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$25 Minimum Wage for Healthcare Workers Stresses California Medical Practices. Can VAs help?

Updated: 3 days ago

As of the writing of this blog, 10 cities in California have either passed or moved toward legislation that seeks to raise the minimum wage for healthcare workers to $25 an hour. This wage hike is not limited to just clinical staff, but it extends to non-clinical staff as well. While this minimum wage increase in California will benefit healthcare workers, medical practices and providers are worried that the new minimum wage could dramatically affect their ability to staff and capacity for long-term practice growth.

If you are worried that a healthcare minimum wage hike could cripple your practice’s ability to staff, there is a way to legally circumvent this new change to the minimum wage. Working with medical virtual assistants outside of the cities affected by this legislation could potentially save your practice tens of thousands of dollars a year and allow you to keep staffing levels appropriate.

Which California cities have passed/are considering a healthcare minimum wage hike?

As of this writing, the California cities that have introduced legislation toward a $25 minimum wage for healthcare workers include:

  • Anaheim

  • Baldwin Park

  • Culver City

  • Downey

  • Duarte

  • Inglewood

  • Long Beach

  • Los Angeles

  • Lynwood

  • Monterey Park

This trend is likely to grow, adding more cities to the list within California and potentially other states that have a high cost of living such as New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Oregon.

Medical virtual assistants can take the place of expensive in-house staff

Practice administrators, hiring managers, and medical practitioners in California are scrambling to find ways to keep their practice doors open when staffing is set to become prohibitively expensive. One solution they have found to this economic staffing conundrum is the use of medical virtual assistants in place of in-person (and expensive) healthcare employees.

A medical virtual assistant is a healthcare employee that can be responsible for any number of tasks in your office while working remotely, such as:

  • Taking notes during patient appointments

  • Keeping electronic health records up to date

  • Scheduling and confirming patient appointments

  • Fielding phone calls from patients, vendors, suppliers, and insurance companies

  • Processing insurance claims

  • Pre-authorizing treatments and procedures

  • Responding to online inquiries

What practice administrators and other healthcare leaders are discovering is that not every position in their practices needs to be staffed with in-house employees. Nearly any position in the healthcare world that does not include physically interacting with patients can be done via the Internet. Positions that can seamlessly transition from an in-house employee to a virtual assistant include:

  • Receptionist

  • Billing Specialist

  • Insurance and Claims Specialist

  • Medical Scribe

  • Administrative Assistant

  • Office Assistant

How much does a virtual medical assistant cost?

A virtual medical assistant from MedVa costs a flat rate of $10 per hour. While that’s already less than half of the healthcare minimum wage that is being proposed in California cities, that is not where the benefits end.

When you hire a local employee for $25 per hour, not included in that $25 is the cost of benefits, paid time off, workers’ compensation insurance, liability insurance for your location, payroll taxes, and more. In truth, a $ 25-per-hour employee actually costs between $31 and $35 per hour.

However, when you hire a virtual employee, there are no hidden fees or extra costs. $10 an hour really and truly means $10 per hour.

What’s it like to work with a medical virtual medical assistant?

Working with a medical virtual assistant is very much like working with an in-house employee. You’ll be able to chat with them during the day, provide directives, ask about the progress of projects, and of course, get to know them on a personal level. The only difference is that you do all of those things remotely, via email, video call, or phone call.

Your remote medical employee will be able to work with your office seamlessly thanks to a few secure softwares that allow them to access your network, make and receive phone calls from your local office number, update files, and even be virtually present during patient appointments, all from a remote location.

The upside of the Covid-19 pandemic was that businesses, including healthcare practices, all over the globe found out that maintaining efficiency and productivity with remote workers is possible. With technology, in-person presence simply isn’t necessary. For employers, this has saved them the expense of office space. For workers, this has erased the drudgery of a commute and allowed them to move away from their jobs and into areas with a lower cost of living. And healthcare providers have enjoyed an additional benefit: the opportunity to staff their practices with low-cost, high-quality medical virtual assistants.

Are virtual assistants HIPAA compliant?

Although we can’t speak for virtual assistants from other agencies, we can say that every medical virtual assistant supplied by MedVa is trained in internet security best practices and receives certification in HIPAA compliance.

Can a virtual healthcare employee really be as good as an in-person employee?

Yes, and they can be a lot better, too. All of our healthcare virtual assistants are highly trained medical professionals in their home countries. They have degrees, certifications, and years of real-life experience. Like many remote employees here in the United States, our virtual assistants have chosen to work remotely to access better opportunities and higher pay than they would in their local area.

But – is a virtual employee the right solution for my patients?

Thinking that you need an office full of in-person employees to provide excellent care to your patients is outdated. Yes, your office needs an appropriate amount of employees to make sure patients can get through to your office on the phone, have their questions answered in a timely manner, get on the schedule to see you quickly, and have their bills and payments processed correctly. But none of those tasks requires a person physically sitting in your office. In fact, when you hire virtual medical assistants, you’ll be able to hire more people to get all of those tasks accomplished. We find that practices that utilize virtual assistants to meet full staffing levels end up with greater customer satisfaction scores than practices that run solely on in-person staff, which may be limited due to financial constraints.

Want to get ahead of the coming minimum wage hike with virtual assistants?

We’d be happy to walk you through the process of bringing a virtual assistant onto your team. Click here to schedule your call today.

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