Health Care Reform Creates Problems, and Jobs to Solve Them

By Sarah Sipek

Jan. 23, 2015

It’s a safe bet that Affordable Care Act has caused at least a few employers wake up with cold sweats, but for all the hoops that the legislation has required employers to jump through to date, the results of a recent survey reveal a bright spot on the horizon: more jobs.

An AMN Healthcare survey of 300 clinical and human resource leaders found that 86 percent of respondents are aware of the growing need for new types of health care workers in clinical care and technology.

 “The health care industry is undergoing some enormous changes, specifically changes that will impact how we actually deliver care to patients,” said Marcia Faller, chief clinical officer at AMN. “Organizations are faced with needing to make sure that their patient satisfaction scores are high and their readmission rates are low. Putting a care delivery system in place that will achieve those goals so they can maintain financial health for their organization is a primary concern.”

The ACA has expanded health care coverage to 8 million more people since January 2014. Another 22 million are expected to be covered by 2020, according to AMN.

Understandably, more people covered for health care has led to a greater demand for therapists, lab technicians and physicians. AMN found that orders for therapists increased 79 percent from January through October 2014. Physician shortages also remain persistent, with 78 percent of respondents reporting a need for more doctors.

The legislation has created a need for new roles, such as care coordinator and health coach to both meet the deliverables dictated by the legislation and to ensure that individual patient health care plan goals are achieved. 

Just because these HR leaders recognize a need doesn’t mean that they are in a position to fill it. For example, only 27 percent of employers are currently recruiting care coordinators, according to the survey.

Satisfying the demand begins with creating an executive level leadership role to oversee the rollout of these new positions, Faller said. She foresees the chief patient experience officer, a role dedicated to developing and executing an enterprisewide strategy to enhance patient satisfaction and ensure positive interaction between consumers and staff, as a necessary position.

“In times of great transition, having someone that is managing that vision and strategy for an organization is really important,” Faller said.

Sarah Sipek is a Workforce associate editor.

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