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Posts from the ‘Affordable Care Act’ Category

Jersey City Medical Center- Improving Health Care Delivery by Investing in Frontline Workers

National Fund for Workforce SolutionsToday’s guest post is by Fred Dedrick, Executive Director, National Fund for Workforce Solutions.  I spoke with Fred a few years back about the National Fund.  You can listen in on that podcast here.  The National fund for Workforce Solutions  is focused on finding effective new ways to prepare low wage workers for careers that can support them and their families. Read on to learn how Jersey City Medical Center is investing in their frontline workers.

The American health care market is reinventing itself. Catalyzed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aging patient populations, a spike in mergers and acquisitions, workforce shortages, and a host of other factors, health care providers are fundamentally altering their business approach to raise clinical outcomes and patient experiences while also reducing error rates and unnecessary costs. Faced with the dual pressure to reduce cost and raise performance, many health care organizations are investing in their frontline workers to make their organizations more responsive, flexible, and efficient.

A national movement of health care providers working to train their frontline workers is starting, and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions has partnered with hundreds of health care organizations in dozens of industry partnerships to support and expand training and education for frontline workers. These providers are partnering with community organizations, community colleges, and each other to make major investments in their communities’ health care workforce, and they are seeing significant returns to those investments. A leader in this movement is Jersey City Medical Center-Barnabas Health (JCMC) working with CareerWorks: the Greater Newark Workforce Funders Collaborative to invest in its frontline employees.

In order to fill critical positions ranging from medical assistants to patient transporters, JCMC has developed a network of learning and advancement opportunities designed to help frontline workers cultivate new skills, perform their roles more effectively, and expand into new positions. Hundreds of employees have participated in training programs and nearly 40 frontline workers have been promoted to advanced positions with expanded responsibilities and a $5,000 – 8,000 raise. At JCMC’s core is an effort to build an “engaged employee and physician workforce.” JCMC’s leadership believes that its career ladder-training programs adds critical value by creating a talent pipeline of confident and well-trained workers who are performing professionally and efficiently in billing departments, at patients’ bedsides, and in emergency medical teams. By investing in their frontline workforce, JCMC is investing in its success. More skilled, responsive, and flexible workers allow JCMC to handle patients more professionally and effectively and therefore stay competitive in today’s chaotic and evolving health care market.

For more information on how Jersey City Medical Center is transforming its quality of care by advancing its employees, see the recent CareerSTAT report Building Career Ladders in the Age of the Affordable Care Act

Affordable Care Act – Short Term Pain for Long Term Gain?

TWS ACA ReportingBoth human resource professionals and healthcare providers are grappling with the immediate compliance issues associated with the Affordable Care Act, even as the rules continue to evolve.  Practitioners on both sides of this equation are also contemplating the longer term cost and management implications of the Act.   Despite, or perhaps because of all the press that the ACA receives, there is still plenty of confusion about what the Act really means for employers and healthcare providers.

In order to shed some light on how practitioners are gearing up for the ACA, I spoke with our  board member, Dr. Tim Porter O’Grady and Kronos Senior Director Jim Rowe. Tim has been involved in health care for 40 years and has held roles from staff nurse to senior executive in a variety of health care settings.  Jim Rowe is the Senior Director of Total Rewards at Kronos.  Both are deeply embroiled in the practical implications of implementing the ACA, on both the employer side as well as the healthcare delivery side of the equation.  And both agree that while there should be long term benefits for Americans in the form of more comprehensive, economical and effective healthcare, there are also plenty of short term challenges to enacting the law.

You can listen to a podcast of our discussion of the following questions at:  Tim Porter OGrady and Jim Rowe Discuss the ACA 1.20.14.

  • There has been a lot of confusion around ACA with the push back of the employer mandate to 2015. But many of the provisions of the Act are already the law.  What are some of the common misconceptions about compliance?
  • What are some of the challenges that HR leaders  are already facing with regard to complying with the ACA?
  • What are some of the challenges that the healthcare community is facing in regards to ACA compliance?
  • The ACA will effect organizations of all sizes, but it will have a significant impact on smaller businesses that may not historically have had to offer health benefits. What do you think are some of the top concerns for smaller businesses – and why?
  • How do you see growing healthcare costs impacting talent acquisition and employee retention?

 What about you?  How is your organization preparing for the ACA?

Other Relevant Posts:

The Affordable Care Act Isn’t a Benefits Change – It’s a Culture Change

Engaging Health Reform

Part Time Workers Confused by the Affordable Care Act



The Affordable Care Act isn’t a Benefits Change – It’s a Culture Change

acaToday’s guest post is courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby, better known as the HR Bartender.  You can learn more about how the ACA and how Kronos can help you comply with its employer provisions at

One of the hot topics at this year’s KronosWorks 2013 was the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Even with the delay in the company mandate, employers are taking this time to do extra research, specifically where it applies to implementation best practices.

The sessions I attended regarding the ACA were a reminder that, while strategy is important, execution is critical. Organizations are taking the implementation of ACA very seriously. The conversation was a thoughtful and lively exchange about how to implement this very complex law while maintaining the business operation and keeping employees satisfied with their jobs. Some of the key takeaways I learned during the ACA sessions include:

The Affordable Care Act requires a culture change. The ACA isn’t considered an HR issue. It’s a law. And organizations have to develop and implement a strategy that will be used on a daily basis. Organizations are viewing the decisions they make regarding the ACA as culture decisions (versus benefits decisions).

Every department needs to be involved in the strategy and implementation of ACA. This directly reflects the first point. Business professionals agree – you cannot manage the ACA after the fact. The professionals I spoke with talked about the many departments being touched by the ACA:

Senior leadership to set the strategy.

Human resources to ensure compliance and craft the policy.

Finance to manage resources and finances associated with the Act.

Operational managers to monitor schedules and manage daily activity.

Many organizations are having to revisit their staffing models. As a result, some employees will become full-time. Instead of trying to figure out ways to keep employees part-time, many organizations acknowledge that the ACA is making them ask the question “Should this be a full-time position?” In some cases the answer is yes.

Speaking of staffing models, another topic brought up was the notion of giving hours to the best workers. We all know how this works. There’s a last minute project to be completed. Often because both skill and speed are required, we ask the fastest, most qualified employee. But what if we can’t now because the extra hours will reclassify their status? Organizations are trying to figure out how this potentially impacts the talent they currently have and skills they might need if they have to develop a contingent workforce.

Employers are concerned about losing employees who don’t want to be full-time. We often make the assumption that everyone wants to be full-time and it’s simply not the case. Employers who have created part-time positions to accommodate employees are concerned that employees will leave because the positions aren’t as flexible as they used to be.

Full-time employees who currently have benefits are impacted as well. In the past, full-time employees who wanted to cut back a few hours were fine – it didn’t jeopardize their status and another part-time employee could pick up the hours without overtime. Now, full-time workers will need to maintain their full-time schedule because those hours being passed along to a part-time employee have greater implications than just payroll.

Everyone agreed the key to managing the ACA successfully will be effective management of workforce data, reports and analytics. Debbie Baum, HRIS director at the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas shared their plan. “We’re not changing our full-time/part-time mix of employees because of the Affordable Care Act.  We’re not going to cut hours to avoid paying healthcare.  We are going to manage the scheduled hours staff were hired to work.” Unlike the YMCA, this level of data collection and review could be new and different for some organizations. It might take some getting used to.

The Affordable Care Act’s complexity mandates that organizations dedicate time getting their strategy right on the front end. Smart organizations are using this additional time wisely, to identify their focus as a result of the ACA. Troy Jackson, employment and performance manager at Firekeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan said it best – “We want to be an employer of choice. Employees who work full-time hours will get full-time benefits. It’s the right thing to do.”

The Affordable Care Act is more than a new law about health care benefits. It’s a definition of corporate culture.

Related Posts:

Talking About The Affordable Care Act With Dr. Tim Porter-O’Grady

Engaging Health Reform

Part Time Workers Confused by the Affordable Care Act

Results of the Workforce Institute Affordable Care Act Worker Survey