very thin, causing lots of headache, stress, and consequently, burnout.
The point of her diatribe was pretty dead-on. The coverage she had previously arranged was no longer available. Why? The PRN staff she had these dates covered with had accepted jobs elsewhere, and basically said they couldn’t help anymore.
The problem with what these therapists did is that they have burned a bridge and their word can no longer be trusted by this facility. And the therapy community is really a small world – seems like nearly everyone knows everyone. So word will get around and these therapists that have reneged on their commitments, and they will inevitably someday suffer the consequences of their decision to not fulfill their commitments.
While that’s a pretty bold statement, it’s true. And I can speak on this, because I’ve experienced both ends of this conundrum. Look at my LinkedIn Profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/mulhollandjason and you’ll see that I’ve had several employers. And when changing jobs, I’ve had to be honest about prior responsibilities that were important that I keep. This is all done in the negotiations with your future or new employer. You definitely don’t want to spring this on your new employer on your first day, expecting them to honor your request. I can pretty much guarantee it won’t happen.
Of course, there’s the other side of the coin…and believe me, I’ve also experienced this from the employer’s perspective, both good and bad.
First, I’ll share the good… we often have therapists that accept home health cases or visits. It’s attractive for several reasons, but chief among them is the flexibility it provides. In this particular case, I received a phone call after the physical therapist’s initial evaluation, and she was uncertain whether she could continue the case. The home was filled with smoke, was filthy, and worst of all, there was a baby in that environment. After discussing the situation with the therapist and the agency many times over the next 24 hours after the evaluation, she decided to see the case through, only because the family was nice, and in her heart, she wanted to help the patient…not to mention that it was the right thing to do.
Here is the polar opposite of how to handle a job change if you are a PRN therapist: We had a PTA helping at a facility, and that facility was counting on them for three days a week on a consistent basis. Consistent work is the Holy Grail for most contract therapists. Let me preface this with what I always tell our therapists: if a situation is not right for you, we’ll make a change. All we ask is for the therapist to communicate the issues and afford us the opportunity to improve the situation in one form or another. This PTA made the decision to notify me the evening before what would be her last day – yes, THE. EVENING. BEFORE – just about 12 hours prior to the start of her last shift. That made for a lovely conversation with the facility on my end. But to compound things, the PTA didn’t mention to anyone she was working with that it was her last day, leaving the facility manager in shock and disappointment. If you don’t agree that her reputation is in ruins (along with ours), and that bridge with the facility burned to the ground, then please don’t contact me about PRN work.
I could go on and on about positive and negative handlings of PRN responsibilities and job changes. I’ve experienced both in my short time with Metropolitan Health Staffing Network. Thankfully, more positive than negative, but the latter are the ones that tend to stick with you.
Bottom line, if you commit to something, you should go through with it – at least that’s how my mom raised me J. Like I’ve said before, feel free to call me old fashioned, but this is the correct way to handle your responsibilities. Employers will respect, and most often, will honor your request to keep your previously established responsibilities.
What are your thoughts? A lot of factors can be involved, but there’s not really a gray area to live in here. This is a subject that you’ll likely agree or disagree with.
For the last couple of years, I have been learning rather quickly about the contract therapist staffing industry. Particularly, the temp therapist staffing we deal with here at Metropolitan Health Staffing Network. During this time, I’ve come across quite a few questions and comments regarding therapists, pricing, availability, and of course, “competition”.
Not being shy to mention who our competitors are, I thought I would help those out that search for the best contract therapist staffing companies in the St. Louis area. And when I say therapists, I do imply physical, occupational, and speech, as well as PTAs and COTAs.
- PEG Therapists.Founded in Columbia, MO and located currently in St. Louis, PEG has been around for over twenty years. Having been entrenched in the St. Louis Metro area for that long, PEG is the name I come across most often, especially in skilled nursing and hospital settings. Those loyal to PEG swear by their ability to help.
- Eclipse HealthCare. Based out of Tulsa, OK, this agency does have a staffing office in the St. Louis area. From second-hand information gathered over the years, it seems their primary presence in the St. Louis area is with home health agencies.
- Supplemental HealthCare. With their corporate office in Park City, UT, Supplemental also has a local office in St. Louis to meet the demands of nursing and allied health. Being a national company, Supplemental receives frequent mentions in my discussions with therapists and facilities in most therapist settings.
- Metropolitan Health Staffing Network. Headquartered in Alton, IL (just across the river from St. Louis), Metropolitan Health Staffing Network has been staffing therapists for just over two years. Experience and relationships not lacking though, as we are a branch of MetroRPh, a temporary pharmacist staffing company serving the St. Louis area for over 25 years.
So there are four companies to consider if you’re looking for contract therapist staffing in the St. Louis, Missouri region. No matter which company you choose, the quality of your experience will be based upon three things:
- Relationship with the staffing agency
- Quality of the therapists
- Availability of the therapists
Hopefully, your agency of choice will be able to deliver the highest level of quality with each of these, and your temporary staffing will be exceptional.
Last month, a therapist called the MetroHSN office and asked why she was “required to submit to these silly drug screens every single year”. This wasn’t the first therapist to express their frustration with the MetroHSN drug screening policy. The reasoning for our policy is very simple and straightforward, but perhaps we haven’t communicated it to our contract therapists in a clear and concise manner…and no, the answer isn’t that the office staff likes to run you around and take up your already scarce free time.Yearly screenings are for protection – yours as a therapist, MetroHSN’s as a contract service, the client agency’s for liability and vetting purposes and, most importantly, that of the patients and clients, who should always be our ultimate concern.
Your protection as a therapist is tops on our list of priorities. MetroHSN asks you to carry liability and auto insurance to protect your livelihood and your ability to travel. While a drug screen cannot provide you insurance, it can help provide you with assurance. Should one of your patients lose or misplace his prescription medication, you have the assurance that we have thoroughly checked out your background and have a clean drug screen on file for you. That isn’t to say that you can’t contract through MetroHSN if you screen positive for one of the prescription drugs on our list (of which there are many), but we do require that our contract physician review any positive results and consult you about any positive findings. MetroHSN does not require anything from the physician other than a “go” or “no go”.
If a therapist screens positive for illegal substances or does not have a prescription for a drug for which he or she has screened positive, MetroHSN cannot take on the potential liability of having said therapist contract through our service, nor can we reasonably expect the client sites to take on that liability themselves. Client sites that hire their own therapists usually conduct a drug screen upon hire, and as-needed thereafter; these drug screens cover the clients’ own particular regulatory obligations. However, the purpose of supplemental staffing for most clients varies and can be sporadic. Sometimes a client will need supplemental therapy staff for a day, a week, a month, or a year and then not again for a very long time. Clients need their regulatory and human resource requirements to be met no matter how long the gap between assignments. The client sites usually cannot, or will not, accept drug screens that are more than a year old. In many cases, the need is immediate and the client cannot wait 24 to 72 hours for a therapist to have a specimen collected and screened. Therefore, having a drug screen run on each therapist at least once a year helps MetroHSN provide relief/supplemental therapy staff to clients as quickly as possible.
Patients and families should be concerned first and foremost with actual therapy sessions and completing any independent exercises for the patient’s continued health and improvement. Clear-headed and competent professional care should be a given for patients and families. Annual drug screens are another way to give the people who matter most the peace of mind that comes with knowing they are being cared for by therapy professionals who are not working under the influence of illegal or recreational drugs.
In short, illegal substance abuse becomes a liability for the therapy professional, for MetroHSN, for any client, and ultimately for the patients who trust therapy professionals to help them. Annual drug screens give a measure of assurance for therapists by establishing a record of negative screens, which also provide vital pieces of vetting requirements for client site usage. In addition, patients and their families can be at ease regarding therapy professional drug use. While the drug screen takes a little bit of time out of a therapist’s busy schedule to complete, the benefits of having that clean screen on file far outweigh the temporary inconvenience.
May 30, 2012 – Autumn Kerrigan, Director of Support Services
Every company is constantly trying to improve…and we’re no exception, as we’re always looking to better the services we provide in staffing temp PTs, OTs, SLPs, PTAs, and COTAs. That’s not news. But something occurred to me the other day that I’d consider a no-brainer. Perhaps I missed it earlier because I’m so intertwined in the daily tasks of our company, but to just about everybody else, it’s a no-brainer.
The source of my great revelation was centered on our timesheets. We don’t have anything that explains their use and benefits to the rehabilitation facilities we service. That’s it…pretty simple. I’ve previously outlined our timesheets from the therapist perspective, but not for facilities.
The purpose of this post is to explain how our therapist’s timesheets work and to demonstrate how this benefits the facilities we service. So let’s get right to it.
How do our timesheets work?
Quite simply, like many others, our hourly timesheets require the therapist to record their start and stop time, date, facility, mileage, and drive time – all the basics.
We also utilize a timesheet geared specifically for the home health setting. Most of these opportunities are paid per visit instead of hourly and are a bit more detailed, including everything previously mentioned, but also types of submitted documentation and visit.
Both formats are simple, one page timesheets that are completed weekly by therapists working with us, and they are due to our office each Monday by noon so that we can begin the internal process of invoicing the facilities and paying the therapists.
How does this benefit the facilities?
On the surface, it may look like an extra piece of paper for a facility to process. A headache, if you will. However, once explained, facilities often agree on the benefits of this simple sheet of paper. Here’s how…
Each therapist must sign and date their timesheet, which again, is nothing groundbreaking. Then, the therapists submit their timesheet, along with all the necessary patient documentation, to the facility. Not exactly rocket science, but why? Here comes the cool part.
We also require the facility to sign and date the timesheet as well. This does several things:
1) It allows the facility the opportunity to ensure they have all of the documentation for the hours/visits completed by the therapist.
2) It allows the facility to verify that the hours/visits completed by the therapist are accurate and are 100% complete.
3) It allows the facility to contact us with any questions and concerns before they’re invoiced or the therapist is paid.
This is a very good system of checks and balances and probably one that is far better, simpler, and more cost effective than that of our government. It’s probably less corrupt,too. But let’s not get into politics. If we don’t have a timesheet signed by both the therapist and the facility, we start tracking it down to see what documentation is missing. It’s often hung up somewhere…the therapist had not submitted, or the facility is still processing. Easy to resolve.
We won’t pay our therapists without a timesheet signed by both the therapist and the facility. Why? Because those hours/visits have not been verified by the facility. So simple, yet so beneficial for the facilities.
Once facilities understand the simple checks and balances process of our timesheets, they often agree what a benefit it really is.
Do you agree? What system do you use to ensure your employees and contract staff are reporting accurate hours/visits and completing all necessary documentation?
It was 2004, and I was loving my work as an athletic trainer in Northwest Tennessee industrial clinic. To say we were busy would be an understatement as fifteen patients in an eight-plus hour day was the norm for each of us on staff. I was the constant face of the clinic, but it also included a full time PT, PTA, and OTR. We were young, energetic professionals, and humping it to take care of the injured workers!
Our timesheets were due weekly – on a Tuesday if I remember correctly. One day it hit me…I hadn’t turned in a timesheet for a couple of weeks. Had I gotten too busy to remember it? I panicked, because as with many young professionals, my wife and I were living paycheck to paycheck. This certainly presented more than a couple problems, to say the least.
My initial frightened reaction was to call my boss…and to say the least, she had my back. This kind soul had submitted my hours for me – she knew I had been working like crazy, and didn’t even have an ounce of doubt about it. So she just submitted my 40 hours for me. God bless you Tammy!
Moving forward to present day, I make sure our therapists’ timesheets are submitted each Monday by noon, or they don’t get paid in a timely manner for their work. Submitting timesheets past the Monday noon deadline could result in at least one week’s delay of receiving their paycheck.
Notice I said “make sure”…and not “responsible for turning in therapist timesheets.” There’s a difference, albeit subtle, but I find myself explaining this concept time and time again. So, here are some recommendations to ensure this process goes smoothly, and our therapists get paid timely.
- Therapist should submit their timesheet to the facility or home health agency along with patient documentation.We process timesheets on a weekly basis, so this should be completed as soon as possible after the last day of service provided for the week. This is often accomplished via fax or in person. If your last day is on a Wednesday, submit your timesheet that Wednesday, or Thursday at the latest.
- If the timesheet is submitted via fax, the therapist should contact the facility or agency to confirm receipt of their timesheet and documentation, and ask them to fax to our office ASAP. Our timesheet requires approval (signature) by the facility or home health agency for the therapist to be paid. This system of checks and balances ensures the accuracy of the hours or visits completed. This is often where the process gets delayed – possibly a fax that didn’t go through or was misplaced.
- The facility or agency will review, sign, and fax the therapist timesheet to our corporate office. The timesheets received by Monday morning are crosschecked with our scheduler to ensure we have received everyone’s timesheets for the previous week of scheduled hours and visits. For those timesheets not in, we make the appropriate contacts to ensure their receipt. An assertive therapist should contact our office by Monday at noon to confirm the receipt of their signed and approved timesheet.
So there you have it. As I’ve said with other things, it’s not rocket science. But sometimes technology does fail and delay the process. Ultimately, as contract therapists, it is the therapist’s responsibility to submit their timesheets in a timely manner. We’ll fax those as needed for the approval and signature of the facility or home health agency, but that delays the process and risks a delayed paycheck.
If you’re a contract therapist, how do you handle your timesheets to ensure you get paid for your services? Or if you’re an employer that utilizes independent contract therapists, how do you verify accuracy of hours and consequently pay them?