How Healthcare Reform Will Likely Impact Hiring
Demand for the services of healthcare workers will increase.That much we can say about healthcare hiring in the wake of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In its 1,000-plus pages, the reform legislation’s broad-stroke system changes and neuron-numbing details will not only create jobs; the far-reaching plan will also change the career paths of many experienced or aspiring health professionals as the system lumbers toward universal coverage with an emphasis on primary care.
But what clinical positions will healthcare organizations need to fill to meet the increased demand, and when? Much won’t be known for a few years, as the new law’s many provisions make their staged entrances. Still, the legislation’s major emphases will have somewhat predictable effects on the healthcare labor economy.
And what will be the magnitude of job creation? Perhaps not as enormous as some of headline healthcare-reform numbers suggest.
Because Medicare today covers virtually the entire population age 65 and up, nearly all of the estimated 32 million people who will become covered under healthcare reform by 2014 are younger Americans who require fewer healthcare services. And “uninsured Americans already receive about 50 percent of the care they will receive when insured,” says Charles Roehrig, director of the Altarum Center for Studying Health Spending, a research and consulting organization with clients in government and the private sector.
So it turns out the total increase in provided healthcare will be about 3 percent, Roehrig says. And since younger patients use more ambulatory care, outpatient services will see the greatest increase in demand.
A Greater Mix of Providers for Preventive, Primary Care
The reform law’s emphasis on primary care will have cascading effects on several clinical occupations. “Physicians can’t be trained overnight, so healthcare employers will leverage their M.D.’s with nurse practitioners and physician assistants,” says Roehrig. “Everything will be pushed so that everyone is performing right up to their education level.” Along with these licensed providers, demand for medical assistants will see a boost, he adds.
And the pressure to move some tasks off the plates of physicians won’t stop at hospitals and more states will license them to practice on their own,” says John Salerno, DO, a family physician in New York. As the demand for advanced-practice nurses rises, the perennial shortage of bedside RNs will likely intensify.
“With the increased demand for NPs, there will be further demand to backfill for RNs,” says Pete Ferguson, senior vice president for health and life sciences at staffing firm Yoh Services. So savvy healthcare employers are beefing up their perennial efforts to keep students and experienced nurses in the recruitment pipeline, even through this time of tight budgets.
By: John Rossheim, Monster Senior Contributing Writer