After 30 hours of debate over a three-week period, the Senate Judiciary Committee has passed a bipartisan immigration bill that would seek to strengthen the country's healthcare workforce by making it easier for foreign health professionals to work in the U.S. Read more from Modern Healthcarehere.
Nearly 75% of American Hospital Association member hospitals are implementing multi-disciplinary care teams and another 62% are training them, according to a survey on workforce planning conducted by the AHA Workforce Center in March. Nearly half of these hospitals are implementing the teams throughout their facility.
The most common team member roles are registered nurse, physician, social worker, pharmacist, nutritionist/dietician and physical therapist. Multi-disciplinary care teams are one of the key roles that hospitals and health systems can play in effectively delivering primary care, according to a January report by the AHA Primary Care Workforce Roundtable. The AHA Workforce Center plans to issue a report this fall on the future bedside care team, based on findings from a roundtable of physicians and nurses convened last May.
A bipartisan Senate immigration bill could boost the nation's health care workforce, in addition to expanding coverage to millions of newly legal residents. The bill is expected to increase both visas and green card access for a broad range of health care workers.
U.S. healthcare providers nationwide have continued to experience difficulties with hiring and retaining experienced information technology professionals needed for the evolving healthcare environment, according to new research conducted by global professional services company Towers Watson.
The Towers Watson survey, which included responses from more than 100 healthcare providers and hospitals, found that two-thirds (67 percent) are having difficulties attracting experienced IT workers, and 38 percent are reporting retention concerns. Officials say the staffing problems prove even greater for Epic-certified professionals, with nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of the respondents reporting difficulty hiring these individuals, whose specialized skills are essential to meet new electronic medical record requirements under healthcare reform.
The pool of capable IT workers is rapidly draining as providers, insurers, pharmaceutical companies and other health-related organizations compete for the same brain power, according to a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute.
Sens. Bill Nelson
(D-FL), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Harry Reid (D-NV) on March 14 reintroduced
American Hospital Association-supported legislation (S. 577) that would add roughly 15,000
Medicare-supported positions to residency training positions. Preference for
the additional positions, a 15% increase, would go to programs training
physicians for primary care and general surgery.
If a hospital closes, the bill
would allow its residency positions to be redistributed to nearby hospitals.
The bill also would give hospitals more flexibility to train residents in
clinical settings outside the hospital, such as community health centers and
physician offices. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 froze the number of
residency positions at the 1996 level. However, several studies have projected
a substantial physician shortage in the coming years.
The U.S. House of Representatives on March 15 voted 215-202 to approve the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act (H.R. 803), American Hospital Association-supported legislation that would promote a coordinated approach to workforce training programs. The bill would streamline and improve workforce development programs, create a single Workforce Investment Fund to augment state workforce initiatives, and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy to make it easier for workforce development activities to be tailored to local needs.
“Without decisive intervention, workforce shortages threaten hospitals’ ability to care for patients and communities,” AHA and its American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration said in a letter of support for the bill. “The provisions of the SKILLS Act will help meet this need.” The AHA’s American Organization of Nurse Executives subsidiary also sent a letter of support for the bill.
Thirty-seven percent of health care workers expect to look for a new job within the next 12 months, an increase of six percentage points from the first quarter of 2012, according to the Randstad Healthcare Employee Confidence Index. Health care worker confidence declined 4.5 points to 53.9 in the second quarter mostly because of pessimism about the economy.
Nevertheless, 51 percent of respondents are confident they could find a job. Harris Interactive conducted the online survey.
Reimbursement shifts away from fee-for-service and toward value-based payments are, perhaps more than any other factor, leading the charge toward a transformed delivery system. Hospitals and health systems across the country are implementing a number of initiatives to prepare for the change, but perhaps one of the most important steps they should take is ensuring their employees’ values align with the values of coordinated, patient-centric care.
Read the full article from Becker’s Hospital Reviewhere.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 13 approved legislation extending through September 2015 the Conrad State 30 J-1 visa waiver program, an American Hospital Association-supported program that allows foreign-born physicians to remain in the U.S. on a J-1 visa for three years after medical school to serve in medically underserved areas. The legislation passed the House 412-3 as part of a broader immigration workforce bill (S. 3245) dealing with non-controversial programs, which now goes to the president to be signed into law.
Under U.S. immigration law, foreign students admitted to the U.S. to attend medical school are granted J-1 visas, which require them to return home for two years after completing their education before they can apply for an immigrant visa, permanent U.S. residency or an additional nonimmigrant visa. The Conrad State 30 program enables these physicians to remain in the U.S. if they agree to provide 40 hours a week of primary care in a medically underserved area for three years.
Their wages are required by law to match those of similarly skilled American colleagues. When they complete their obligation, they are allowed permanent legal residency and can pursue U.S. citizenship.