The Time for Long-Term Care is Now

In Executive Leadership, Human Capital Trends, Published articles or white papers on April 18, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Blog Article posted April 2011 citing previous article of mine as resource.

The Time for Long-Term Care is Now
Jennifer Dennard, Social Marketing Director
April 2, 2011

It’s been apparent for some time now that the healthcare IT industry workforce is in desperate need of additional personnel. The supply of highly qualified individuals simply does not meet the provider demand, necessitated by the timeline the federal government has put in place for Meaningful Use.

IT is not the only part of the healthcare industry where this shortage is being felt. The federal government predicts that by 2020, nurse and physician retirements will contribute to a shortage of approximately 24,000 doctors and nearly 1 million nurses.

The long-term care/nursing home industry is already feeling the pinch. The first of the Baby Boomers turn 65 this year, becoming eligible for Medicare and the assistance it provides to those with special, often chronic, medical needs. As the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found in its report,Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce:

“More than three-quarters of adults over age 65 suffer from at least one chronic medical condition that requires ongoing care and management. Older adults rely on health care services far more than other segments of the population. Additionally, this group will be the most diverse the nation has ever seen, with more education, increased longevity, widely dispersed families, and more racial and ethnic diversity, making their needs much different than previous generations. If current reimbursement policies and workforce trends do not change, the nation will continue to fail to ensure that every older American is able to receive high-quality care.”

Brian Hudson, Senior Vice President and Chief Relationship Officer at Avant Healthcare Professionals – a staffing firm that specializes in international healthcare recruitment – calls this phenomenon the “healthcare human capital crisis.” The term “crisis” may seem too strong to some, but the IOM’s numbers tell the tale: The 78 million-member baby boom generation will soon occupy 20% of the US population. This influx of senior citizens into the long-term care system, coupled with proposed cuts to several states’ Medicaid programs and nursing home reimbursements, will leave many families’ loved ones without high-quality healthcare resources.

It’s no surprise that staff ratios have a direct impact on the quality of care residents at long-term care facilities receive. In a recent InFocus Market Report, Billian’s HealthDATA illustrated the direct correlation between staff ratings and average quality care deficiencies. The lower the staff rating, the higher the level of deficient care.


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