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Friday, February 22, 2013

Filipino nurses with US licenses can work in US insurance firms here - lawmaker

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The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines - Filipino nurses who passed the NCLEX-RN and obtained US licenses but who have not found employment in America may now gainfully practice their profession in the Manila-based back offices of US health insurance companies, House Deputy Majority Leader Roman Romulo said over the weekend.

“There is new demand here for Filipino nurses with active US licenses. The demand is being created by US health insurers that have increasingly found it more cost-effective to offshore their clinical services here,” said Romulo, who supports Manila’s thriving business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

“They won’t necessarily receive the $20 (P800) per hour starting pay for nurses in most US hospitals. However, due to their specialized responsibilities in providing clinical services here, they are getting higher emoluments compared to the average BPO employee,” he said in a news release.

The remote clinical services range from the pre-servicing of patients, in which a nurse at the health insurer helps evaluate the patient’s needs and ascertain treatment approaches, to discharge planning and support, such as nurse reviews of the patient’s possible post-discharge care requirements.

Unemployed Filipino nurses should consider taking and passing the NCLEX-RN, so that they could hopefully get US licenses and seek potential employment at the back offices here of US health insurers, Romulo said.

The NCLEX-RN refers to the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurse administered by the US (National Council) of State Boards of Nursing Inc. (USNCSBN). The Pearson Professional Center in Makati City has been administering the NCLEX-RN for the USNCSBN since 2007.

In 2011, a total of 5,630 Filipino nurses indicated their desire to practice their profession in America by taking the NCLEX-RN for the first time (excluding repeaters). In the nine months to September this year, another 2,662 Filipino nurses took the examination for the first time, according to the USNCSBN.

US firms in the Philippines

Romulo named at least three firms –- Radiant Services LLC, Exlservice Holdings Inc., and UnitedHealth Group Inc. -- that are employing in the Philippines local nurses with active US licenses.

With offices at the Robinsons Cyberpark in Mandaluyong City and Eastwood Global One in Quezon City, Radiant is a multinational firm providing a broad range of services, including clinical support for US clients in the healthcare payer and pharmacy benefit management space.

Radiant was put up by Indianapolis, Indiana-based WellPoint Inc. to advance its outsourcing of various services to lower-cost locations such as the Philippines.

WellPoint is the second-largest managed healthcare company in the US, serving some 33.5 million members.

With two centers at the SM Mall of Asia, New York, New York-based Exlservice is a BPO firm specializing in healthcare and insurance-related support services.

Exlservice helps provide “targeted care-management support” to the 18.2 million members of Hartford, Connecticut-based Aetna Inc., another diversified health benefits company.

Minnetonka, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth, the largest health benefits provider in the US with over 36 million members, only recently up a back office at McKinley Hill Cyberpark in Taguig City.

UnitedHealth has started enlisting Filipino nurses with active US licenses, basic computer skills as well as hospital and BPO experience, to perform jobs as “nurse associates, clinical quality analysts and clinical managers.”

Benefits of Data Privacy Act

Romulo is author of the new Data Privacy Act of the Philippines, which is expected to lure more global corporations to either establish in-house back offices in Manila, or relegate their non-core, business support activities to independent BPO firms operating here.

The new Philippine law mandates all entities, including BPO firms, to protect the confidentiality of personal information collected from clients and stored in IT systems, in compliance with strict international privacy standards.

The Philippines’ highly labor-intensive, IT-enabled services industry encompasses contact center services; back offices; medical, legal and other data transcription; animation; software development; engineering design; and digital content.

The industry is projected to produce $27 billion in revenues and directly engage some 1.3 million Filipino workers by 2016. This year, the Business Processing Association of the Philippines sees the sector generating $13 billion in revenues on a labor force of 764,000.

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