N.C. Firms Show Health Sector Jobs Not As Recession-Proof As Advertised
Are health jobs recession proof? Try recession resistant. The Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal reports, "Health-care jobs might not be as recession-proof as was once thought, but they are still safer than jobs in many other fields, employment experts said yesterday, after Forsyth Medical Center announced a day earlier that 48 people would lose their jobs through layoffs Large layoffs in the health-care industry have taken place elsewhere. In January, for example, Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton laid off 112 employees" (Graff, 7/15).
Not all job experts agree. "Despite the economic downturn, the health care industry is still thriving and is expected to be one of the fastest growing career fields in the coming years, according to a new book by career experts Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark called 'Expert Resumes for Health Care Careers, Second Edition,'" The Washington Post reports. The authors say, "even though health care will be plagued with some downsizings, mergers, acquisitions and ownership changes, the career field remains relatively 'safe from dramatic and pervasive layoffs that have crippled other professions and industries'" (Thomas-Lester, 7/14).
In North Carolina, however, insurers are also contemplating layoffs. In a separate story, the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal writes, "Brad Wilson, the chief executive of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, isn't ruling out layoffs as the company tries to cut overhead. Blue Cross, the state's largest health insurer, is trying to adapt to the health-care overhaul and the recession by cutting 20 percent from administrative expenses by 2014, the Raleigh News & Observer reported yesterday. The company raised rates for individual members an average of 12 percent this year, while group policies are negotiated" (7/15).
Modern Healthcare also weighs in on the North Carolina situation, reporting, "Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, said it plans to cut its administrative costs by 20 percent as part of its response to healthcare reform. But a spokesman for the not-for-profit Blues plan said healthcare cost inflation must be addressed, too." The Blues plans net income was $59 million in 2009, down from $158 million in 2008 (Galloro, 7/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.