Over the course of her career, Karen Hayes has worked as an educator, school administrator, locums recruiter, and healthcare manager — all before moving into her most recent position as VP of Risk Management at Hayes Locums.
To say Karen has found her calling would be an understatement. Since transitioning to her new role in 2013, Karen has successfully built and grown the credentialing and quality assurance departments, focusing on standards and processes for ensuring patient safety and protection for all of our locums providers.
Her newest challenge? After years spent attending the NALTO Conferences (National Association of Locums Tenens Organizations) and a year on the NALTO credentialing committee, Karen has recently been asked to join the NALTO Board of Directors.
Recently, we sat down with Karen to discuss her new position, what she’s accomplished at Hayes Locums, and how she hopes to raise the quality assurance bar across the industry.
Q: Let’s dive right in. Why does quality assurance matter, specifically in the locums industry?
A: In the simplest terms, quality assurance is critical to protecting the client (the hospitals or medical facilities), our locums providers, and, most importantly, the patients. By creating and following top-level protocols and standards, you’re far more likely to avoid a problem before it ever occurs.
Q: And how have you created those kinds of standards at Hayes Locums?
A: When I started with Hayes Locums in 2013, I started to look closely at the processes in place and recognized that the work we were doing was good but not good enough.
I quickly got to work growing our team (we started with one credentialer, now we have 6 just in the Quality Assurance department) and revising the credentialing requirements. Our goal was to align ourselves as closely as we could with the standards hospitals, and medical facilities are held to, and that commitment certainly raised the bar for our teams.
I’m proud to say that goal is still what we continue to work toward today. We’re constantly looking for new and better ways to protect our company from risk exposure when our physicians and providers go out to work. Taking the time to thoroughly vet and credential each and every one of our providers is the first step to delivering that level of protection.
Q: Is this attention to detail unique to Hayes Locums?
A: It’s true that most locums companies do not have a Licensed Health Risk Manager on staff; they’re typically found in hospitals.
Put simply, there are many layers to ensure that we’re doing the best we can to protect the patients and our providers. We review reports daily with our sales directors and managers to make sure we’re on top of any outstanding items and make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
We also do our best to make sure we know the specifics about every job our providers are going to. We never want our physicians to be blindsided or put in a position where something could go wrong. That’s an important process in our Quality Assurance Department.
Q: How does your experience translate to your position at NALTO?
A: Through my work with Hayes Locums, I can help other locums companies who might not have the same resources in-house that we do.
The NALTO mission is to provide a foundation of industry best practices and ethical guidelines for companies specializing in physician locum tenens. As an association, we provide resources to our members through continuing education opportunities, ethical guidelines, a sample application, CV templates, and checklists for our members to use as guides in their own companies. By providing information to these smaller companies, they can elevate their quality assurance to a higher standard and better contribute to the locums industry.
Q: And how can NALTO assist individual locums providers?
A: As a locum provider, it’s important to remember that all things aren’t equal. Visit the NALTO website to see which companies are members. When an organization joins NALTO, there’s a code of ethics and procedures they have to agree to abide by, so you can easily see which companies are committed to those standards of practice. Quality assurance and NALTO go hand-in-hand.
Q: Is the commitment to quality assurance, both by Hayes Locums and NALTO, making a difference in the locums industry?
A: Absolutely. For NALTO members, whether they’re taking part in a conference or smaller session or tapping into the website's resources, having that safe place for organizations to share information and standards is a game-changer.
We’re making sure everyone is better educated and protected, so it really is a win-win for everyone involved.