What DME Providers Are Doing to Thrive Through the Labor Shortage

Prochant’s new Vice President of Durable Medical Equipment Services will be running Prochant’s DME business unit and providing thought leadership to our team. To enhance your understanding of where DME providers stand in 2022, we asked our VP of DME Services for her perspective on what she believes are the most significant struggles providers are currently encountering and which practices the top companies are utilizing to prosper. 

What staffing struggles are providers still dealing with?

Answer: Generally, the process for DME providers who are trying to grow goes as follows. You obtain a portion of the market share, then you start gaining some momentum, but eventually, you find yourself asking: What happens if I run out of employees? What do I do if I receive a significant influx of work unexpectedly?

Additional challenges DME providers are currently facing include:

  • Competing with nearby hospitals that are capable of providing better benefits and higher pay.
  • Employees need to adjust to returning to the office after adapting to working remotely. Providers must recognize and accept that their production levels are going to decrease due to employees returning to the office. 
  • Providers experienced more stability through less absenteeism when employees were working from home. People were willing to put in longer days when they weren’t burdened with the task of commuting. This enabled providers to grow through higher levels of staff productivity. Employers need to get reacquainted with the output levels associated with traditional eight-hour work days now that most companies have returned to the office.  
  • Employee burnout brought on by them continuously having to pick up the slack due to being understaffed.  
  • New employees needing better training and onboarding. When understaffed, your most experienced employees spend the majority of their time putting out fires or handling the most urgent task that needs to be addressed at that point in time. This results in new hires taking more time to be trained than usually required. Inexperienced employees with uncertainties that are forced to wait for instructions from their superiors will also negatively impact your total output.

What happens when hundreds to thousands of referrals fall into your lap and you can’t find enough people to do the work needed? DME providers will scramble to recruit and retain people, but the labor pool just isn’t what it used to be. However, that doesn't mean businesses have to settle for inadequate help or accept the fact a position you need filled will remain vacant. 

What are top providers doing to thrive during labor shortages?

  • Embrace business process outsourcing: They’re using business process outsourcing, securing a trusted revenue cycle management (RCM) partner to help with their back-office operations. Instead of following the traditional “provider vendor” relationship, RCM and provider's attitude towards each other is viewed more as a genuine partnership. Working with an RCM partner allows you to be more flexible. It gives you access to a larger pool of resources and well-trained professionals while remaining cost-effective.
  • Utilize technology: Of course, you need humans working in the back-office, but a person doesn’t need to touch every document in order to have it processed. Look at things in the long term. Modern office workflow solutions like automation and decision support systems can make a big difference when it comes to lessening your employee workload and simplifying onboarding processes. During a period when labor is more difficult to come by it only makes sense to delegate your more menial tasks to tech so you can concentrate on more important assignments.

    Working daily to make sure our DME clients have the best of both solutions, Prochant is the leading technology-based business process outsourcing firm. In our industry, employee ability is as important as the quality of the technology backing the company. That's why Prochant has worked relentlessly to ensure we provide the highest caliber labor and technology to all our clients.

Prochant has a proven track record of helping HME and pharmacy providers meet their financial goals. Our scalable solutions, years of experience, and advanced technology provide best-in-class results to the healthcare community. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, our client base includes national pharmacy and HME providers and health systems.