Health Care Workforce Faces Strains, Shifts
Kaiser Health News / NPR "Last year, half of new doctors were hired by hospitals, according to the Medical Group Management Association, a professional organization for physician practices. According to a 2009 report by the American Medical Association, one in six doctors works for a hospital, and the number is quickly growing. Several factors are driving the trend. For some doctors, the recession is making it more difficult to run a small business, with fewer patients coming in for care and others unable to pay their bills. And many physicians like Parsons who are just starting out don't want the long hours and administrative headaches that come with private practice. Some experts worry, however, that hiring doctors and forming the 'accountable care organizations' envisioned under the law could give hospitals much more negotiating clout with health insurers and drive up insurance prices paid by employers and consumers" (Gold, 10/13).
The Connecticut Mirror: "As if creating a medical school from scratch in just four years isn't ambitious enough, Quinnipiac University has compounded the challenge: It wants to get a sizable portion of the graduates to pursue primary care, an area that badly needs more doctors. If it works, Quinnipiac could become a pipeline for addressing a key health care workforce shortage, just as health reform increases the need for general internists, family doctors and pediatricians" (Becker, 10/12).
The Boston Globe: "Strained by flat patient volume and pressure from health insurers, UMass Memorial Health Care, which runs five hospitals, said yesterday it will eliminate about 350 jobs or nearly 2.6 percent of its workforce - the largest hospital cutback in Massachusetts this year. The health care system, which operates the UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester and four community hospitals in Central Massachusetts, said it expects to lay off 130 workers, freeze 120 vacant jobs, and shed the equivalent of 100 jobs by reducing overtime and shifting employees from full time to part time. The system employs 13,700 workers.
The cost-cutting comes at a time when the 1,125-bed health care system is still making money, though profits are down" (Weisman, 10/13).
The Boston Globe, in a separate story: "Thomas P. Glynn, the longtime second-ranking executive at Partners HealthCare, is leaving at the end of the year to teach at Harvard University and join a health care think tank in Washington, D.C. Glynn, who has served as chief operating officer of the hospital and physician network for 14 of its 16 years in existence, will teach a course in the spring at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and become a senior fellow for health care delivery reform at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C." (Cooney, 10/13).
The Baltimore Sun: "Neil Meltzer is known in Baltimore circles as the head of Sinai Hospital, but he has also become a player in shaping health care reform. Meltzer has been chosen as one of 15 people to serve as a member of the Government Accountability Office's National Health Care Workforce Commission. Meltzer, chief operating officer and president of Sinai Hospital and senior vice president of LifeBridge Health, was told this month by Gene Dodaro, acting comptroller general of the United States and head of the GAO, that he had appointed to the commission. ... The commission will look at ways to strengthen the country's health care work force in preparation for reform" (Walker, 10/8).