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Top 10 Healthcare Trends – 2012

Annually B. E. Smith surveys healthcare executives to reveal top-of-mind trends that will affect the industry in the coming year. The trends noted in this survey have been discussed in the board room for some time, but the pressure they're putting on providers will only intensify in 2012.
Doug Smith, MBA, MHA, and Christine Ricci, BSN, MBA

B. E. Smith’s annual survey of more than 300 healthcare executives reveals top-of-mind trends that will affect the industry in the coming year. The trends noted in the October 2011 survey have been discussed in the board room for some time, but the pressure they’re putting on providers will intensify in 2012 — making the need for skilled executive leaders more urgent than ever. The following are the top 10 trends cited by healthcare leaders as the industry prepares for 2012.

1. Decreasing reimbursement
Survey respondents repeatedly cited the new pay-for-performance environment as a major challenge for 2012. With HCAHPS scores and value-based purchasing being used to calculate reimbursement, compliance risks and costs are shifting to healthcare organizations — creating a renewed focus on meaningful ways to improve patient satisfaction. In 2012, expect to see providers redefining organizational objectives and processes to meet regulatory demands and quality initiatives for reimbursement.


2. Growth in skilled nursing; long-term care facilities
With hospitals working to maximize reimbursement opportunities while cutting expenses, use of skilled nursing and long-term care facilities for higher acuity patients continues to grow. The 2012 introduction of Medicare’s 30-day return stay rule will drive health systems to acquire or partner with these facilities to improve readmission rates and better manage patient care. The result will be improved financial performance by providing the right care to the right patients at the right time.

3. A changing landscape for physicians
In 2012, physician reimbursement is scheduled to be reduced by nearly 30 percent. While the policy is not yet finalized, physician payments will decrease in the near future. In response, many physicians will retire. Others will stop accepting Medicare and Medicaid patients, limiting care access for these people — right at a time when the healthcare system will be inundated with aging baby boomers. Physician practices will continue aligning with organizations that manage billing and reimbursement for them. One respondent noted that physician alignment into systems will impact doctors’ ability to provide necessary patient care while limiting their influence on how that care is delivered.

4. Meaningful Use
For organizations that have been slow to implement electronic health records (EHR), 2012 will bring a rush to meet requirements before the penalty phase begins. The result will be information technology leaders working overtime to implement EHR on top of regular responsibilities. With resources already stretched trying to meet incentive deadlines, one respondent noted many facilities are struggling to implementcomputerized physician order entry (CPOE) and discharge continuation plans in systems that aren’t ready for these challenges.

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5 Million Health-Care Jobs Created By 2020, Regardless Of 'Obamacare,' Report Says

Growing demand for health services and declining productivity will result in millions more health-care jobs by the end of the decade -- regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court rules next week on "Obamacare," a new Georgetown University report shows.

The demand for workers within the health-care industry is expected to grow by 3 million to about 13.1 million by the end of the decade, up from slightly more than 10.1 million in 2010.

Adding in "replacement jobs," those left open by retirements, deaths and resignations, Georgetown researchers forecast the number of jobs to grow nearly 30 percent to 5.6 million by 2020.

Despite legal challenges to the the president's health care reform law -- formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- Georgetown researchers concluded that the law will have a "negligible" effect on the growth in the number of health care jobs.


More: 9 Great Health-Care Jobs That Don't Require A Medical Degree

The study's projections show that health care reform's implementation would "shift some jobs around inside health care," but lead author Anthony Carnevale says that the law's impact on employment levels is likely to be minimal simply because the sector is so big and growing so rapidly.

"It doesn't affect the industry that way," Carnevale told AOL Jobs in an interview.

Where there is likely to be an impact is among those holding or pursuing jobs as nurses.

Other findings from the report:

•Nursing is becoming an increasingly educated profession, especially among younger workers.

•People of color have been well-represented in the sector, but greater educational requirements may result in some minorities being pushed out. The study found 51 percent of white nurses under 40 have bachelor's degrees, compared to only 46 percent of Hispanics and 44 percent of African-American nurses.

•The industry has the largest number and proportion of foreign-born and foreign-trained workers in the U.S. The report finds 22 percent of health-care workers are foreign-born, compared to 13 percent of all workers nationally. Most foreign-born nurses come from the Philippines, India and China.

•White males still hold most of the high-paying jobs. The report found 81 percent of dentists are white men. Just 30 percent of doctors are female.

More: 9 Most Secure Jobs In America

While most of these occupations have modest educational requirements, only 20 percent of health-care professional and technical occupations earn less than $38,000 a year, and nearly 50 percent earn more than $60,000.


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A Healthy Recruiting Strategy for Hiring Healthcare Candidates

By Ashley Rowe on October 20, 2012 in Health Care.

You most likely heard about the shortage of skilled healthcare professionals and that careers in this industry continue to be among the most demanded. What can Recruiters do to enhance their hiring strategy for sourcing healthcare talent? Recruiters can source talent in locations that have shorter than average posting periods and in locations that have the best recruiting conditions.

Average Posting Period Heat Map for Healthcare Jobs

Heat Map of Average Posting Period


Our heat map of average posting periods above shows that Hot Springs, AR has the longest posting period for healthcare positions. In this location job ads are posted online for up to 12 weeks. That's twice as long as the national average of 6 weeks. In comparison, Dothan, AL has the shortest average posting period. In this metropolitan area, job ads are posted online and resumes collected over 20 days, about 3 weeks. Other cities with shorter than average posting periods include Blacksburg (VA), Limar (OH), Johnstown (PA), St. George (UT).


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Healthcare jobs not slowing down

Hospitals added 4,500 jobs in May, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Healthcare continues to be one of the bright spots in national employment. Although the unemployment rate across industries remains at 8.2 percent, healthcare jobs continue an upward trend, while other industries remained unchanged, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday.   

Healthcare added 32,800 jobs in May, with employment in the sector rising by 340,000 during the year.

Of that, hospitals added 4,500 jobs in May, according to the BLS data. Ambulatory services jobs rose by 22,800 over the month, including physician offices (9,900), outpatient care centers (4,600) and home healthcare services (6,900). Nursing and residential care facilities added 5,500 jobs last month.

According to business researcher The Conference Board, demand for healthcare practitioners, in particular, rose in May. The increase is largely due to more advertised vacancies for registered nurses, pharmacy technicians and radiologic technologists, with the number of advertised openings in this occupational category outnumbering job seekers two to one, according to a company statement last week.

Overall, healthcare jobs will grow twice as fast as the general economy, with an additional 4.2 million jobs by 2020, according to an April study by Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University at Albany. Nearly one in nine U.S. jobs will be in the healthcare sector by 2020.

Healthcare Jobs Booming as Demand Rises

To keep up with technology, politics, and an aging population, healthcare jobs will need to increase by 5.6 million new jobs within the next 8 years, according to a recent study just released by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and Workforce.

Because of growing demand for services and low productivity, the demand for healthcare workers over the next decade will grow nearly twice as fast as the national economy. And whereas in the 1960s, the United States ranked at the high end of the average for per capita healthcare spending, we now spend more than double that of Europe and the gap is growing.

Additionally, more than 80% of these new jobs—or 4.6 million—will require post secondary education and specialized training, paving the way for colleges, universities, and healthcare education companies to also see a corresponding boost in enrollment.

Healthcare-related administrative positions will also see a jump in hiring with hospital staff, IT consultants, billing specialists, and office administrators adding more than 4 million more jobs to the rosters, to go from 15.6 million two years ago to 19.8 million jobs in 2020.

However, as healthcare jobs seem to be increasing year over year, data shows that spending may actually be going down. Compared with the previous year, healthcare prices in April rose only 1.9% compared with the same month last year. February showed the slowest rate of growth at 1.8%, the smallest year-over-year increase in 14 years.

According to a report issued by Altarum Institute last month, healthcare spending in this country actually appears to be trending in a downward direction. But, says Charles Roehrig, director of the Altarum Center for Sustainable Health Spending, it’s not time to celebrate just yet.




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Top health industry issues of 2012

In 2012, health industry organizations will connect in new ways with each other and their consumers as they wade through economic, regulatory, and political uncertainty. Some are stepping forward in cooperation; others are rewriting the rules of competition.

Among the key issues, we'll see value move from theory to reality, investments ramp up in informatics, the effects of drug shortages, insurers gear up to compete in a new insurance exchange marketplace, pharma companies slim down and healthcare increasing its social media presence.


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Trends in Travel Nursing Jobs for 2013

The healthcare industry is booming, even in today’s lackluster economy. For a traveling RN, this means more opportunities for employment. Travel RN Gab says, “The demand for travel nursing jobs is on the rise. Health reform has resulted in 32 million more people having access to health care. The aging population is living longer, which requires more health services including home health care, dialysis, and hospice services.” A surplus of baby boomers in the warmer states and coastlines gives ample opportunity for a traveling RN to secure employment without having to worry about the harsher weather seen in states where snow is prevalent.

The best part about traveling RN jobs is that they change with the seasons, allowing you to see events and cities you might not otherwise have been able to experience. Hawaii has surfing and its resulting industry, Colorado needs RNs to tend to its injured skiers, snowboarders, and cross country trekkers, and someone interested in historical locations might be apt to visit Boston, Philadelphia, Metro DC, or even a Virginia suburb such as Gettysburg. Overall, the hiring trend for RNs will lead to a wealth of opportunities for those that are willing to take them. Figure out where you want to travel to, and conduct a search for what kind of travel nursing jobs are available in the area. Overall, the choice is yours whether to travel or not. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons before making any decision.

Travel RN employment, and the healthcare field in general, is always in high demand. Making sure you are getting the best match for your skills is important. If your particular job isn’t matching up, or you aren’t feeling challenged enough, perhaps consider taking a new job in a new area. The health and nursing field is competitive, so be aware that many others may have the same (or better!) credentials, and be prepared to tell a potential long distance employer why you want the position and are qualified over other applicants. Brush up on your resume writing skills, or even public speaking. As an RN, talking to people is a way to calm their fears, connect with patients, and calm stressed or upset family members. Being able to step into a role to provide information, even if you aren’t local to the area, is important.

Even in today’s bleak economy, the RN hiring trend has continued to climb since 2010, and jobs are easier to find than ever before. Signing up with a travel nursing agency is a surefire way to find a secure job in a new area. Be sure to get your affairs in order before traveling to a new place, such as finding a place to live, moving out of your old place – or renting it out while you’re gone, if you live alone and can sublet. Some travel nursing agencies can help with that! If you have family, do you have tips for how to survive as a traveling RN despite the pressures of family obligations and perhaps being away for weeks or months at a time? What are some challenges you face as a traveling nurse trying to acclimate to new staff, new management, and a new area?


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What Will 2012 Bring for the Healthcare Industry?


 January 9, 2012 - A bastion of stability and generator of jobs, healthcare now has reached a critical crossroads--with increasing demand for services yet limited reimbursement to pay for that care--and is entering a volatile period. Industry experts predict a number of changes in 2012 and over the next few years.

“I cannot imagine a more exciting place to be working than healthcare,” said Andrew Nygard, senior manager at consulting firm Kalypso in Beachwood, Ohio. “It’s going to be the wild, wild, West during the next decade, figuring out how to address these issues.”

With policymakers seeking to stem rising healthcare costs and improve quality of care, Erica Drazen, managing director of the Global Institute for Emerging Healthcare Practices at CSC in Waltham, Mass., predicts more efforts to improve accountability including paying for quality, bundled payments and penalties for readmissions. She said the impact of these changes will sink in as payment reductions become a reality to those that don’t perform. Also all of these practices will spread to include Medicare, Medicaid and private payers.

Albert Santalo, CEO of CareCloud in Miami, added, “Physicians will be facing an increase in data reporting requirements in 2012, and those who haven’t already adopted EHR [electronic health records] will have to choose one.”

As smaller hospitals and practices try to keep up with regulatory changes and the need for electronic systems, Drazen expects to see more mergers and acquisitions.

Dena Kitchens, director of product management at Provista in Irving, Texas, on the other hand, projects that the “pace of physician practice and ambulatory provider acquisitions by health systems will slow down in 2012, as health systems try to integrate their past purchases, and as the most desirable targets have already been acquired.”

Health reform

Regulatory uncertainty is the biggest issue facing healthcare, Nygard said.

A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court about the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act could remove some of that. But if the court reverses the mandate, Drazen said, the expansion of coverage will not be viable.

Kitchens said providers should prepare for the probability that major components of healthcare reform will go into effect on schedule.

“The administration believes that the Supreme Court will come down in favor of the mandate,” Kitchens said. “Also, to overturn the law with repeal legislation, the Republicans would need to retake the White House and achieve majorities in both houses of Congress, or achieve enough of a supermajority in Congress to overturn a veto if President Obama is reelected. Those scenarios seem unlikely.”

Nygard expects accountable care organizations (ACOs), part of the reform act, will move forward, regardless.

“Right now, there are no options on the table but to look at costs, and ACOs look like the single biggest concept on the table,” Nygard said.




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