Report: healthcare workforce in trouble, long-term care hardest hit

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A new report from the Association of Academic HealthCenters finds that the nation's healthcare work force is facing a crisis, and that valuable time needed to fix the problem is running out.

The 108-page report gives a detailed analysis ofhealthcare workforce policy history, problems with and potential solutions forthat policy and the socioeconomic trends that will affect the future of theindustry. The potential impact of those socioeconomic trends is magnified inthe field of long-term care, according to the report. The aging baby boompopulation, a vast retiring workforce and increased pressure on public funds arejust a few of the negative trends.

The AAHC projects a shortfall of 340,000 registerednurses by the year 2020 which, while lower than some previous estimates, stillpaints a grim picture for the future of the skilled nursing workforce andoverall healthcare delivery.

By studying the history of the current approach to thehealthcare workforce, the AAHC thinks that policy makers can learn from themistakes of the past and create an overarching coherent national healthworkforce policy. Organization leaders recommend that the U.S. health workforcebecome a high priority in domestic policy. They also said that lawmakers shouldbegin addressing workforce problems immediately to avert a potential collapseof the healthcare infrastructure.

The full report can be found atwww.aahcdc.org/policy.