Healthcare Workforce Healthy, Hospitals Lagging

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.


Comments (6)

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  1. Devon Herrick says:

    Insurers, Medicare and health plans are trying to give patients more discretion about where they seek care and to give them an incentive to seek care where the cost is lowest. Hospitals are where the most expensive care takes place. Doctors offices, home care and outpatient clinics are growing in use because these are relatively efficient places to get care.

  2. Frank says:

    As there is more and more innovation in the medical industry, expect there to be a boom in hiring. Traditional avenues of employment like hospitals are unlikely to experience that same kind of boom.

    • Dale says:

      As alternatives to hospitals continue to pop up, hospitals will see less patients and see less growth.

  3. Thomas says:

    With standalone ERs and other affordable outlets to receive urgent care, it makes sense that hospitals see less patients since there are other alternatives. This, in turn, affects employment.

  4. Matthew says:

    When hospitals aren’t the first line of defense in emergency or urgent care, it is obvious they will suffer a bit. This and the ACA will force hospitals to bear quite a burden.

  5. Buddy says:

    Lets keep the sniffles at the urgent care clinic and ebola at the hospitals. Seeing less growth in hospitals should be encouraging for everyone, except of course hospitals.