Health care staffing challenges in the wake of Affordable Care Act

The health care industry as such for the last several decades has been an engine of job growth for the U.S. economy with a latest report from Joint Center for Political and Economic studies opining that about 4.6 million new health care jobs would be created in the next ten years. Health Industry experts predict that there would be an incessant demand for nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and Registered Nurses or RNs’ with  advanced practical skills. The demand for these professionals is due to fact that they perform majority of the work done by physicians at a lower cost.

It is further expected that health care executives would seek ways to contain core operating costs of which staffing is a major component. The introduction of the Affordable health Care Act would further help in stimulating the job growth in this sector. With more and more services coming under the ambit of health care services, especially primary health care there will be a necessity to increase the supply of workers to meet the demand. This growth is expected to produce new job offers or opportunities for Americans in health care occupations that range from entry-level positions to highly trained professionals.

There is also a challenge for this sector to find qualified Registered Nurses or RNs, as there is a slowing trend in nursing school enrolment. Even though the number of students for nursing degrees is rising, it is rising at a slower pace than in previous years.  During 2011, the health care industry emerged as the largest labor sector of the U.S. economy employing about 12% of the total labor force and the industry has even maintained high employment rates during Great Recession that began in 2007. The unemployment rate in the health care industry in 2011 was 5% less than the half that of the non-health sector of economy (11%).

The Affordable Health Care Act is compelling the health care providers to move to a value-based model of care that in turn is forcing hospital administrators to rethink about the way they are doing the things as of now. The top priority for health care CFOs’ as such remains finding news sources of revenues by the creation of ambulatory care centers that require additional staff having NP, PA and APRN credentials.