"Certainly the biggest unknown [for healthcare reform] is the influx of those newly covered patients. Since we don't yet know what the workforce need is to match this, many healthcare organizations' processes are becoming more streamlined so that they have the flexibility to cover more and more people, while continuing to provide high quality care," said Stephanie Drake, MBA, senior executive director at AHA Professional Services, in a media statement.
In fact, 73% of respondents, which represented a range of C-suite executives, directors, managers, and individuals, said their top strategy to reduce costs is streamlining HR processes.
With labor costs representing more than 60% of hospital budgets, the primary focus of hospital human resource professionals to prepare for healthcare reform is to reduce costs.
"There are two sides to the coin. One is cost cutting initiatives, so everyone including HR has to tighten their belts, whether that's in managing their own department or working more broadly with other managers," said Adam Higman, vice president of Soyring Consulting, a clinical and operational consulting firm for acute care hospitals.
"The other side is [that] everyone is still hoping that once the exchanges go up, you'll have a larger patient volume that can also pay for their services. HR folks need to be more efficient now, but also need to plan for the hiring frenzy that's going to occur once that higher patient volume starts to come in," Higman said.