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February 15

Health reform expected to create up to 4 million jobs

A new report shows that healthcare reform could create up to 4 million new jobs. The report, released Friday by the Center for American Progress and the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center at the University of Southern California, combines data from David Cutler of the Center for American Progress and Neeraj Sood of the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics to forecast the job-creating effects of healthcare reform. "One important way to create jobs is to slow the growth of medical spending," the report said. "If healthcare cost increases slow down, then businesses will find it more profitable to expand employment, and workers will more readily move into those new jobs." The report combines Cutler's assertion that reform will slow healthcare cost growth with Sood's assertion that every 10 percent reduction in excess healthcare cost growth — a decrease in cost growth from 2.2 percentage points above the Gross Domestic Product  to 1.98 percentage points —lcreates about 120,000 jobs. The study contends that healthcare reform could increase the number of jobs in the United States by about 250,000 to 400,000 per year over the coming decade. Also, by 2016, reform will create more than 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing and nearly 900,000 jobs in services. Healthcare Finance News (1/8)

Healthcare continues streak of job gains

Healthcare employment grew in December at its average rate for 2009, while the wider U.S. economy disappointed analysts by losing 85,000 jobs and leaving the national unemployment rate unchanged at 10%. December marked the 24th consecutive month in which the economy as a whole failed to post statistically significant job growth. Healthcare, meanwhile, has added 630,600 new jobs during that time to a workforce of about 13 million people and has shown net employment growth during every month of the recession. Preliminary seasonally adjusted figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics say healthcare added 21,500 jobs in December, for a monthly growth rate of 0.16%, which was equal to the 2009 average. The industry overall grew its workforce by 2% during the year. Within the subset of hospital employment, the figures were not as rosy in December. Hospitals posted their second-slowest month of job growth the year, adding just 1,400 jobs to a workforce of 4.7 million. Hospital employment grew 0.8% during 2009. Physicians' offices in December, meanwhile, posted their highest net job growth since mid-2008, adding 8,900 employees to a workforce of 2.3 million, for a monthly growth rate of 0.4%. Physician-office employment grew by 2.4% in 2009. Daily Dose newsletter (1/8)

More schooling urged for entry-level RNs

Citing recent research showing that patients have better survival rates in hospitals with more-educated nurses, a new study from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is recommending that all entry-level registered nurses be mandated to have baccalaureate degrees and to get master's degrees within 10 years of licensure. Several scholarly studies since 2003 have concluded that patients in hospitals with higher proportions of baccalaureate-trained nurses have lower mortality rates. A 2008 study by University of Pennsylvania researchers found that a 10% increase in nurses with bachelor's degrees correlated with a 5% decrease in the risk of death and failure to rescue for surgical patients. The Carnegie report, "Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation," comes as a commission from the Institute of Medicine is in the midst of its own year-long inquiry called "The Initiative on the Future of Nursing." The education of nurses is one of the central issues under examination by the IOM commission, which has been compared to the report produced by Abraham Flexner in 1910 under the guidance and funding of the Carnegie Foundation. The "Flexner Report" was highly critical of the slapdash educational system that existed at the time for physicians, and is widely credited with kick-starting the effort to standardize medical education.- Daily Dose (1/8)

Medical practices to see significant job growth

Jobs at medical practices are expected to substantially increase through 2018, while hospital employment will grow more slowly, according to government projections. The data predict about 772,200 new jobs will be created in physician offices, including 109,300 for physicians and 106,500 for registered nurses. The projections raise concerns among experts that current shortages of doctors and nurses will get worse. American Medical News (subscription required) (1/11)

California, Midwest markets see healthcare job growth

The HWS Labor Market Pulse Index, a quarterly barometer of local market healthcare workforce fluctuations, reveals broadening demand for healthcare workers across a number of regions, particularly in California and parts of the Midwest and Southwest, for the fourth quarter of 2009. Healthcare Finance News (1/12)

Technically, It's a problem

Hospitals face a new staffing headache. Experts at the Connected Health Symposium in Boston in October said 50,000 new health information technology workers will be needed as a result of all that federal money to kickstart electronic health records. Hospitals will need to compete with health IT vendors for those workers; where they'll come from—and how quickly—is a question mark. Speaking to the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives in October, John Glaser, CIO of Partners Healthcare in Boston, said hospitals need to ramp up their recruitment efforts now, adding that they may need to partner with community colleges and others to fund training. Glaser, an adviser to National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Blumenthal, expects the government to allocate some money for training as well. Hospitals & Health Networks (12/09)

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