Paying to travel to other hospitals

  1. Hello,
    I am trying to gain insight on what my hospital is legally allowed to do.
    I work in the emergency room at a healthcare system that has 6 other hospitals under it's care. There has been talk about having some of us travel during our shift to the other hospitals to provide trauma care. I know some readers may think this is what is called a "flex" or "snap" position, but it is not. We do have nurses who are assigned to go to different hospital's EDs each day called a Flex RN. This new travel idea is to simply designate a nurse each shift to be ready to drive in the middle of his/her shift to another facility for a trauma. After finishing up with said trauma, the nurse is expected to finish out his/her shift at their normal home hospital.
    My main question is this, What are the legal considerations I should weigh if my hospital has me do this? Can they pay for my mileage? Can they pay for my auto insurance? Is there particular insurance I should buy outside auto and malpractice?

    Thank you for your time. I look forward to the responses.
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   MunoRN
    They are required to pay you during the time you are travelling but aren't generally required to pay for mileage, gas, etc, unless you could prove that these costs would reduce your effective pay rate to less than minimum wage. It's a bit unusual for businesses to decline to make mileage reimbursements since they can deduct these payments, unless they are infrequent short trips that would cost more to track and process than they'd save.
  4. by   Euro_Sepsis
    This sounds ridiculous.
  5. by   canoehead
    In Canada, if you were hired as a one hospital RN they can't make you change the job description or terms of employment (like take a 2 (or more) hospital assignment) without your consent. If you do not consent, and they insist, they have effectively fired you without cause, and you can sue.

    Constructive dismissal - Wikipedia
    Last edit by canoehead on Oct 21
  6. by   adventure_rn
    In my hospital, we call this an inter-campus float. Assuming the float is mandatory, we receive an inter-campus float differential in addition to our usual float differential. Float diff starts from the time you finish giving report on your home unit, so you are on the clock and receiving a float diff during transit. As Muno said, I believe that they have to pay you for the travel time between the units, but once you clock out they don't have to pay for the drive home (even if it's substantially longer).

    I live in a big city where many people don't have cars; if we are mandatory floated and don't have a car, my hospital has to give us a cab voucher in both directions (about ~$50 each way). However, I've never heard of them paying for gas, and definitely not for auto insurance. I can't imagine why you'd need any additional insurance coverage. In fact, if you were to get in an accident during your travel, the hospital could be held liable since at the time you'd be "on the clock."

    Unlike canoehead, my hospital has a clause in our union contract which states that we are obligated to comply with inter-campus floats in case of patient safety concerns (specifically, if there aren't enough nurses on the other campus to safely care for the patients). Your hospital policies or union contract may have a similar clause, in which case I don't think you can refuse without risking termination.
  7. by   sissiesmama
    Quote from Euro_Sepsis
    This sounds ridiculous.
    My thought exactly!
  8. by   Pixie.RN
    Quote from Euro_Sepsis
    This sounds ridiculous.
    Agreed. Terrible idea. The hospital would be 100% liable if employees got into accidents on the way over, I would assume.

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