BPOs step up hiring of Pinoy nurses

By Paolo Romero/The Philippine Star – Business process outsourcing (BPO) firms have stepped up recruitment of Filipino nurses following the US Supreme Court decision upholding Obamacare or the US Affordable Care Act, Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo said yesterday.

Romulo, chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education, said the Philippine units of Dublin, Ireland-based Accenture plc and New York-based EXL Service Holdings Inc. have increased the hiring of Filipino nurses, mainly for deployment to their global delivery centers in Cebu City.

He said Accenture and EXL provide a wide range of outsourced business support services to American health insurers.

“Both firms are signing up Filipino nurses with US licenses as well as those who have passed the NCLEX but still without US licenses,” Romulo said, referring to the National Council Licensure Examination, the US counterpart of the Philippines’ Nursing Licensure Examination.

Accenture said Filipino nurses are expected “to use their clinical skills beyond traditional patient care,” and harness new technology to help mostly American patients get good preventive care from their health providers.

Accenture has 16 delivery centers in the Philippines, while EXL has three.

“There’s no question Obamacare is driving US health insurers to transfer additional contact center, insurance claims processing, clinical support analysis, medical coding and other non-core, business support jobs to the Philippines, either through independent BPO providers or through in-house back offices,” Romulo said.

He earlier predicted that Obamacare would benefit Filipino health care professionals and the Philippines’ BPO sector.

The US law puts pressure on health insurers to lower their premiums and expand their coverage of uninsured Americans regardless of pre-existing conditions or sex.

Romulo said UnitedHealth Group Inc. is also enlisting Filipino nurses and other fresh college graduates for training and employment opportunities as transition managers, assistant managers, team leaders, specialists handling health care accounts, customer service representatives and medical coders, whether certified or not.

As the largest health benefits provider in the US, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth has back offices in Taguig, Quezon City, Makati and Cebu City.

Romulo authored the Data Privacy Act of 2012, which has helped attract global corporations to outsource to the Philippines.

The law mandates all entities, including BPO firms, to protect the confidentiality of personal information collected from clients and stored in information-technology (IT) systems, in accordance with international privacy standards.

The IT and Business Processing Association of the Philippines sees the industry yielding up to $26 billion in annual revenues and directly employing some 1.3 million Filipinos by 2016.

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