We’ve been observing an interesting trend for a few months: healthcare employment is growing apace, but hospital employment is lagging. The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly report confirms the trend. At Forbes, Dan Diamond has a chart and an explanation:
What’s the culprit behind hospitals’ incredible slowth? There are a few factors — for one, the hospital industry is relatively large (hospitals employ four times the number of workers as home health agencies) and mature, which acts as a constraint on its growth.
But more importantly, the jobs trend line reflects the pressures on hospitals generally and inpatient care specifically:
- Obamacare contained a slew of payment cuts, and hospitals in states that have said no to Medicaid are bearing an even-heavier load.
- Hospital merger and acquisition activity doubled between 2009 and 2012, leading to layoffs.
- Payers (and provisions in the ACA) have introduced significant incentives to shift more care to the outpatient setting or even treat patients at home.
Whether these developments are good or bad for health care, we think the jury is still out.