Healthcare Jobs Picking Up Once Again

The latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) are good news for the healthcare industry. Steady growth in October and November indicate that the number of healthcare jobs being created is once again picking up steam after several years of less-than-expected growth. Things look very good heading into 2015.

Here are some of the raw numbers from the BLS:

  • 28,500 hospital jobs added so far this year
  • 4,300 hospital jobs added in November alone
  • 261,000 new hires over the last 12 months.

Most impressive is the fact that the traditional doctor’s office led the way between October and November this year. Statistics show physician offices added about 6,600 jobs. Home healthcare added an additional 5,000 jobs during the same period as well. Unfortunately, nursing homes and assisted living facilities continue to show gradual decline.

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Industry Making Adjustments

The question now being asked is whether the up-tick in healthcare jobs is the result of an expanding industry or just a matter of the industry making adjustments in response to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Common sense seems to dictate it is the latter of the two choices. The ACA has resulted in some very profound changes in the way healthcare services will be delivered for years to come. It only makes sense that it would also affect hiring in both the short and long terms.

Some speculate that hiring has not been as robust as it should have been over the last couple of years while we all waited to see what the effects of the ACA would be. In addition, there were those who painted a picture rosier than was appropriate when the ACA was first made law, failing to take into account that it would take several years to implement it. The combination of factors perhaps created an illusion that healthcare was not hiring as many people as it should while, in reality, hiring remained at an appropriate level all along.

Regardless of which camp you fall into, nothing changes the fact that healthcare jobs are picking up once again. The increased hiring is expected to continue into next year, as 2015 marks the beginning of the employer mandate. If the 30 million number (the number of individuals estimated to access healthcare services as a result of the ACA) is ever going to be reality, it will happen in 2015. If it does not happen next year, it is not likely to happen unless something else changes.

Hiring Trends – Where Will They Go?

So far this year it appears as though the biggest winners in the healthcare jobs race have been physician offices, home healthcare companies, and healthcare IT firms. No one knows for sure if these trends will continue in 2015 and beyond, but there is plenty of optimism to go around.

Where physician offices are concerned, the primary care doctor and his or her physician assistant and nurse practitioner are the backbone of the U.S. healthcare system. All three positions will be in greater demand if 30 million new people do in fact begin accessing healthcare as a result of the ACA. It is unavoidable.

Meanwhile, an aging population and the pending retirement of the first wave of baby boomers should increase the need for home healthcare services over the next several decades, while healthcare IT has already proven to be a vital asset in trying to marry the ACA with the HITECH Act of 2009. Between the both of them, there should be no shortage of healthcare jobs over the next 5 to 10 years.

Hospital Jobs and the Nicotine Question

Colorado’s Centura Health is set to implement a brand-new hiring policy. As of the New Year, the statewide health system will not hire anyone who uses nicotine products of any kind, including approved nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) such as nicotine patches and gums. They will require screening prior to hire as a means of enforcing the ban. How will this affect hospital jobs in the state of Colorado? No one knows for sure, but there will most definitely be some impact.

Officials from Centura say the decision was the right one in light of the fact that healthcare systems are working to ensure the health and well-being of others. Centura spokesperson Wendi Dammann said her employer is setting the example as a role model in order to better serve their patients. For now, the policy does not affect any of the 17,000 workers currently employed by Centura.

For the record, Centura Health is not the first healthcare system to implement a nicotine free policy. According to CNBC, the Cleveland Clinic began enforcing its own ban way back in 2007. Another healthcare system in Pennsylvania is set to implement a ban of their own from January 1, as well.

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A Case of Discrimination?

Critics of these kinds of bans claim that they are nothing more than discrimination against one group of people based on a public perception that smoking is not socially acceptable. Others say such actions are necessary in order to place people in hospital jobs that are able to lead by example. Unfortunately, the whole idea of refusing to hire based on nicotine use opens the door to many more problems.

Sure, tobacco smoking is harmful to one’s health. Nevertheless, scientific evidence shows that the use of nicotine, separate from smoking and under controlled circumstances, is largely benign. Furthermore, NRTs are routinely recommended to people trying to quit smoking. Can you imagine the stress of nurses or technicians trying to quit at the same time they are looking for employment? Could it be that denying them the opportunity to work while they are trying to quit would be enough stress to send them right back to smoking?

One must also consider the possibility of eventually expanding restrictions on nicotine to other behaviors deemed to be unhealthy. There may come a day when hospitals refuse to hire people who eat certain kinds of foods or fail to get enough exercise to satisfy generally recognized standards for good health. And what about alcohol?

The improper use of alcohol is related to all sorts of diseases and accidental death. How many people wind up in hospitals every day due to some sort of problem related to alcohol?

Think Things Through

The point of raising this issue is not to say whether the decision by Centura Health is either right or wrong. Rather, it is to encourage people to stop and think things through. Oftentimes we act or react without doing so, resulting in unintended consequences. This situation is no different.

The industry is already struggling to fill open hospital jobs with qualified workers. Why? Because there are just not enough people available to meet the current demand for healthcare. That demand is not going to get any less once the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act is complete next year. To start turning away nicotine users – without regard to why they are using the drug – is to shoot ourselves in the foot.

Hospital jobs are there for the taking by anyone who qualifies. Just be sure you know the qualifications before you apply, especially where nicotine is concerned.

How Would the Borg Approach Healthcare Hiring?

Fans of the Star Trek franchise are familiar with the alien species known as the Borg. The Borg grows and expands by assimilating other species into a technology-based collective mainframe in which individuality and independent thought our completely lost. Comparing this fictional alien species with current trends in healthcare hiring leads us to wonder how the Borg would deal with open healthcare jobs. How would they go about the hiring process?

In the “good old days,” the hiring process for any job sector was fairly predictable. Companies would list their openings in the local classifieds while job seekers would go through the ads looking for positions they were interested in. Resumes would be sent, sit-down interviews would be arranged, and the best candidates would be hired. How modern technology has changed things, though.

Today we rely so heavily on digital technology that we have completely taken the human element out of healthcare hiring. Everything from job postings to candidate profiling is done in an atmosphere of Big Data and complex analytics. The modern job candidate is more likely to be assimilated because of his or her qualifications rather than hired because of what he or she contributes to the workplace environment.

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The Human Disconnect

If you are having trouble wrapping your brain around the modern hiring environment, a good illustration is the resume. It used to be that the resume was an opportunity to tell a future employer all about yourself, your education, and even your outside interests and hobbies. Today, anything other than job-specific qualifications is considered extemporaneous information. Not only do HR managers not need to see that extra information, they do not have time to consider it.

We exacerbate the problem further by relying too heavily on e-mail and text messages to communicate. While those technologies are certainly efficient during the initial stages of the hiring process, relying on impersonal communications throughout robs the recruiter or HR manager of the opportunity to really get to know a candidate. This reduces hiring to little more than a numbers game.

A stack of resumes on an HR manager’s desk becomes nothing more than workplace litter in the midst of hundreds of healthcare jobs that need to be filled. So rather than looking at human beings capable of filling those jobs, hiring managers are reduced to looking at ink on paper. It really is a shame.

Job Seeker Communication

As a job seeker, there is not much an individual can do to change the modern hiring paradigm. It is what it is. However, the successful candidate does not have to allow him or herself to be limited by the technology age. He or she can seize every opportunity to open channels of personal communication that will enable him or her to demonstrate the person behind the resume.

For example, it is easy to respond to a recruiter’s request for more information by way of a simple e-mail and document attachment. Nevertheless, it’s better to call the recruiter and talk to him or her in person. The job seeker can use that opportunity to show a genuine, friendly interest in the employer with a phone call that need not last more than a couple of minutes.

Yes, it’s more work to go above and beyond technology to make personal connections. No, that is probably not how the Borg would approach filling healthcare jobs. Nonetheless, in a day and age when the competition for the best jobs is as fierce as it has ever been, making the effort to establish lines of personal communication can mean all the difference in the world. Especially if you want to be hired rather than assimilated.

More Medical Jobs and Greater Efficiency: A Colossal Juxtaposition

We have a problem in the healthcare delivery system, a problem that is not being talked about by politicians or industry leaders. What is the problem? It is the clear and colossal juxtaposition between adding more medical jobs and increasing healthcare delivery efficiency. The two cannot coexist on the same plane. However, you would never know it by listening to the utopian prognostications we hear so often.

Until the problem is addressed openly and pragmatically, no real improvements will be made to the business side of healthcare. Costs will continue to go up, service delivery will continue to be inefficient, and patient outcomes will be negatively affected. There really is no way around it.

Efficiency Is a Job Killer

The healthcare industry is remarkable in many aspects, not the least of which is the insistence of its leaders that efficiency can be achieved without sacrificing jobs. Nowhere else in the marketplace of reality is this observable. The truth is that efficiency is a job killer by necessity.

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Take the auto industry, for example. In the earliest days of assembly-line manufacturing, plants employed thousands of workers needed to build the numerous components and assemble them for sale and delivery. As one decade transitioned to the next, the efficiency of the assembly line was improved by changing assembly methods and introducing new technologies. The auto manufacturing plant of today utilizes a fraction of its former workforce while producing more vehicles than ever before.

The result of this increased efficiency is higher quality vehicles that cost less money to produce. Does that not sound like what we are trying to achieve in healthcare? For years, we have been trying to reform the healthcare industry in order to make it more efficient while at the same time improving the quality of care. Now we are adding to those efforts by focusing on getting consumers more involved with their own care by taking control of the decision-making process.

If we actually succeed in making healthcare more efficient and cost-effective, the net result would be fewer traditional medical jobs in the marketplace.

Non-Traditional Medical Jobs

Behind closed doors, policymakers are terrified of embracing any sort of efficiency that will cost a local community its healthcare jobs. More often than not, hospitals and healthcare service providers are among the largest employers at the local level. Jeopardizing jobs is not good public relations. Yet being fearful of cutting medical jobs might be the wrong way to look at it.

Again, let us use the auto industry as an example. Increased efficiency did result in the loss of manufacturing jobs on the assembly line. However, it gave rise to a completely new industry of support services. People were needed to design and build the machinery to run the new, more efficient plants. Scientists and researchers were needed to push forward with research and development. New car dealerships were established to head up sales and marketing efforts. In the end, the manufacturing plant’s job losses were the job gains of other businesses.

Medical jobs may be lost in terms of direct patient care with improved delivery efficiency. At the same time, new jobs will be created in medical IT, billing and coding, healthcare administration and many other areas. And that’s the way we have to look at it. We cannot allow a changing landscape of medical jobs to prevent us from embracing efficiency and cost reductions. Otherwise, nothing will truly change.

More medical jobs and increased efficiency is a colossal juxtaposition that needs to be addressed, sooner rather than later. Are there policymakers willing to bring it up?

Houston: a Model for Medical Jobs and Healthcare Expansion

Outside of Texas, Houston is thought of as a business center with a focus nearly entirely on oil. However, they know better inside the Lone Star State. People who live and work in Texas know that Houston is one of the leading cities in America for healthcare delivery, research, and biomedical technology. They know there are more medical jobs open in Houston than any other single kind of employment.

According to the Houston Business Journal, the city’s five hospital systems take the top five spots for the number of open positions currently available in Houston. Among the top 20 companies with the most available job postings, the vast majority are in the healthcare delivery or research field. Houston Methodist has 1,600 openings all by itself. Nevertheless, it gets better.

The Greater Houston Partnership says Houston is home to “more than 190 life sciences and biotechnology companies as well as academic partnerships; more than 130 cutting-edge hospitals and health clinics, and some of the country’s top research facilities.” Indeed, a city made famous by oil and computer technology has embraced healthcare in a big way. So how are they doing it?

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One Step Ahead

They say that everything is big in Texas. Where business is concerned, going big or going home is the mindset. Nonetheless, going big requires a certain way of thinking. It requires a proactive mindset rather than one content to deal only with today. That is the difference with Houston. For decades, they have been planning to have more medical jobs; they have been planning to expand facilities and improve infrastructure; they have been planning to compete to bring new medical technology companies to their area.

Nowhere is Houston’s planning strategy more evident than in facility construction and infrastructure. Houston Methodist’s Willie French explained to the Houston Business Journal that when his company builds healthcare facilities, they are built in such a way as to make adding new floors easy. As a facility’s needs grow, they simply add upward space. There is no disruption of current service or land-use issues to worry about.

It is that sort of thinking that has helped Houston become one of the most important medical centers in America. It is also that sort of thinking that has recruiters looking outside of Houston, and the entire state of Texas for that matter, in order to fill all of the available medical jobs with the best talent.

Learning from Houston

There is a lot to love about the American medical system. However, there is also room for improvement in many areas, not the least of which is bringing the business side of healthcare out of the reactionary mindset of the 1970s and 80s and into the visionary mindset of the 21st century.

The healthcare industry as a whole could learn a lot from what they are doing in Houston. Texas’ largest city is a model for medical jobs, healthcare delivery and research because it has created an environment that is not dominated primarily by insurance companies and government interests. It is a consumer-driven market in which patient outcomes genuinely matter. That is the direction the entire country must go in if we are to continue to have the best healthcare system in the world.

As for job hunters, Houston is the place to be if you are looking for cutting-edge medical jobs in research and technology. Jobs involving direct patient care are in large supply as well. It is hard to beat Houston as one of the leading healthcare markets in the country and a great place to live and work.

Healthcare Jobs and Careers: There’s a Big Difference

The next few months will see career fairs being presented at high schools all over the country. Among the variety of assembled presenters, the healthcare industry will be represented by nurses, home health aides, and a long list of others. The question is one of how will the information be presented? Will students learn about healthcare jobs or healthcare careers? Needless to say, there is a big difference.

Students who start thinking about career choices in high school are much more likely to be willing to sit down with parents and advisers to chart out a blueprint for a career path. Those who think only in terms of getting a job are less likely to do so. Therefore, it is better for recruiters to concentrate on the idea of establishing a career. At the end of the day, the industry needs more career workers and fewer jobholders.

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Planning a Healthcare Career

In the days before a college education was the norm, a young person began training for his or her career through an apprenticeship or a vocational program. It was just assumed that once an apprenticeship began, the individual in question would stick with that career choice for the remainder of his or her working life. The result was a focused approach on a career rather than a job.

Today, we can still develop the same thing. We can recruit young people into healthcare by encouraging them to think about a long-term career. With that objective in mind, we can help them chart out a plan to reach their career goals. Yes, they will have to take some related healthcare jobs along the way toward establishing a career, but the pursuit of a career will remain the primary goal.

Planning should include key elements: where the student will go to school, what types of courses he or she will be taking, what additional experience can be gained, and how he or she intends to break into the industry after graduation. Having a plan in place prior to graduating from high school makes it a lot easier for the student to pursue career goals with a single mind. As with anything else, a solid plan is the key to success. Without a plan, the chances of failure increase substantially.

Career Development

Maintaining a healthcare career is just as important as planning for it when you are young. It requires a regular assessment of things such as current circumstances, past failures and successes, and future goals. Here are some important things to consider in developing and maintaining a healthcare career:

  • History – The various healthcare jobs an individual has held in the past all contribute to what the individual will become in the future. Therefore, each job should be considered another opportunity to advance one’s career. Each job should be viewed as a stepping-stone to the future.
  • Career Goals – Career goal do change over time. That’s okay. A regular assessment of one’s goals helps to clarify how to pursue the future.
  • Current Environment – Once you have been in the job market for a number of years, it is easy to see that the current environment is not the same as when you first started working. Things change. Being able to adapt to those changes in order to advance career goals is part of the game.

There is a big difference between healthcare jobs and careers. For some a job is sufficient, but for those interested in a career, greater effort is needed. There must be an emphasis on career planning, regular assessment of career goals, and the continual pursuit of future career development. That is how you succeed.

Medical Coders in High Demand at U.S. Hospitals

Healthcare reform may not have created all of the new doctor and nurse positions originally anticipated, but that does not mean it hasn’t created any private practice or hospital jobs. In fact, one of the areas of greatest need is that of qualified medical coders. For example, CNBC recently reported on a Missouri-based provider looking to hire 300 new coders over the next year-and-a-half.

What is driving the desperate need for medical coding professionals? New coding standards that were adopted as part of healthcare reform. The new standards, known as ICD-10, are scheduled to be fully implemented by this time next year. ICD-10 makes use of 140,000 codes – 123,000 more than the current system. The new system is intended to provide for greater detail that will ostensibly allow the system to improve patient outcomes through better control of treatment options.

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What a Medical Coder Does

A medical coder is a person who translates all of the records created by a healthcare provider into the codes that are then used by insurance companies for billing purposes. The codes cover everything from minor inpatient procedures to the most serious hospital treatments on the market. It is a job that requires an incredible amount of medical knowledge and attention to detail.

The problem healthcare facilities are facing in hiring medical coders is one of qualifications and skills. On the one hand, there are simply not enough coders being trained to fill all of the available clinic, office, and hospital jobs. Making matters worse is the realization that training alone may not be enough. Medical facilities need coders that are consistently accurate and reliable.

The coded data is what insurance companies will be using under healthcare reform to determine the effectiveness of specific types of care. If coders are not accurate in the data they enter, analysts will not be able to properly make use of the collected information. That would defeat the whole purpose of implementing a new system of 144,000 codes.

How to Become a Medical Coder

The medical coder position is not the same as the medical biller. The two disciplines may overlap at times, but they are distinctly different. The medical coder requires significantly more training and knowledge, including knowledge of human anatomy, physiology, and detailed medical terminology. Coders must also be familiar with all of the major insurance plans and how their corresponding codes work.

There are no official requirements for becoming a medical coder other than demonstrating a thorough knowledge of medical terminology, physiology, and anatomy. However, the job has become so intense that more and more healthcare facilities are requiring either a bachelor’s degree or a certification program resulting in accreditation from a recognized institution.

Organizations such as the AAPC expect medical coders to have at least two years of practical work experience or take the certification exam in order to be accredited. They also offer training courses that can be taken online or in a local classroom. The AHIMA is another accrediting organization requiring either a certified training program or commensurate experience in order to be accredited.

The competitive nature of medical coding and hospital jobs suggests the most reliable way to get into the medical coding profession is to take the appropriate training courses through a community college, vocational school or one of the accrediting organizations. The longest the process will take is two years, though some programs can be completed much more quickly. As soon as you graduate and earn your certificate, you should not have any problem landing one of the many private practice or hospital jobs out there.

Is Medical Device Tax Hurting Actual Jobs?

The medical device tax was one of the most publicly controversial aspects of the Affordable Care Act prior to the law’s implementation. The tax was widely seen by critics as a medical jobs killer and something that would add to the overall cost of healthcare by making medical equipment and devices more expensive. There is no doubt the latter is true; it is impossible to raise taxes without raising end-user prices. However, has the tax actually hurt medical jobs?

Stephen Ubi, CEO of the medical device trade group AdvaMed, says yes. At a recent Chicago conference, he told the assembled crowd that the medical device tax is killing jobs and reducing research and development budgets. He cited data from numerous reports that were also presented at the conference.

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On the other hand, another recently released report from UK-based EY says the medical device industry is doing quite well in the U.S. The report says revenues are up 4% this year, while R&D spending is up 6%. Even the number of employees working in the medical device field is up by some 5% this year. To the federal government however, the most important number is the 32% increase in net income for 2013.

EY says the increase in net income is deceiving. The report cites specific charges taken by Boston Scientific in the previous year, negatively affecting net income for 2012. When you account for the residual effect of those charges, net income for 2013 remained flat.

Income Equals Jobs

Despite some of the good numbers in the EY report, Ubi and others have a legitimate concern regarding the medical device tax and jobs. Why? Because we cannot look at a revenue increase and say the industry is doing better based solely on that number. When taxes are levied, revenue increases proportionally because those taxes are passed on to the customer. On the other hand, greater net income equals more money that companies have to spend. Greater net income leads to more medical jobs and R&D.

If revenues are up 4% while the medical device tax increases prices by 3.2%, the net gain is 0.8%. Moreover, that does not even account for any administrative costs associated with collecting and paying the new medical device tax. Therefore, even if the tax is not necessarily leading to job losses, it is fair to say that it’s not helping job gains. Under the circumstances, it seems fortunate that the medical device industry was able to increase employment by 5%.

Untapped Potential

One other thing to consider here is untapped potential. What we mean by this is the potential growth that could have been achieved had the tax not been implemented. There is obviously no way to quantify this potential, but it is also hard to argue against its existence.

When a company – any company – has to collect and pay more taxes, two things happen: it must raise its prices and it has less net income to spend. When there is less money to spend, the first area to feel the pinch is employment. That’s why our current economic recovery is not being led by well-paying, full-time jobs; it is being led by a historic increase in low-paying, part-time jobs. Companies cannot hire if they do not have the money to spend.

Yes, the medical device industry added some new jobs in 2013. Nevertheless, we are forced to wonder how many more medical jobs could have been added had Congress the courage to get rid of the medical device tax when they had the opportunity. There is no way to know for sure, even with all the reports to read.

Personality Tests and Healthcare Jobs

Many middle-aged workers can remember the first time they were presented with a personality test as part of the hiring and interview process. There they sat, filling in those tiny circles with number two pencils for what seemed like an eternity. As for the questions, it wasn’t uncommon to sit and wonder, “What does this have to do with the job I’m applying for?” Well, it turns out that personality tests are becoming a more common component of the healthcare jobs hiring process.

The healthcare industry managed to stay away from personality tests during the early years of their adoption. The thinking was quite simple: the medical field is one that relies more on a broad scope of knowledge and experience than an individual’s personality. Nevertheless, more and more medical facilities are questioning that thinking. They are now wondering how certain kinds of personalities fit the type of care they want to provide. Hence, the personality test is now being incorporated into the hiring process.

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What It Does

Personality tests have long been the bane of job seekers. However, not because the tests themselves are some sort of cruel and unusual punishment created by HR departments with sadistic tendencies. Job seekers have hated them because they have misunderstood them.

The primary purpose of the personality test is to find out if the person sitting in the interview is the same person who might potentially be working on the hospital floor next month. This is a legitimate concern for HR departments and recruiters. Why? Because job seekers are routinely told to put their best foot forward in the interview process. Nonetheless, few people can maintain the interview personality while on the job. Reality brings out the real personality.

It is true that personality tests can be frustrating, especially when it comes to healthcare jobs that can be exponentially more complex than some of the ridiculous questions job candidates are asked. Yet this is by design. An employer wants to know how a job candidate thinks and reacts. The seemingly inane questions are designed to uncover these things. It is not about a right or wrong answer; it is about understanding how your thought processes work in relation to the job you are applying for.

Tips for Taking Personality Tests

An astute individual will quickly recognize that the standard personality test really only asks a small handful of questions. They uncover thought patterns and reactions by asking the same questions in multiple ways. The results are then analyzed in terms of how individual answers for the same question compare. This means there is no way to ace a personality test. So how do you use personality tests to your own advantage? Here are two tips:

  • Be Honest – Personality tests are focused on consistency. Moreover, the best way to achieve consistency is to always be honest. Answer every question as honestly as you can, based on what you believe to be true rather than what you think the employer is looking for.
  • Do Not Over Think It – Do not fall into the temptation of over thinking the personality test. These tests are not designed to trap you into saying something that gives an employer a reason not to hire you. Take the questions at face value and answer them accordingly.

There is no getting around the fact that personality tests are now part of the healthcare jobs hiring process. Therefore, there is no point in getting bent out of shape about them. Instead, understand their purpose and embrace them as another opportunity to show an employer you are worth hiring.

Hospital Jobs Make Gains in September

There is good news to report in the arena of hospital jobs: hiring showed slight gains during the month of September (2014). According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), employment at U.S. hospitals increased 0.13%, adding about 6,200 jobs across the country. Year-on-year, hospital employment is up by more than 23,000 positions since September 2013.

Hospital Jobs

The statistics are good news for an employment sector that has remained largely flat for the better part of several years. The increase in hospital jobs contributed to an overall healthcare sector increase of more than 22,000 but, as one would expect, there were both losers and winners in the September hiring numbers. For example:

  • ambulatory care (+14,200 jobs) and healthcare services (+1,600 jobs) were the big winners;
  • nursing care facilities (-1,000 jobs) and physician offices (-400 jobs) were the biggest losers.

Overall, the healthcare sector does not appear to be doing as well as we originally expected when the Affordable Care Act was made law. From the time the legislation was first introduced we were constantly reminded that healthcare reform would add 30 million new patients and result in the creation of untold numbers of jobs. We were also told that hospital revenues would increase as a result of more people using them for primary care services.

Those predictions have not yet materialized. However, it is important to remember that the employer mandate was delayed by one year. It is now slated to kick in on January 1, 2015; open enrollment should begin for employer-based programs very soon. How many consumers remain with employer-sponsored programs as opposed to being left to the exchanges remains to be seen.

Changing Hospital Environments

Despite the less-than-optimal numbers from the BLS, healthcare reform has already had a definite impact on how hospitals function. Larger hospitals now prefer to employ hospitalist doctors even as they buy up and consolidate multiple group practices in their areas. They are looking to bring on more nurse practitioners and physician assistants as well, in order to reduce the cost of delivery.

In the midst of all these changes is an attempt to focus on quality of care rather than volume. Hospital administrators know they will lose funding if they do not improve healthcare outcomes for Medicare patients under healthcare reform. This has given rise to a number of new hospital jobs being created specifically to handle quality control issues. The patient care navigator is but one example.

As to the future of hospital jobs, we are left to speculate. There is still too much uncertainty with healthcare reform to predict how it will affect hospitals at the local level. However, it would appear as though large hospital groups are the best positioned to take advantage of the opportunities provided by reform. Independent hospitals and smaller groups will either have to find a way to compete or allow themselves to be acquired by their larger competitors.

Recruiting Environment

Healthcare recruiters should also pay attention to September’s numbers as they plan their strategies for 2015. More hospital jobs mean more demand for their services across the board. The successful recruiter will figure out what types of jobs will be most in demand and begin looking to fill them right away, while unsuccessful recruiters will wait until the market comes to them

If you are an individual looking for a hospital job, there is good reason to be encouraged. The healthcare sector continues its slow but steady expansion month after month. We trust there is a good job out there perfectly suited to your skills and training. It is just a matter of finding it.

Sources:

  1. Fierce Health Financehttp://www.fiercehealthfinance.com/story/hospital-jobs-beginning-inch-again/2014-10-06