Labor Shortages Plague the Healthcare Sector

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The Healthcare Association of New York State, HANYS) conducts periodic surveys on issues affecting the health care profession in that state. One recent HANYS study showed that 80% of participating hospitals in New York indicated a nursing shortage. No surprise there since the federal Bureau of Health Professions projects a shortage of New York nurses of nearly 37,000 by 2015. Quoting a recent press release from HANYS to announce survey findings; "The health care needs of “baby boomers” are growing. New York State’s population age 65 and older increased by 25% between 1980 and 2000." According to a recent article in the Times Union, the healthcare labor shortage and workforce dilemma in the New York system is not just limited to a shortage of nurses. The article explored the incentives that hospitals were now offering to potential hires as a way to attract needed Respiratory Therapists to the profession. In one case, students from Hudson Valley Community College were learning how to use high tech breathing equipment while working with patients in intensive care at Albany Medical Center Hospital. As an incentive for future employment contracts, these students were getting their tuition paid by the hospital. Another recent HANYS study, "Falling Short: A Workforce in Decline," shared that:
  • 82% of New York hospitals report difficulty finding lab technicians
  • 79% reported that pharmacists and physical therapists are hard to find
  • 63% reported that nursing positions were the most difficult to fill
  • 34% found it difficult to find imaging technicians
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting that Health care industry will generate 3 million new wage and salary jobs between 2006 and 2016, more than any other industry. Additionally, from 2002-2012, half of the 20 fastest growing occupations will be found in the health services sector. These positions include :
  • Medical Assistants - 59% growth
  • Physician Assistants - 49% growth
  • Home Health Aides - 48% growth
  • Medical Records and Health Information Technicians - 47% growth
The Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao has committed approximately $35 million to address this national labor shortage. Based on the forums conducted by health care professionals the department of labor will focus solutions in specific areas such as attracting more youth to healthcare options and enhancing the capacity of educational institutions to meet greater training needs. Vocational programs and career training that result in certificates or associate degrees offer great alternatives to get the required training quickly.

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  • Makaela
    That’s a great post!
  • surabhi
    nice information. I am also looking for home based medical transcription jobs
  • J. Shively
    J. Shively
    It seems like we all have pressing questions, but how does it help to ask questions, when there are no answers given to our questions?
  • Barbara
    Thanks for the statistics.  I am trying to transition from financial services to healthcare and finding some difficulties.  Any suggestions?
  • MM
    I find it interesting that the studies were done by the NYS Healthcare Assoc.  NY requires so many pre-requisites above and beyond.  Why should ACSP certified Med Techs & Med Lab Techs be required to prepare for a BOH exam as well?  The educational programs for health care are not out there; even if you wanted to work in the healthcare industry you may not have a program near you. The requirements for unpaid clinical practicum, which are critical, may be a factor when it comes to incurring additional debt.  The requirements for 24/7 coverage and mandatory overtime also come into play.  Skills learned in healthcare can be just as valuable in the private sector. The jobs are good but the commitment is significant.
  • Kelly Kline Engaldo
    Kelly Kline Engaldo
    Excellent!  These are the statistics we need in order to plan for the future.The agining populace in the US - and I am at the end of the babyboomers is a cultural shift we must plan for and be ready.I volunteer at the front desk and escort patients.  As more of the workforce is "retire" we will be forced to have more of the customer service jobs slated in a volunteer post.Hospital administrators need to plan well for these shortages.  I want great care when I age.Thank you very much for the post.
  • Kim Sullivan, CPC
    Kim Sullivan, CPC
    I think the reason it is hard to get on as a CPC is because the people hiring and training don't have the resources to train and are flying by the seat of their pants.
  • Jayla
    The health care industries are some of the most recession proof jobs that are always available. Even in our current economic status, healthcare is still experiencing growth. There are also many options you can take when deciding on which field you would like to work in. You could be a medical call center specialist , a medical coder, a medical transcriptionist,etc All of these jobs you can work from the comfort of your own home
  • nurse triage
    nurse triage
    We should all be able ask a nurse a question from personal health questions to disease management and be able to get a straight answer without getting charged a million dollars
  • Gitelle
    If health care has such a difficult time finding people to place into positions, why is it so hard to break into the field?
  • Wanda Thornton
    Wanda Thornton
    Hi Nada and thank you for stating the obvious in your posting.  Myself making a long story brief, I am 50 years old and decided when I was 48 that I needed to add to my education for the long term to have job opportunities until I retire, that is looking forward 15+ years.  My former job qualities included admin. asst., customer service, medical transcription and being analytical about everything with detail and following through. Can you tell I worked with engineers for a long period of time?In any case, I attended the Career Institute of Florida for Medical Coding and Billing for one year and graduated in December 2007.  I attempted twice to pass the CPC exam and failed.  I applied for medical billing positions for six months and was rejected due to the cause of no prior experience with exception of externship of 40 hours and also I save the company $4000 in one week. I am very thankful for unemployment payments as this has helped me to survive. What is a girl/woman to say, you go to school to get educated and then need employers that will give you a chance to prove yourself and apply the fundamentals learned.  Well as of September 2008 that is not happening and I have accepted a part time job as data base administer due to my former training.  From what I understand and have learned in school that in 2009 all medical facilities that process medical billing have to have at least one certified CPC person is mandatory to be on staff.  Maybe 2009 will be the year that everything changes due to requirements of Medicare and frivolous billing due to lack of back up documentation for codes submitted.  I hope that maybe I can attain part time employment in medical transcription or billing and kept my knowledge current as this is most important to any age person in the medical field.  In addition, ICD 10 will be international in 3 years and will demand the education to go along with it in order to give proper diagnosis codes.Myself, I would like to be a brain surgeon, but by the time I completed my education it would time to retire. In 1994 and 1995 I attended a Rice College in Memphis TN for medical secretary and only had an English class to complete before graduating and being certified, the school closed.  Well in 1996 the medical secretarial course because an Associate's degree and my credits were not University credits and thus did not transfer.  Then and at that time I left the potential medical field behind and went back to FedEx.  I hope employers will see the value of an education and put that foremost as in most cases it gives back.Thank you for your post and I have enjoyed sounding off on my frustrations regarding it.Sincerely,Wanda Thornton
  • Nada Zdrale, M.D.
    Nada Zdrale, M.D.
    I'd start by asking "Why aren't more people interested in the medical field whether it's as a nurse, doctor's assistant, lab tech., etc.  A profession in the medical field has so much to offer but does require a mature attitude when it comes to understanding and learning.  Quite possibly the majority of our nation's 18-30 year olds aren't confident enough to open the door to healthcare opportunities.

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