After saving a lot of administrative time and at least $1 million per year in expenses, St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, NY, is marketing its job-bidding web site to other hospitals.
Mercy Miami and Mercy Pittsburgh, and two other members of Catholic Health East (CHE), bought the first copies to improve their filling of vacant shifts for nurses and other key job titles. The buyers received a CD with the program, a manual, and one day of training.
In February 2004, St. Peter’s signed an agreement for First Consulting Group (FCG) of Lexington, MA, (www.fcg.com) to market the plan to non-CHE facilities. St. Peter’s will receive a fee for each site arranged by FCG. St. Peter’s nformation management staff created the site and added it to St. Peter’s web site.
For the two weeks ending May 24, 2003, 143 nurses bid for 383 shifts. The average bid accepted was $37.81 per hour, or 40% to 50% above the typical RN rate at St. Peter’s. About two-thirds are St. Peter’s regular employees who are seeking additional work. In 2002, 43,400 hours were filled by bidding at an average of $37 per hour. Compared to filling those shifts with agency nurses, costing about $54 per hour, St. Peter’s saved $980,000.
At the height of the nursing shortage in 2000, St. Peter’s Hospital’s overall nurse vacancy rate was nearly 11%. Thanks to a comprehensive strategy involving pay and benefits, scheduling, professional development opportunities, and one-on-one recruiting efforts, by early 2003, it was cut to less than 5%. (In recent months, hospitals in eastern New York averaged 11%, according to the Iroquois Healthcare Association.)