What’s Going on With Healthcare Bill Rates?


As a travel healthcare professional, you likely know that your compensation, including any pre-negotiated stipends, per diems, etc., comes from one thing – your bill rate.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, bill rates for a variety of travel healthcare workers rose – sometimes significantly. For example, traveling nurses – who have been in high demand and short supply amid the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases – saw their rates increase nearly 28% in 2020 based on 2019’s average.

But with hospital and clinic revenues declining sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic largely due to most non-essential medical or surgical procedures being canceled or delayed, it’s unlikely that these higher bill rates will be sustainable.

As things start to return to normal – post-COVID – it’s quite possible that demand for travel health workers will plateau. And with any change in a “supply and demand” market, billing rates will either level out, or in many cases, start to come down.

So if you’re a travel healthcare professional currently in demand, how can you ensure that your income doesn’t take a significant hit when things start to cool down post-pandemic? Here are a few tips to consider:

Be Flexible

If money is your motivation, flexibility is key. Sometimes the highest paying assignments pay higher because they’re not the most ideal. They may be in a less than desirable location or on a hard-to-fill time shift, such as nights or variables. Though it’s not always the case, nights, variables and weekends may come with higher pay or shift differentials.

Maintain Multiple State Licenses

Did you know that many hospitals will not even look at a professional profile if you’re not licensed in their state? You’ll increase your chances of continuously landing high-paying jobs by maintaining active licenses in multiple states. For example, rates in northern states usually increase during the winter months – so a license in Massachusetts is a must! If you want to work in a state that you’re currently not licensed in – but want to travel there soon, apply now! Some states have a quick licensure turn-around of just 48 hours. Other states, like California, can take up to 6 months to process licensure paperwork.

Talk to a Recruiter

Recruiters are the connection between you and the highest paying travel nursing assignments. It’s important to communicate with them about your compensation needs. Looking for a high-paying assignment? Ask. Need a sign-on or completion bonus? Ask. Can’t live happily with an income below a certain amount? Tell them. Remember, a good healthcare recruiter is on your side – and will do their best to land a compensation package that works for you.

Stay Organized

Top paying travel assignments often come due to your paperwork, commonly referred to as your “profile.” This includes your resume, references, skills checklists, license, etc. Having organized paperwork that can quickly (and easily) be submitted to a new employer will increase your chances of landing high-paying assignments. The quicker you get your paperwork to your recruiter, the faster they can submit you to a top-paying job.  Keep your paperwork up to date and store it online on the cloud. This will make it easy to share your paperwork folder with your recruiter.

At Focus Staff, we understand the ins and outs of traveling healthcare professionals during these challenging times and have access to a wide variety of excellent professional opportunities. To learn more, contact us today.

Would you like to be alerted when new jobs are posted?