Young adult Hispanic woman is talking with young adult Caucasian blonde woman and young adult African American woman outside on college campus. Women are nursing or medical students. They are wearing hospital scrubs and stethoscopes.
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Concerns about salary are often the elephant in the room when it comes to staffing and retention issues in senior living and care. Giving employees early access to their earned wages, however, could make a huge difference. 

A new software tool enables healthcare providers to offer this option, following a partnership between capital management company Empeon and Keeper, an earned wage access platform for healthcare workers.

Although the tool allows healthcare workers to get their paydays early, the process is termed “earned” wage, not “early,” because the pay is for work already completed and there are no extra interest charges or fees involved. 

The companies announced the creation and rollout of their unnamed EWA software tool earlier this month, and there already are more than a dozen customers from within long-term care ready to use the service, Empeon Senior Content Manager Mark Bochkis told McKnight’s Wednesday.

“Early wage access is super impactful with nursing homes, and attracting and retaining workers,” Bochkis said. “Nurses often need this money just to commute to work. And if they aren’t stressed about paying a water bill or groceries, they will be more present in the care that they give.”

Almost two-thirds of healthcare workers are living paycheck-to-paycheck, Empeon claims. although EWA doesn’t increase salaries, implementing that option extended nursing home caregivers’ tenure by 78 days, or 73%, one study found. 

That surprisingly low baseline work term of approximately 100 days could be skewed by high numbers of early exits within long-term care and the fact that tenure varies significantly from one company to the next. 

EWA software is just one example of real-time access to paychecks in the sector. OnShift Wallet, powered by Payactiv, for example, is another that allows quick-cycling payments. Numerous others outside of long-term care also have catered to the quicker-paycheck crowd.

EWA is a technology that senior living and care providers have been too slow to implement, Bochkis said. 

Earlier this year, Empeon partnered with compliance solutions company Showd.Me to offer clients a tool to expedite onboarding processes for potential caregiver hires. 

Empeon is one of several software companies that have been talking up the importance of interoperability within the long-term care and healthcare industry and the need for data exchange to take place efficiently across platforms.