Health reform. Talent shortages. Extreme financial pressures. Volume is out, and value is in. In this era of unprecedented change, hospitals and health systems are faced with seemingly unlimited challenges. In the world of talent acquisition, one question in particular has risen to the forefront:

How will health reform and the challenges that follow impact healthcare recruiting?

The short answer? Changes across the healthcare landscape have created a state of uncertainty, directly impacting recruiting initiatives and making the challenge of meeting business imperatives—while remaining compliant—overwhelming at best. The global healthcare industry is several million workers short, and stringent health reform regulations have driven many providers to institute a “triple aim” improvement initiative:

1) Reduce (or take control of) the per capita costs of care

2) Improve patient outcomes

3) Enhance the patient experience (HCAHPS Survey scores)

In this week’s edition of Talent Acquisition Fast Facts, we take a look at statistics pertinent to health reform, healthcare leaders and recruitment professionals across the industry: 

Hospitals and health systems are faced with a chronic talent shortage, as the global healthcare workforce is currently 7.2 million workers short; this number is expected to grow to 12.9 million by 2035. 
-Global Health Workforce AllianceReport Warns of Worsening Global Healthcare Worker Shortage, Medscape

In the U.S. alone, the primary care shortage is approximately 15,000 physicians; experts predict the mandatory expansion of coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could raise this shortage to 130,000 physicians by 2025 (an 866% increase). 
-The Impacts of the Affordable Care Act on Physician Recruiting, Fidelis Partners

In 2010, 25% of the 242,000 primary care physicians employed in the U.S. were 56 years of age or older—indicating the likelihood of at least 55,000 physicians retiring within the next 8-10 years and further spotlighting the growing concern over the healthcare worker shortage. 
-Advancing Primary Care, Council on Graduate Medical Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts net job growth of almost three million U.S. healthcare jobs in the decade ending in 2020—a 29% increase in the overall size of the workforce and topping every other group of occupations; roles specializing in primary care are especially on the rise as organizations shift under health reform to improve patient outcomes through preventive and proactive care. 
-Grads in Health Care Fields See Bright Job Market, U.S. News & World Report

Employers, healthcare and commercial, have implemented and/or plan to implement diverse cost-management initiatives over the course of the next 12 months due to the ACA. The most common strategies include:

  • Increasing participants’ share of premium costs (43%)

  • Increasing the employee portion of dependent coverage costs (34%)

  • Increase in-network deductible and increasing out-of-pocket limits (31%)

-2013 Employer-Sponsored Health Care: ACA’s Impact, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

In light of the growing shortage of healthcare professionals, how important is retention? Should we be more aggressive in our benefit and compensation plans to attract and retain quality employees and candidates? As larger cities and metropolitan areas witness greater need for physicians (and are more attractive places to call home for physicians), rural areas are likely to feel even greater impact of healthcare worker shortages. How can recruitment teams combat this challenge?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on these and other related issues!