Q: My contract says I have a guaranteed number of hours per week, however I was short a few hours during my orientation week. Do I still get paid for the hours my contract says are guaranteed weekly?
A: Orientation week is the only week in which your hours are not guaranteed (pending other circumstances listed in additional questions and answers below). Depending on several factors out of our control (orientation schedule, systems permissions, and on-site testing) it is difficult to guarantee your hours on the first orientation week. We will work with the facility to get you as close to your guarantee as possible. If you notice that you will not get your guaranteed hours during this orientation week, please contact your recruiter ASAP, and indicate as much. Your recruiter will communicate with the appropriate chain of command, and work with the facility to resolve this issue.
Q: I was informed that if I do not make my guaranteed hours for the week, my stipends would be prorated. Does this mean that during orientation week, I will not receive my entire stipend?
A: On the orientation week, you will be prorated according to the number of hours you worked, divided by your guaranteed hours on your contract. If you worked 30 hours on a 40-hour guarantee, you will be given 75% of your tax free stipends. As stated, it is difficult for BlueForce to guarantee you hours on this first week. It is also difficult for BlueForce to give you the entirety of your stipends (even though you did not get your guarantee hours, by not fault of your own) as some clients do not all billing at all for orientation (BlueForce takes a loss during these orientation). Some will allow billing, but only for the hours you were required to participate.
Q: I unfortunately called off a shift I was scheduled to work, I did not make my guaranteed hours. Will I still receive the guaranteed hours on my check? Even though “I” was the one that could not make the shift. Does this have any other negative effects on my pay?
A: If you call off a shift, you will not be guaranteed your hours, as the facility gave you the opportunity to reach the hours in your contract. We highly suggest that you try to communicate with your nurse manager and see if you can pick up an additional shift to cover the missed shift for that week. Your Stipends will be pro-rated if you do not make the guaranteed hours for that week. An example of this would be as follows: “Nurse A“ has $210 a week in M&I stipends ($30 a day) based on a 36hr work week. “Nurse A” called off 1 – 12 hour shift. Since “Nurse A” worked only 66% of the hours she was supposed to work (24 out of 36), she will only receive 66% of her weekly stipend. That amount is factored as $210 X 0.66 = $138.60. If you want further explanation, ask your recruiter to explain in greater detail.
Q: I have a mixed stipend package as compensation for my approved assignment. In this package I receive a tax free Meal and Incidental stipend as well as a tax housing stipend. How does this play in regards to filling my taxes. Will this draw attention to my taxes with the IRS?
A: The mixed stipend packages we offer are in line with the GSA rates allowed within that assignments County designation. It is the sole responsibility of the traveling nurse to keep all expense receipts associated with traveling on the assignment. These receipts may be beneficial if the IRS requests additional supporting information/documentation. We are not tax experts, and we highly suggest you have your tax specialist look at your package before you travel or start the assignment. If you have additional questions, we will put you in touch with accounting department to see if they have more information that may shed light on your specific circumstances.
Q: While on assignment, I was called and told I was not needed on a scheduled shift. This cancellation caused me to drop below my guaranteed hours. What process should I take if they call me off a shift? Will I still get my guaranteed hours?
A: If you are called off a shift, it is important to ask during that conversation if they (the facility) have plans to schedule you an additional shift, during this pay week so you can make up the missed hours. If the facility does not have an additional shift available, contact your recruiter immediately. Tell your recruiter that you will not receive your hours for this week. They will communicate with the facility to make sure, if they (the facility), does not offer you an addition shift this week, we will still have approval to bill the client the hours guaranteed in your contract. Some facilities have a cancellation clause in your contract. This allows the facility to cancel a shift without allowing you to get your guaranteed hours. On these shifts, BlueForce has no control on getting you your guarantee, and your stipends will be pro-rated. If this is in your applicant agreement please be aware of these circumstances. If you are not willing to accept this scenario please let your recruiter know before you start the assignment.
Q: The facility has indicated that I can go home early due to a low census etc. On this case will I receive my guaranteed hours on my contract?
A: You must relay these types of occurrences with your recruiter ASAP. Sometimes the facility will ask if you would like to go home, and if you do not indicate that you want to stay to get your guarantee hours it can cause issues. Please tell your manager/supervisor you have a guaranteed number of hours and will be paid even if they allow you to go home early. Be sure to document who you spoke with (supervisor or managers full name) and the time and date. Email this information to your recruiter. The facility may indicate that it was your choice to leave early and may not honor your guaranteed hours for billing. Your recruiter will reach to the hospital and indicate that if you are offered to go home because of a low census for the day, and that we (your agency) is still going to pay you as if you stayed. Some facilities will be very open to that, others will not allow that at all. So communicate efficiently with your recruiter so we can stay ahead of any problems and make sure you get paid what you are rightfully owed.
Q: I do not have access to a fax machine. Does BlueForce have any suggestions on how I can get you my required documents sent in?
A: The library is a great way to print documents and they (the library) also usually have scanners and sometimes fax machines you can use. We highly suggest that you invest in a printer with a build in scanner. They can be rather affordable (we do not reimburse for this purchase) and scanning and emailing directly is the Best way to get your recruiter your documents.
We also will accept Cam Scanner documents (Cam Scanner is a free app that turns pictures you take on your phone, into professional looking pdf’s for easy emailing). If you are unable to use Cam Scanner you may take a picture of the relevant document (complete picture of the entire document) and email that picture to your recruiter. They should be able to assist and you, and convert the pictures you have sent in, to an appropriate file for the client. Please make sure each picture is 100% focused, as these documents need to be printed as a hard copy. All blurry documents will need requested to be sent again and will need to be resubmitted by your recruiter, so please save them the work and send only legible documents.
Q: I was approved for an assignment for which I needed assistance with licensing. After approval I acquired a license for the state of employment. I was told I would be reimbursed for the cost to acquire that license. How does this process for reimbursement work?
A: If you were approved for an assignment, which you needed to acquire a license for, you will need prior approval for reimbursement for that license. If you have received prior approval for licensing reimbursement you MUST keep all receipts in order to be reimbursed. These receipts are necessary for our billing department, and without them we will not be able to reimburse (no exceptions, so keep your receipts).
Q: I would like to check on extending an assignment how do I start this process started.
A: Communicate with your recruiter as well as your nurse manager. BlueForce typically wants our nurses to stay on assignment as long as possible! So if you are asked to extend, reach out to your recruiter and specify what extension length you were offered and the name of the person who extended the offer.
Q: I do not like my housing that is provided by Huffmaster. Do I have other options?
A: On most assignments BlueForce offers a Tax free housing stipend. You are welcome to secure other housing and BlueForce can switch you from receiving housing to receiving the housing stipend. Please communicate with your recruiter to confirm the specific assignment you are on has a housing stipend option. Occasionally you may have to stay at the housing provided by BlueForce a short period of time, so that BlueForce does not incur penalties for cancelling the hotel reservation of your current room. If you leave the hotel and get your own housing without prior approval, you will forfeit from your tax free housing stipend, any penalties incurred by BlueForce for this change.
Q: Does BlueForce cover bag costs should I fly to the assignment.
A: BlueForce does not cover the costs of any baggage. You will need to bring cash for the additional cost of additional baggage.
Q: I want to travel home for a duration during my contract. I have already expressed the dates I want off, and have gotten those dates approved. Will BlueForce pay for me to fly home and then back to the assignment during this break?
A: BlueForce will reimburse mileage or provide a flight once at the beginning of the contract and once at the end of the contract. Additional travel during your contract is not reimbursed whatsoever. If you are finishing a contract and have received an extension, additional travel funds May Be available, but must be approved before your new contract begins. Please communicate with your recruiter on the specifics of your situation.
Q: I am not happy with the seat that has been offered by BlueForce for my flight to the assignment. Will BlueForce work with me to change my seat?
A: BlueForce is willing to work with you to get your preferences on items like flights. These preferences should be noted as soon as possible (before the ticket is issued, and definitely well before the flight is to depart). As with all flights, if the airline is experiences heavy travel, delays, or even flight cancellation some of these options are not possible. BlueForce typically offers tax free travel stipends and you are welcome to book your own ticket. For reimbursement on these flights you MUST communication with your recruiter prior to booking a ticket. Without approval, your reimbursement may be limited to only a portion of the cost of your ticket.
Q: I have received a Flight itinerary on a ticket that I have approved with BlueForce. I have changed my mind on which date I would like to travel. Can BlueForce change my ticket?
A: BlueForce typically only issues non-refundable tickets. If we have set up a ticket and you have approved the date and time of that flight, BlueForce will not change or alter the flight (unless the rare case of a refundable ticket and 48hr notice). You are welcome to contact the airline and see what options they present to you. If you refuse to travel on the ticketed you approved, and your contract is cancelled, all airline ticket costs will be billed to you.
Q: I drove to the assignment. How does my reimbursed mileage work?
A: Please try to communicate to your recruiter your estimated travel miles before you actually drive to the location. On the time sheet, which will be provided by your recruiter, there is a column to indicate the miles you drove to the assignment. We use your Taleo home address to verify mileage reimbursements, or the drug screening zip code. If you are not driving from home, it is extremely important you make mention of this BEFORE you travel. This type of reimbursement request if not pre-approved, will be reimbursed at the mangers discretion. (Travel mileage is typically capped at 1000 reimbursement miles for each direction ($500), and a total of $1000 of tax free reimbursements per contract) (Maximum reimbursement is on a contract by contract basis).
Q: I want to bring my pet during my travel assignment is this permitted?
A: If we are providing housing we need to check with the housing facility. Please communicate with your recruiter to see if this is an option. Size of pet, pet type (cat, dog), and breed may play a role in the determination if your pet will be allowed to stay with you at our housing location. If approved, any additional costs/damages are the sole responsibility of the traveling nurse. If we are unable to approve your pet for BlueForce provided housing, we typically offer a tax free housing stipend. Please ask your recruiter if this stipend is an option for your specific assignment.
Q: I am having computer trouble, I have been unable to access/pass the required exams. May I travel and complete the exams before I start physically working at the facility?
A: Typically we do not allow nurses to travel without having a complete file for the client. However on rare occasion the client may approved you traveling, with the understanding that you will need to complete the exams before you can work in the hospital of your assignment. If this is the case you are welcome to travel on your own, however please note the following. Traveling reimbursements can only be approved if you pass our Prophecy nursing exams. If you decide to travel without passing the exams, BlueForce will not pay you any reimbursement for travel, should you fail our joint commission required exams. All travel costs with be the responsibility of the traveling candidate without exception.
Q: I have worked with BlueForce / Huffmaster in the past, do you still have my health documents and my certifications?
A: We do keep all of your files. Some of these files are annual (skills checklists, TB skin test, declinations, and physically fit to work statements etc. etc.)
Q: One of my health documents/certifications is expiring and will expire before I am able to get it renewed. Will I be able to continue to work without this item being 100% valid and active?
A: All of our Joint Commission (JC) requirements must be meet and on file in order for you to work any and all shifts. If you do not have all relevant items ready to go, this will force a possible work stoppage, until your travel profile once again becomes JC compliant. Some facilities may be willing to waive some BlueForce requirements. These requirements are not necessarily facility requirements which is why they may allow this rare concession. This will allow time in which you can secure the updated certifications. These waivable certifications and health documents pertain to all items except BlueForce Core requirements (skills checklists, TB). If you have concerns that an item will cause issues, please communicate this with your recruiter as soon as possible. If it is an item that is not in one of these core requirements, we may be able to get you approval to work while you secure the desired item. These instances of approval are rare, and have a good amount of paperwork that must be put through BlueForce company protocols. This paperwork will be the responsibility of your recruiter, so please save them this extra work, and get your requirements in before they expire.
Q: I passed the BlueForce competency exams, however the facility had onsite exams that I did not pass. Due to these scores, I was sent home from the assignment. What compensation do I receive during this time?
A: Typically we offer no compensation for the time (hours) spent during this period. Reimbursement mileage to the assignment will be paid at the discretion of the BlueForce Director; however you will receive no mileage reimbursement for the travel home. In the event you flew out to the assignment we will secure you either a plane ticket or bus ticket home. Although it is rare for BlueForce to send a nurse home on a bus, we reserve the right to do so. If we are unable to secure a flight home immediately, we will then determine if a bus ticket is appropriate. The reasoning behind an immediate departure on a bus is simply because we are unable to bill the client for any additional housing duration. We must have you check out of your hotel and return home immediately.
Please alert your recruiter as soon as possible if this happens, as additional costs incurred due to a failure to check out of your hotel room will be the responsibility of the traveling nurse.
Q: I need to get health documents renewed. These items that may eventually need to be renewal, but are not limited to the following: TB test (2-step), Hep C screening, Flu Shots, titer draws, Fit Test, Tdap, immunization shots, etc. Does BlueForce reimburse for these items so I can get a complete travel profile, or so I can keep my file in compliance?
A: Typically all required health documents are not eligible for reimbursement. Occasionally we may get approval to have a nurse have some items done on-site, but these are rare cases. Communicate your questions or concerns about these items to your recruiter, they will help in any way they can.
Q: I need to get a certification renewed. This certification could include but not limited to the following: BLS, ACLS, PALS, TNCC, NIH Stroke Certifications, etc. Does BlueForce reimburse for these items so I can get a complete travel profile, or so I can keep my file in compliance?
A: Typically all required Certifications are not eligible for reimbursement. Occasionally we may get approval to have a nurse complete a facility specific certification but these are extremely rare cases. Communicate your questions or concerns about these items to your recruiter, they will help in any way they can.
Q: I have referred an applicant that has never worked for BlueForce or Huffmaster. Do you offer referral bonuses and if so when I will I receive said bonus.
A: Not all assignments offer referral bonuses. Please check with your recruiter prior to the referee traveling about referral opportunities. If the assignment does have a referral bonus all paperwork must be submitted prior to start (no exceptions). This paperwork must be approved by upper management before the candidate starts the assignment. This paperwork will specify exactly when the bonus will be paid out. This is typically at the conclusion of the assignment. Any referral that does not complete the assignment in its entirety will be ineligible for referral compensation.
Furthermore, referrals will not be eligible if they are submitted as a group submission. This group submission is defined as the scenario when if two or more candidates are submitted together. Those two candidates, or more, then indicate a stipulation on their acceptance of the assignment is only IF both or all candidates are accepted. This then falls into the realm of a group submission and referrals are not eligible. If several candidates are referred but do not have a requirement for multiple acceptances, and each referred candidate is submitted separately, but together then all accepted will qualify for a referral bonus.
Q: I would like to receive some continued education opportunities, does BlueForce offer CE options?
A: BlueForce do have options for continued education. Please ask your recruiter and they will supply you with a list of relevant information.
Q: The nurse manager wants me to float to another unit. How is this situation handled by BlueForce?
A: Due to our joint commission certification, we are not able to allow you to float to any other units unless you have documentation specifying and verifying your expertise for this unit/s on file. The items that need to be completed and submitted prior to you floating to this unit/s would be at minimum as follows: Skills checklist for the specific unit, Additional certifications specific to unit (example PALS for pediatrics), Specialty specific exams for this float unit, documentation supporting 1 year of experience in this field within the 3 years (or written approval of your current skills sets, for the unit, from facility director or in some cases unit manager). If a nurse manager asks you to float, please communicate that with your recruiter immediately BEFORE working the unit. Please be pleasant during the conversation, but indicate you must speak with your recruiter for approval, before working that requested float unit. Failure to follow these procedures will fall upon the traveling nurse, and not the facility. If you change units’ mid-contract and fail to communicate with your recruiter, this will cause you to no longer be joint commission compliant. BlueForce reserves the right to delay/cancel any shifts until you are once again compliant with our joint commission requirements.
Q: I have worked a travel assignment at the same facility for almost a year. Do I have any negative repercussion from working beyond my 1 year mark?
A: We want to keep you on assignment as long as possible. The main item that will cause negative repercussion would be tax free stipends we offer. Once you have reached your 1 year mark the government views your status on this assignment as no longer a traveling candidate. Communicate with your recruiter, so we can restructure your compensation package to get you the absolute maximum amount we can offer to you weekly. Typically that means we will bump your hourly rate up, since we will not be able to offer you tax free stipends. Some facilities have in the past signed a nurse on full time. That nurse liked the assignment so much, they moved so they can continue to work as a permanent member of the staff. This is a rare circumstance but is not out of the spectrum of possibility.
Q: I was contacted by Huffmaster Strike division to sign on for a potential strike. Will I be able to attend the strike while on a travel assignment?
A: If you are on assignment for the travel division you will not be able to work a strike assignment until you current contract is over (unless prior approval has been granted by the travel assignment client). You are welcome to sign on for a strike, but if you are still on a travel assignment when it deploys, you will not be able to get adequate time off to work both assignments hence you will be ineligible for the strike opportunity.
Q: I have an emergency that requires immediate attention, how do I reach a BlueForce Health Staff employee?
A: If you call the hotline 866-795-2583 after normal business hours, you will be prompted with an option to reach our after-hours hotline. Communicate your issue with the after-hours representative, and they will contact a BlueForce employee for an immediate response. Please keep these calls limited to emergencies only.