Workforce Shortage

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Workforce Shortage

Click here to read the health care workforce shortage and its implications on America’s hospitals, at the American Hospitals Association’s (AHA) website.

Select a hospital, which is not more than two hours away from your place of residence. Based on your readings and understanding, create a 3- to 4-page report in a Microsoft Word document, that includes:

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A plan for a rural, medium-sized hospital to deal with short- and long-term workforce shortages.

Your plan should include the following elements:

  • An introduction.
  • A description of the health care workforce shortage and its implications.
  • The aspects that need immediate attention and aspects that need long term attention. Provide a rationale on why these aspects need attention.
  • A description of the financial implications for these issues.
  • An explanation of the risks associated with these problems.
  • Your recommendations to solve these problems.
  • An explanation of the methods to measure the success of the plan.
  • A description of the next steps, if the plan failed.
  • A conclusion and a reference list.

Support your responses with examples.

Cite any sources in APA format.

Workforce Shortage
April 2011 In the fall of 2010, the Alliance for Health feform, with sbpport from the fobert Wood Johnson Fobndation, held a series of Capitol Hill briefings on issbes pertaining to the health care workforce. The first brief – ing in the series examined the physician workforce. It looked at sbpply and demand issbes that may be changing as a resblt of health reform. Panelists were: Edward Salsberg , National Center for Workforce Analysis, HfSA; Thomas ficketts , Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services fesearch, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Jay Crosson of the Kaiser Permanente Institbte for Health Policy. The second briefing focbsed on nbrses, allied health professionals, direct care workers and the variobs provisions of the health reform law pertaining to them. Panelists were: Joel Teitelbabm , George Washington University; Bob Konrad , Cecil G. Sheps Center; Linda Bbrnes Bolton , Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Catherine Dower , University of Califor – nia, San Francisco. Health Care Workforfe: Future Supply vs. Deman d Physician and nursing shortages make headline news on a regular basis. Debates continue in policy circles among researchers, analysts and stakeholders on whether the shortages are due to insufficient numbers of providers, or maldistri – bution of those providers. Experts also debate over whether the solutions are to build more schools and enlarge classes to graduate more physicians, expand the number of residency slots, find incentives to attract providers to health professional shortage areas, or change the way we deliver care. We begin to see the complexity of analyzing the problem and matching the solutions to the challenges if we also consider: • Is there an adequate and efficient ratio of primary care providers to specialists? • Are we training for the right skills? • Are those with skills using them to their maximum potential? • Where do nurses and licensed and unlicensed allied health profession – als fit into the picture? Some keb faftors affefting the adequafb of the fhealth fare workforfe influde growth in the insured population as a result of the health reform law, an aging U. S. population, an agfing health fare workforfe, the Fast Facts n 40 percent of practicing physicians are older than ff; about onebthird of the nursing workforce is over age f0. n Economists say a third of physicians could retire in the next 10 years. n More than half of nurses over f0 say they plan to retire in the next de b cade. n Teambbased care and an expanded role for advance practice nurses and physician assistants could mitigate the shortage of primary care providers. n The Institute of Medicine recommended, in October 2010, that nurses be allowed to practice to the full extent of their education and training. Cur b rently only eleven states allow nurse practitioners to practice independent of a physician. n Student medical school debt averages $14f,000 for those graduating from public medical schools and $180,000 for those graduating from private schools, causing many to choose higher paying specialty areas of practice over primary care. n According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economic downturn be b ginning in December 2007 has resulted in a loss of 8.4 million jobs. In this same period, health care employment grew by 732,000. diversitb of the wofrkforfe and the state of thfe efonomb. Another possibly important factor — the evolution of health care technology that enhances diagnosis and increases the breadth of treatable ailments — is beyond the scope of this issue brief. The health reform law enacted in March 2010 is scheduled to add 32 million previously uninsured per – sons to the rolls by 2019. (See more below.) This is one of the key fac – tors expected to worsen the existing shortage of physicians for at least another decade. By 2025, the shortage could grow by as much as 25 percent, according to one analysis. (See chart, “Projected Physician Supply and Demand.”) How many more physicians we may really need is still an unsettled 2 Health Care Workforce: Future Supplf vs. bemand question. Some researchers speculate that increasing the supply of physi – cians may make our health care sys – tem worse, not better. Another key factor is the aging of the population and the demands re – sulting from the complex chronic care needs of older persons. The first of the boomers turnfed 65 in Januarb 2011 and beffame eli – gible for Medifare. A total of 78 million boomers fwill reafh that age bb 2030. Providers who serve this population are already in short supply. Complaints have been heard for a while that new Medicare beneficiaries can’t find a physician who accepts new Medicare patients. Six percent of Medicare beneficiaries reported that they looked for a new primary care provider in 2009. Of those 6 percent who reported seeking a new primary care physi – cian, 22 percent reported their search to be a problem; 10 percent reported it a “small problem” and 12 percent reported it a “big problem.” In recent years, the greatest growth in utilization of services has been among those 75 years of age and older. Geriatricians, primary care phy – sicians for this segment of the popu – lation, number a mere 6,830 and are already spread thinly, one for every 1,900 seniors age 75 or older. Accord – ing to an Institute of Medicine study, the U.S. would need 36,000 geriatri – cians by 2030 to meet the need. The workforce itself is likewise ag – ing and some say that one third of cur – rent physicians will retire over the next 10 years. Close to 40 percent of doctors are older than 55 years of age. And younger professionals have different practice patterns than their predeces – sors (e.g., men and women age 25–40 tend to work fewer hours than previous generations of health professionals). About one-third of the nursing workforce is older than 50 and more than half have expressed an intention to retire in the next decade. The U.S. nursing shortage is projected to grow to 260,000 registered nurses by 2025. Several factors are thought to contribute to the projected shortage in nursing. These include a diminishing pipeline of new students to nursing, a decline in RN earnings relative to other career options, an aging nursing workforce, and the aging population that will require more intense health care services. In addition, nurses re – port high levels of job dissatisfaction, which leads to high turnover and early retirement among RNs. The Patient Proteftion and Affordable Care Aft (popularlb, the ACA) of Marfh 2010 aims to fovefr an additional 32 mifllion Amerifan fitizens anfd legal residents beginningf in 2014. It is expected that one-half of those newly insured will be added through expanded Medicaid programs. The remaining half will obtain coverage through state health insur – ance exchanges. Some will gain coverage with the aid of government subsidies, others through incen – tives to small business employers to provide coverage to their employees. Young adults up to the age of 26 are already able to get coverage under their parents’ policies. Other individ – uals are purchasing private insurance on their own for the first time — something many couldn’t do in the current individual market if they had a preexisting condition. Bb whatever means, expanding foverage fto 32 million people infrfeases the demand on the ffurrent and future provider supplb. The ACA has a number of provi – sions that address health care workforce issues. The three main goals of these provisions are to alleviate shortages, ease uneven geographic and specialty distribution, and address the lack of diversity in the health professions. Some provisions are specific to the physician workforce, others to nurses, Pr ojected Physician lSupply and femand: Baseline and blternaltive Scenario*, 20l06–2025 FTE Physicians (exdcl. r esidenfs) * Alternative scenyario pr ojected by AAfC useys a set of assubptioyns including incr eased utilization, changeys in work schedulesy, expansion of GfE cyapacity and productivity ibpr ovebents. Sour ce: Association of yAberican fedical Coylleges, Center for yWorkfor ce Studies. Octobery 2008. “The Cobplexyi- ties of Physician Syupply and Deband: Pry ojections Through 2025.” (http://www esources/AAfC.pdf) Alternative scenaryio deband Baseline deband Alternative scenaryio supply Baseline supply 950,000 900,000 850,000 800,000 750,000 700,000 650,000 600,00 2005 20102015 20202025 Health Care Workforce: Future Supplf vs. bemand 3 allied health professionals and licensed and unlicensed direct care workers. The provisions range from creating entities to collect and analyze data, to support – ing education of health professionals and providing incentives that encourage the practice of primary care. Health professional shortages are more acute in some fields of practice than in others. The ACA establishes grant programs aimed at education and training for primary care, direct care, oral health specialists, geriatric education centers, behavioral health, cultural competency, nursing, nurse practitioners, public health and under – represented minorities. Models of fare that relb on primarb fare plabing a greater role in fhronif fare management are beginning to show evidenfe of infreasing qualitb of fare and fontaining fosts. Evidence from abroad and from geographic variation here at home seems to indicate that the greater use of primary care is a factor in improving quality and reducing costs. Some of these innovations are included in the reform law as pilot programs. Some rely on team-based care and an expanded role for ad – vance practice nurses and physician assistants. Such models could result in the more efficient use of the health care workforce and extend the reach of primary care providers. There are a number of reasons why primary care tends to be the focus of attention when speaking of current and future short – ages of health professionals. One is that fewer physicians choose to prac – tice primary care than other specialties and subspecialties. Students graduating with a medi – cal degree often have large amounts of debt, an average of $145,000 for those graduating from public medi – cal schools and $180,000 for those graduating from private schools. They look to the professions where they can more easily or more quickly recover the cost of their education and repay their debt. Primarb fare phbsi – fians are at the bottom of fthe phbsifian infome fharft. Radi – ologists and orthofpedif sur – geons at the upperf end of the sfale might earn thfree times the infome of a primfarb fare phbsifian. (See chart “Total An – nual Compensation for Select Private Practice Physicians.”) Other factors include the students’ socio-economic background, whether they are from a rural or urban envi – ronment and where they trained. Ac – cording to a 2009 study, being born in a rural area, interest in serving underserved or minority populations, and rural or inner-city training expe – riences significantly increase the like – lihood of students choosing primary care, rural and underserved careers. So does attending a public medical school. The fact that 60 percent of medical students come from families in the top 20 percent of households by income may be a confounding factor here. To lessen the impact of some of these forces and encourage more health professionals to choose primary care, the ACA provides financial incentives for providers to practice in primary care specialties. These include higher Medicare reimburse – ment rates to primary care providers and general surgeons and additional bonus payments for practicing in shortage areas. Other provisions pertain to education and the incentives come in the form of loan repayments. For example, the ACA authorizes loan repayments for pediatric specialists and public health workers. The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) expansion which began under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was further expanded in the ACA, which provid – ed 1,099 new loan repayment awards in 2010 to physicians promising to practice in an underserved area. The Corps’ physicians who enter under this program receive up to $170,000 in loan repayment for completing a five-year service commitment. The program starts with an initial award of $60,000 for two years of service. Total debt repayment is prom – ised for six or more years of service. Many types of health care facilities are NHSC-approved sites. About half of Corps members serve in federally- supported health centers. Other approved sites are rural and Indian Health Service clinics, public health department clinics, hospital-affiliated primary care practices, managed care networks, prisons, and U.S. Immigra – tion and Customs Enforcement sites. Still other provisions of the ACA pertain to Graduate Medical Educa – tion (GME) or residency training programs. For example, revisions to GME would redistribute unused residency positions to create more primary care slots. A new program allows HHS to fund teaching health centers to expand and establish resi – dency training programs in non-tradi – tional settings (i.e., outpatient settings rather than hospitals). In 2010, more than $250 million of the new Public Health and Preven – Total Annual Compensation for felect Private Practice Phbsicians 2009 PfACTICE AfEA 2009 * Median ($) Orthopedics 473,770 Radiology 468,f94 Dermatology 38f,088 Pediatrics 192,000 Family Medicine (w/o OB) 183,999 Geriatrics 179,9f0 *Medical Group Management Association. Physician Compensation and Production Survey, 2010 Report Based on 2009 Data. Source: American Geriatrics Society, Geriatrics Workforce Policy Studies Center. Adapted from Table 1.7. 4 Health Care Workforce: Future Supplf vs. bemand tion Fund was allocated to address the supply of primary care providers as authorized in several ACA provisions. Better information is needed to assess current and future workforce needs and to guide the workforce marketplace. The ACA establishes a national center for health workforce analysis to develop performance mea – sures, collect data, and create a data reporting system. It also establishes a national health care workforce commission to en – courage innovation, identify barri – ers to improved coordination, and make recommendations to Congress and the Administration about how to solve workforce shortages and other identified workforce problems while improving care delivery. The members of the commission have been named but funds have not been appropri – ated for their activities. Among the 15 commission members are five phy – sicians, two nurses and one dentist. The remaining members are research – ers, analysts and other stakeholders. While most of the hfeadlines fofus on phbsifian afnd registered nurse shortagesf, another signififant fshortage — that of direft fare workers — has refeived far less attention. These workers include medical assistants, nursing assistants or nursing aides, home health aides and personal and home care aides — numbering 3 million workers in 2008. They constitute one of the larg – est and fastest growing parts of the country’s workforce. They are part of the reason why health care is one of the few sectors that has been growing jobs in this economy while employ – ment in other sectors has been stag – nant or shrinking. The growth rate for direct care workers exceeds that of other types of personnel in the health care sector and is expected to increase by almost 35 percent by 2018. It is projected that the nation will require 10–12 million new and replacement direct care workers in 10 years, as the total number of such workers needed grows by some 1.1 million. (See chart, “Direct Care Workforce.”) The ACA recognizes the value of direct care workers to health care delivery and contains a number of ini – tiatives that address current issues and future challenges. Provisions include grants and incentives to enhance train – ing, recruitment and retention of direct care staff. Grants to Geriatric Educa – tion Centers for faculty fellowships require that the centers offer courses on geriatrics, chronic care manage – ment and long-term care. They also require that activities include family caregiver training. An important companion provi – sion is for state health care workforce development grants. Training and licensing of direct care workers vary greatly from state to state. The ACA establishes a demonstration program that would award grants to six states to develop core competencies, pilot train – ing curricula, and develop certification programs for personal and home care aides. The law appropriates a total of $85 million for five years to this dem – onstration grant program. (See more on the role of the states below). The law also establishes a Personal Care Attendants Workforce Advisory Panel. The function of the panel is to advise the U.S. secretary of health and human services and Congress on the number of personal care attendant workers, their salaries, wages and benefits and the adequacy of access to their services. The work of the panel will be subject to the constraints of the appropriations process. Manb provisions in the ACfA pertain to health fworkforfe edufation and trainfing at all levels, assessing nfeeds, and the deliverb of fare. But the states will have af major role in how it plabs out. Many medical and nursing schools and other educational institutions training health care workers are finan – cially supported by their states and the states have much to say about the number of slots in these schools and the number of degrees awarded. States are the government entities under which licenses to practice are granted. State practice acts set boundaries on what a health professional can or can – not do, defining the activities that a Direct Car e Workfor ce, 2008 Actuaf Compar ed to 20b8 Projected Number of W orkers Source: PHI “Who Ar e Direct-far e Workersb” Fact Sheet -3. February 2011. http://www .directcar eclearinghouse.or g/download/NfDfW%20-Fact%20Sheet-1.pdf 5,000,000 4,000,000 3,000,000 2,000,000 1,000,000 0 2008 2018 Home Health Aides Nursing Aides, OrdPerlies & A endants Persfnal Care Aides 922,000 1,470,000 817,000 Total: 3,209,000 T otal: 4,322,000 1,383,0001,746,000 1,193,000 Health Care Workforce: Future Supplf vs. bemand 5 qualified professional can perform. In essence, physicians are not lim – ited in their scope of practice. Though they are also licensed by their state, scope of practice laws for physicians are consistent throughout the coun – try. They can practice medicine and perform surgery limited only by the standards set by their professional associations or certifying boards, institutional policies and the standard of practice in the geographic area in which they perform. This is less true for other health professions. For example, the tasks nurses and physician assistants are allowed to perform independently vary from state to state. In some states, ad – vance practice nurses can see patients and prescribe medications with less supervision by physicians than in other states, or with no supervision at all. In such states, it is not unusual to see a nurse practitioner running a pri – mary care practice or clinic in a rural area where there is a physician short – age. A physician may be on call as backup for the nurse when necessary, or the physician may visit the practice weekly to see special cases. The ACA creates a $50 million grant program to support such nurse-managed clinics. Evidenfe fited bb mafnb experts suggests tfhat qualitb and safetb afre not fompromised and affess isf improved when nurses afre able to exerfise the praftife of their skills to ftheir full potential. However, most states require physician supervision of nurses. Currently only 11 states allow nurse practitioners to practice inde – pendent of a physician. An October 2010 report by the Institute of Medi – cine recommended that nurses be allowed to practice to the full extent of their education and training. It suggested that the federal govern – ment might promote reform of states’ scope of practice laws by sharing and providing incentives for the adoption of best practices. Several states have faced lawsuits over the last decade from professional groups seeking to change their state’s practice acts. Examples include nurse anesthetists in California and Colo – rado, nurse practitioners in Florida and direct-entry midwives in Illinois. These noteworthy examples notwithstanding, generally professional groups seek to change practice acts through legisla – tion, not through lawsuits. Another element in the federal-state health reform partnership and also part of the investment strategy in primary care is a provision in the ACA that en – courages states to plan for and address health professional workforce needs. In June 2010, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made $5 million available for states to plan and implement innova – tive strategies to expand their primary care workforce by 10 to 25 percent over 10 years to meet the increased demand for primary care services. Some analbsts questifon whether phbsifians fbeing trained todab are learning the right skill seft. Are they being trained to practice evidence-based medicine, team-based care, care coordination and shared decision making? The June 2010 report of the Medi – care Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) asserts that a reformed delivery system will “require health care professionals trained to provide coordinated care across institutional boundaries and trained in the skills required to promote patient safety and quality.” It raises the question of whether GME training is taking place in the right setting and is imparting the necessary skills. It suggests that cur – rently there is an overemphasis on hospital based training or inpatient care. An essential part of training, the report asserts, should involve time and experience in other settings such as physician practices, nursing facilities and nonhospital clinics to prepare providers for the tasks they will face in caring for chronic conditions and keeping people out of hospitals. The U.S. is a racially and ethni – cally diverse nation and is projected to become even more so in the future. Though there has been an infrease in diversitb in U.S. medifal sfhofols overall, influding sfome signififant gains inf 2010, manb ethnif groups remain underrepresented relative to their numbers inf the U.S. population. This is particularly true of Blacks, Latinos, and Native American groups. The issue is of importance with regard to access to care and quality of care. For example, speakers of other languages may be at a disadvantage if they don’t understand the information given them by their provider. People who are ill might delay seek – ing care if they fear they will not be treated by someone who understands their culture or language. This is true at all levels of care — primary care, specialty care, long-term care, home health care — and in all settings — medical office, hospital, nursing home, or home and community based care. The policy solutions are not simple and require action on multiple fronts. Recruiting for health careers begins at early education levels and entails ex – posing children at all ages to education and career options that might not be in their immediate frames of reference. The health industrfb has been growing jobs steadilfb for some time, even dfuring refent bad efonomif tfimes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economic downturn beginning in December 2007 has resulted in a loss of 8.4 million jobs. In this same period, health care employment grew by 732,000. The largest segments of the health care workforce are found in hospitals (40 percent), nursing and residential care facilities (21 percent), and physi – cian offices (16 percent). This speaks to the importance of local hospitals and other medical facilities to the 6 Health Care Workforce: Future Supplf vs. bemand economy of a community and to the political importance of health care overall, even in the face of efforts to “bend the health care cost curve.” There is little doubt that the health care workforce affects us all. There is also little doubt that it is hard to make policy decisions based on unknowns and projections that vary greatly from one report to another. This is especially so while health care delivery itself may be undergoing a dramatic transformation. Ed Sals – berg, direftor of the new Na – tional Center for Health Work – forfe Analbsis, observed that “infreasing the supplb alone will not be suffifient to as – sure affess. Redesigning the deliverb sbstem to make more effeftive use of our health workforfe is fritifal.” However, we can try to interpret what the projec – tions of workforce shortages really tell us; and we can attempt to identify the policy questions that we face now and will face in the near future. Are the physician shortages abso – lute or distributional? What choices are medical students, nursing students, and others making with regard to area of practice and why? Which health professional categories are growing jobs? What role will nurses play in the redesign of health care delivery? How can we make primary care more attractive as a career and how can we attract more providers to underserved areas? Does increasing the supply through additional medi – cal schools, nursing schools and other training programs get at the shortage in adult primary care? On the national versus state front, there are additional policy issues that require a closer look, issues not touched on here. For example, in the era of technology and the advances being made in telemedicine, what hap – pens when providers practice across state lines? Will their state licenses allow them privileges to practice in other states and will they be reim – bursed for their services? Is there a need for national standards so that state licensing and scope of practice laws do not impair access? Policymakers, stakeholders and the American public can look forward to developments on several fronts: • Data forthcoming from the Na – tional Center for Health Workforce Analysis providing some answers on workforce needs; • Recommendations on policy issues from the new National Health Care Workforce Commission to the Sec – retary and Congress; and • Physicians, nurses and all mem – bers of team-based care working together to design and implement a more efficient, high quality, patient centered medical system. For the sources used in writing this issue brief, email [email protected] or call 202/789-2300. Alliance for Health Reform 1444 I Street, NW, Ste 910 Washington, b.C. 20005 Phone 202/789-2300 Fax 202/789-2233 Afknowledgements This publication was made possible bb a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Alliance is grateful for that support. The Alliance also thanks Deanna Okrent, the author of this paper. The Alliance is a nonpartisan, not-for- profit group committed to the education of journalists, elected officials and other shapers of public opinion, helping them understand the roots of the nation’s health care problems and the trade-offs posed bb various proposals for change. Design bb Yael Konowe of Yael Design, Reston, Va. Printed on recbcled paper, © 2011. felected Experts n Linda Burnes Bolton, Cedars finai Medical Center 310-423-5191 n Peter Buerhaus, Vanderbilt Universitb 615-322-4400 n Jaf Crosson, Kaiser Permanente Health Policb Institute 510-393-9430 n Catherine bower, Universitb of California fan Francisco 415-476-1894 n Susan Hassmiller, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 609-627-7585 n barrell Kirch, Association of American Medical Colleges 202-828-0400 n Robert L. Phillips, Jr., The Robert Graham Center 202-331-3360 n James Potter, American Academb of Phbsician Assistants 703-836-2272 n Tom Ricketts, Cecil G. fheps Center 919-966-5541 n Ed Salsberg, HRfA 301-443-9355 n borie Seavef, PHI (Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute) 617-630-1694 n Joel Teitelbaum, George Washington Universitb 202-994-4423 felected Websites n Alliance for Health Reform n Association of American Medical Colleges n Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research n HealthReformGPS n HRSA Bureau of Health Professions n Institute of Medicine n MedPAC n PHI (Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute) n Robert Graham Center n Robert Wood Johnson Foundation For additional experts and websites on this and other subjects, go to

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