The Perfect Storm in the Looming Healthcare Human Capital Crisis

Just as our country has endured an unprecedented economic crisis in the past 24 months, the United States will soon be in an unprecedented healthcare HUMAN CAPITAL crisis that will catch many off guard, just as the economic crisis of 2008 did for so many. There are several factors for this with Healthcare reform setting the stage for the “perfect storm” as the first of the “baby boomers” turns 65 in 2011. Just as government run Fannie and Freddie Mac helped fuel the economic crisis of 2008 – the current environment is ripe for a healthcare human capital crisis. It is no question that reform in healthcare is needed. What type of reform is the ultimate question. In their book, Redefining Health Care, the authors point out the following; “Health care is on a collision course with patient needs and economic reality. In today’s dysfunctional health care competition, players strive not to create value for patients but to capture more revenue, shift costs, and restrict services. To reform health care, we must reform the nature of competition itself.”

The Institute of Medicine in their 2008 report Retooling for an Aging America clearly leads the way when it comes to understanding the significant impact of the aging population which has not been seen before in our history. Here are the facts from the IOM report 2008.

1. Between now and 2030 the number of adults aged 65 or over will double. This dramatic shift will place unseen and accelerating demands on the US healthcare system. The sheer number of older patients will overwhelm the number of physicians and other healthcare professionals unless something is done.
2. Beginning in 2011 – the 1st wave of the baby boom generation will begin to turn 65 – the 78 million baby boomers will tip the population scale growing from 12 to 20% by 2030.
3. Older Americans will consume much more healthcare and this is not built into the $900 billion Healthcare reform estimate. The current 12% of older Americans currently accounts for 26% of all physician visits – by growing to 20% – older Americans will account for more than 50% of healthcare utilization just as these reforms start to take affect.

The recommendations laid out by the IOM report are essential in healthcare reform – but have not been addressed in the current healthcare model. Other demographic factors are at play, such as, the aging healthcare workforce. Leaders in healthcare human capital retention understand that we are in the “eye of the storm” with a false sense of security with the impending wave of baby boomers, the backlog of new grads, and the eventual retirement of veteran nurses. This is especially true in the competition for quality licensed healthcare professionals who drive the revenue and deliver the highest quality in patient care. The reality is that the demand for healthcare is going up and the supply of available licensed professionals is going down. This demand cycle will be good for professionals who will see significant growth in salaries and perks, but it will be a challenge for healthcare organizations wanting to attract and retain their people with the aging population and workforce – added with the new demands of Healthcare reform.

The “true cost” of the current healthcare reform can not be calculated – needless to say it will be a number that makes the Wall Street bailout seem insignificant. Healthcare reform is certainly needed – we are on a “collision course” with both the demographic and economic reality. The type and degree of reform needs to have all healthcare leaders involved in the debate as reform is being constructed like a makeshift life boat as the storm clouds appear on the horizon

Howard Dean’s Prescription For Real Healthcare Reform

Healthcare reform plays a major role in discussions and the media today, but it is confusing, overwhelming, boring and seemingly unsolvable to most people. Howard Dean presents the problems and solutions in plain language in his new book, Howard Dean’s Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform.  

Hear someone utter the word Healthcare and the emotion that rises up and continues to spiral nearly out of control is anger. Dean writes, “according to a recent report from the Center for American Progress, in March 2009 alone almost 11,000 workers a day lost their health insurance.” Do the math and the anger turns to outrage – 341,000 people lost their health insurance in a 31-day period.

There are “47 million Americans who don’t have health insurance. But the healthcare debate should also focus on the fact that 25 million working-aged Americans have health insurance but still cannot’ afford to see a doctor,” states Dean in his introduction. Terrifying statistics compounded by information from the Commonwealth Fund, “many go without needed care, not filling prescriptions, and not following up on recommended treatment.”

Howard Dean is eminently qualified to write about healthcare reform for several reasons. He is graduated from Yale in 1971 with a BA in Political Science. He received his medical degree from Columbia University during which he spent one month at the American Medical Association following Senators Jacob Javits and Ted Kennedy as they attempted to create a healthcare bill during President Carter’s first term. His was elected the first Democratic Governor of Vermont since 1853. His efforts during his Governorship insured that 99% of Vermont citizens under the age of 18 had access to healthcare coverage, expanded prenatal care, community health centers and dental clinics in schools serving low-income children. 

But it is his one simple statement at the end of the preface that says it all. “All change grows from the grass roots. Real healthcare reform won’t happen without you.” He is clearly directing his thoughts at the everyman/woman – he is writing for the people who need healthcare insurance or worry that their insurance will come to an end due to loss of job or steep rate increases.

Dean clarifies, finally a politician that realizes what the people want to hear and how they want to hear it, the difference between healthcare reform and health insurance reform. “So, the real debate about healthcare reform is not a debate about how large a role government should play. The real issue is: Should we give Americans under the age of sixty-five the same choice we give Americans over sixty-five? Should we give all Americans a choice of opting out of the private health insurance system and benefitting from a public health insurance plan?”

He further states, brilliantly making his point absolutely current, “Americans ought to be able to decide for themselves: Is private health insurance really health insurance? Or is it simply an extension of thing that have been happening on Wall Street over the past five to ten years, in which private corporations find yet new and ingenious ways of taking money from ordinary citizens without giving them the services they’ve paid for?” Does the Madoff ponzi scheme ring a bell here? Money invested with absolutely no return on investment not to mention complete loss of all funds. Who hasn’t paid for insurance month after month and not received coverage when they needed it the most?

Dean details the profit vs. care issue and succinctly discusses the problems with private, for-profit insurances companies that “must meet two obligations that are often mutually exclusive.” These private behemoths are responsible for maximizing profits for their shareholders while shouldering the responsibility for good service to their customers. Is this even possible given the way private health insurance companies are structured coupled with the lobbyists who ensure that they have more or less free-reign with blatant disregard for the welfare of their enrollees.

Chapters cover the trials of small business owners and individuals and uses real-life examples to drive home the point. He strongly states that “America most shift from an illness-based healthcare system to a wellness-based model.” He writes of the necessity to change the national lifestyle toward one of prevention and healthier living. A goal that neither political party nor business or individuals could argue with – who wouldn’t want to be healthy?

Dean covers the challenges briefly but completely and spends a good portion of the book providing solutions. “Americans need real healthcare reform, not just insurance reform, and nobody should mistake the two,” he states. “Real healthcare reform should offer coverage to the employed, the unemployed, the sick, the healthy, the young, the old. Everyone.”

He puts forth five sound and achievable principles that “real healthcare reform must include.” Everybody In, Nobody Out; No more Healthcare Bankruptcies: Take it to Go; Choose or Lose and Improved Care, Quality and Efficiency. He reviews President Obama’s healthcare initiative; how to control costs; developing a revenue stream to pay for the initiative; and “who’s been standing in the way.”

Dean avows that change is possible through the citizens, calling for change and action. He writes of how this affects people in different walks of life and details, “What you deserve, and should fight for.” He staunchly recommends how citizens can and should take action; educate themselves; contact their local and national officials; contact corporations and organizations and keep the conversation going until change happens.

The last sentence makes Dean’s position clear, “Fights like this are won by ordinary people who decide that they care enough about something to fight for it.” Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform should be required reading for every American over the age of 18. This is the most comprehensive and accessible presentation of a situation that deeply affects each one of us.

Integrated Healthcare Systems

The world of healthcare is always changing.  When you think back to healthcare and health services back when our parents and grandparents were children and then compare things to healthcare today things are drastically different.  One thing that has changed and developed and also continues to change and develop as we speak is what is called the integrated healthcare systems.  Sometimes also referred to as multi-care providers or multi-care treatment, these systems intend on focusing on convenience for the client or patient and ease of working through the system.  Typically these systems cover a wide area of travel and are operated through multiple levels.  The systems also incorporate many different types of services including medical services and general health and wellness services as well.  The goal is the get you healthy and to keep you that way with this type of integrated system.

A system such as Manhattan Illinois healthcare has many different offices and services connected to it.  There is typically a large hospital that would be the main center and then many other clinics, offices, and even smaller hospitals that feed into and work off of or from the larger hospital.  Patients can visit a doctor in a medical center or office and expect to the same level of service if they visit a different doctor, hospital, or other provider that is within the same integrated healthcare systems.  There is also the benefit of having your medical records contained in the same system so that you don’t have as much trouble trying to track down a get your medical records to all your different doctors.

Information is many times also maintained in the integrated healthcare systems information center so that if you visit Monee healthcare instead of another center then your information can be located because it is all consider the same provider.  In a way this is like an umbrella system that covers the patient.  There can be advantages for a patient and the goal of the integrated healthcare system is to make the experience better for both the patient and for the healthcare providers as well.

This way of providing care for patients is drastically different than how the doctors and nurses may have provided care in the past but one could say that it is an attempt on a large scale to make patients feel similar.  A doctor from Manteno healthcare is not likely to come to your home to provide care but the hope would be that because you are in this network of healthcare and provided quality and uniform care that you may feel somewhat like your father or grandfather felt with the doctor at their home.

Power of Lean Healthcare

As health care costs increase at a faster rate than other products or services, health care providers, in particular hospitals, are under continuous pressure to dramatically improve service, reduce costs, improve patient safety, reduce waiting times, and reduce errors and associated litigation.

However, hospitals are not making the necessary improvements in cost, quality, and safety. A report by the U.S. HHS Office of the Inspector General finds that 20% of consecutive inpatient stay sequences were associated with poor quality care, unnecessary fragmentation of care, or both. The current organization and management of hospitals is an imperfect system that cannot effectively address these issues. Major projects to restructure hospitals, dramatically reduce cost, and improve customer care have had little impact on quality or cost.

In simplistic terms, current healthcare systems are not designed to make the process or ‘value stream’ of care flow smoothly. Healthcare services are often ‘batch and queue’, with patients spending most of their time waiting until the Healthcare Professional is ready i.e. push versus pull. As the population matures, patient cycle times in the hospitals, post-care facilities, and laboratories become key measurements that need to improve.

Our belief is that Lean Healthcare can provide a solution to successfully address some of these concerns with minimal cost but maximum benefit.

Lean in Healthcare

The essence of Lean Thinking is to eliminate waste through understanding how the patient defines value and how to deliver that value. Lean Thinking focuses on creating an efficient, waste-free continuous flow built on a pull vs. ‘batch and queue’ approach aligned with the continual pursuit of a perfect system.

Examples of Healthcare Waste:

– Redundant capture of information on admission

– Multiple recording of patient information

– Excess supplies stored in multiple locations

– Excess time spent looking for charts

– Patient waiting rooms

– Excess time spent waiting for equipment, lab results, x-rays etc.

– Excess time spent dealing with service complaints

Hospitals are made up of a series of processes with diverse lines of business. As a consequence, they need to build their delivery systems with these lines of business in mind. Hospitals need to know the businesses that drive 80% of their value proposition. They need to streamline their organization systems and processes to fully support the process required to deliver high quality care.

Commitment and support for any lean initiative needs to not only come from top healthcare management but, even more critically, from the ‘bottom up’ for implementation. Decision making and system development need to be pushed down to the lowest levels of any healthcare organization.

Management consultants are normally engaged as Lean change agents rather than as Lean facilitators. Healthcare staff should lead any Lean implementation program. These people are best equipped to understand the work environment, issues, challenges, what will work and what won’t. An empowered and knowledgeable team is therefore essential to achieve sustainable improvements and long-term success in any Lean initiative. Put simply, Lean will not work without an educated workforce.

Examples of Lean Healthcare Performance Metrics

– Improved patient satisfaction

– Increased operating room utilization

– Reduced time between procedures

– Lower tools and supplies inventory

– Reduced laboratory space

– Improved cost effectiveness

Lean Healthcare Accreditation

A new Lean Healthcare Green Belt Certification program was recently developed to enable effective staff empowerment. The on-line program represents the first International Healthcare Certification of its kind, and provides an essential ‘first step’ to not only understanding the theory but also the application of Lean tools and practices through detailed work assignments, in-line assessments, and final examination.

The program has been designed in association with the Irish Institute of Industrial Engineers, the Canadian Professional Logistics Institute, Lean Experts, and Healthcare Consultants in conjunction with the Leading Edge Group. It is open to personnel involved in any organization within the healthcare field, particularly those associated with hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, blood banks, laboratories, and pharmacies. Once these people have the ‘appropriate’ knowledge, they will be able to envisage and achieve results and, most importantly, meet the needs of patients now and in the future.

Healthcare Plan Savings Discussed

During these times when hospital bills and professional doctors fee are high, medicines are expensive, and temptations for foods, drinks and vices are everywhere, staying healthy is a must. While some are gifted with good and healthy body, others struggle to maintain a healthy body. And with the price of healthcare plan contributing to the expenses we already have, there is a great need and knowledge on how to somehow cut the cost of healthcare plan.

Although you cannot do anything to bring down the price of your healthcare plan, you can manage to acquire significant saving by following these steps.

Stay Healthy – Yep! The golden rule if you want to live longer. Skeptical? Well, nobody blames you but if you would like to give you body a great chance of living beyond your life expectancy, staying healthy is worth the shot. If you aim to get a cheaper healthcare plan, then this is also a great way to achieve it. Since healthcare plan companies base the price of their plan on the status of the health of the individual, don’t be surprised if some might get higher rate than others. If you are conscious about it, then maintaining a healthy life could spare you from high healthcare plan rate.

Quit Smoking – Now that’s difficult! But if you are a kind of person who will do anything just to keep the healthcare plan rate to the minimum, you can always start by kicking the habit away. So what does it have to do with low healthcare plan? A person who smokes is more prone to healthcare claims than those who do not. And if you understand the business, you would realize that healthcare plan companies receive more claims from smoking plan holders. The tendency is to sanction higher healthcare plan rates to those who smoke. Think about it! If you quite smoking, you save from healthcare plan bills, spare you from the cost of your everyday cigarette consumption, and give you a better chance to live cleaner and longer life.

Exercise and Lose Weight- If you are part of the growing number of Americans who can either be classified as overweight or obese, then expect to have a higher healthcare plan price. It is wise to keep a normal body size and maintain it with regular exercise so you can get a desired healthcare plan rate.

Good healthcare plan selection – If it’s cheap, it does not necessarily mean it’s really “cheap.” Never let the price be your basis in taking a healthcare plan. As much as possible look for plan that gives you more benefits at the price advantageous to you.

Maximize other existing plan – If you presently have health insurance plan, make sure that you avoid getting another one with an identical coverage. This would surely drain your pockets by having unnecessary benefits you can never use. Also avoid buying unnecessary healthcare plan if you already have enough plan.

Know the type of plan you are buying – If you are buying healthcare plan for the first time, you should identify first the type of coverage you want. In this way, you can eliminate those unnecessary coverage you think you can never use. Remember that every coverage is paid so making sure that you can the healthcare plan that fits your need.

Online Degree Programs for Healthcare Administration

As the awareness for healthcare and its concepts is increasing with every passing day, many people are selecting this stream as their professional career. Moreover, a degree in healthcare may do wonders to the degree holder, as there is lot of employment opportunities in the healthcare sector.

Next, obtaining plain knowledge about the subject and having a certificate along with the valuable knowledge is two different things. Possessing a proper certificate positively alters the dynamics of the healthcare practitioner.

The certificate helps the person to conduct the skill more effectively and efficiently. Apart from these, the training obtained during the degree allows the graduates to work as hospital administrators, medical department managers and financial heads for medical based organizations.

The following are details about some of the healthcare degrees, which are available online:

Online Associate Degree in Healthcare Administration: This online associate degree in healthcare administration gives the students an idea related to the basics and importance of leadership and management skills dealing with the healthcare business. This course is useful in giving a jest to the newly joined students, who dream of making the stream their career.

Online Bachelor Degree in Healthcare Administration: This is an online Bachelor’s degree in the subject. It gives a deeper exposure to the concepts of healthcare administration. This course concentrates on the issues like well-managed financial status and the proper decision-making powers of the healthcare organizations. This online course is also helpful in creating awareness in the society related to various healthcare issues.

Online Master Degree in Healthcare Administration: This is the next level that is the master’s of the same course in the healthcare field. This course is available only in some of the selected institutions, where the bachelor degree holders may select a particular area as a specialization subject. This is equal to an MBA program of the healthcare sector education.

Healthcare Job Agency

The services of reliable and competent healthcare job agencies enable talented and skilled professionals including physical therapists, speech language pathologists and occupational therapists to secure highly rewarding job positions in well-known healthcare facilities.

Find the Right Healthcare Job

Domestic as well as internationally educated healthcare professionals registering with healthcare job agencies can secure permanent, temporary, short-term, long-term, full time, part time or travel jobs in premium medical care facilities as well as in public or private organizations. These include government agencies, educational institutions, rehabilitation centers, care clinics, nursing homes, acute care centers, multi-specialty hospitals, home healthcare agencies and physicians’ offices.

Qualified and dynamic healthcare professionals get the opportunity to build their career by working in competitive environments with skilled experts from other academic disciplines. Candidates with the right skill can also enjoy attractive remuneration and benefits including:

• 401(k) retirement savings plan
• Paid housing
• Professional liability insurance
• Healthcare insurance
• Immigration processing assistance (for foreign candidates)
• Continuing education facilities
• Short-term disability insurance
• Section 125 Cafeteria Plan

Get Expert Staffing Solutions

Employers in the healthcare sector also benefit greatly from the excellent recruitment services that medical staffing agencies provide. To select the right professionals to fill the various job slots, these job agencies employ expert professionals who are competent in recruitment procedures including candidate sourcing, preliminary evaluation and interviewing. With these structured recruitment services, healthcare employers can save the money, effort and time needed for putting out job advertisements as well as for performing tedious recruitment procedures.

Reliable Healthcare Job Agency for the Right Solutions

Reliable healthcare job agencies have the expertise and experience to provide the right candidates to fill the job slots in healthcare facilities in the shortest possible time.

Healthcare Recruiting and Staffing Services

Healthcare recruiting and staffing services of reliable recruiting agencies offer excellent recruitment services for a wide range of medical facilities across the US. They specialize in providing the right candidates to medical facilities within the shortest possible time. Qualified professionals in physical therapy, speech language pathology and occupational therapy can easily obtain placements in well known medical care facilities through these agencies. As they maintain a cordial relationship with various healthcare facilities, the agencies are well informed about their staffing requirements.

Talented Professionals for Healthcare Facilities

Healthcare employers and other private and public organizations utilize healthcare recruiting services to meet their requirements for skilled professionals. Multi-specialty hospitals, long term treatment care centers, home healthcare agencies, nursing homes, physicians’ offices, acute care clinics, rehabilitation centers, outpatient clinics, government organizations and educational institutions are among the clients of healthcare recruiting and staffing agencies.

To deliver top quality recruiting and staffing solutions, healthcare staffing service providers maintain a group of talented professionals with excellent experience in recruiting dynamic and skilled candidates. The entire staffing process including candidate sourcing, preliminary assessment and interviewing are carried out with greater care and competence. Utilizing these health care services helps employers save the money, time and effort required for placing job advertisements and conducting tedious enrollment procedures.

Healthcare Recruiting and Staffing Services – Benefits for Candidates

Healthcare recruiting and staffing services provides an excellent opportunity for recently graduated domestic as well as internationally trained candidates in shaping their career as physical therapist, occupational therapist or speech language pathologist. They can rapidly obtain permanent, temporary, short-term, long-term, full-time or part-time placements or travel jobs with higher remuneration and other benefits including:

• Section 125 Cafeteria plan
• 401(k) retirement savings plan
• Completion bonuses
• Travel allowances
• Short-term disability insurance
• Professional liability insurance
• Additional state license
• Immigration processing support (for international candidates)
• Continuing education programs
• Healthcare insurance

Contact Experienced Healthcare Staffing Service Providers

There are several providers of healthcare recruiting and staffing services in the United States. The websites of established providers have comprehensive information about the services offered. By registering online, job seekers can access the job database and take advantage of the excellent job opportunities on offer.

Tips on Healthcare Consulting

Getting healthcare consulting for the IT department can prove to be beneficial, as it will assist to improve efficiency, productivity, monetary efficiency, patient and clinical satisfaction, and quality. Some issues which are typically provided by a healthcare consultation services contain strategies to improve revenue, cut back on expenses, accomplish regulatory compliance, enhance company and clinical processes, and optimize the safety of patients.

These sorts of consulting services can be especially useful for IT departments that may be searching into alternatives for new wellness details systems, assessing the readiness of the infrastructure for wellness records, or implementing a lot more advanced clinical applications. So if you are in charge of a healthcare organization which is going to be making modifications and you want it to go smoothly, contemplate it.

Those which are in charge of running healthcare organizations comprehend how hard it could be to implement alterations within the data technology department. Since so much relies on the electronic infrastructure operating smoothly, it is not genuinely an option to have down time. These kinds of challenges can be met and overcome with appropriate Healthcare Consulting.

Getting consulting for the IT staff will give them the training and info they have to deal with any compliance implementations that your organization is faced with. They’ll also discover ways to enhance the system, permitting them to boost revenue and lower high-priced. They’ll be able to assist streamline clinical processes and even enhance the general safety and well being of patients.

Have you ever regarded as whether or not or not your organization could benefit from Healthcare Consulting? Even though you might have a especially talented information technology staff, it may be hard to remain on top of compliance laws and regulations although managing to streamline enterprise and boost revenue. Nonetheless, a consultation can help with those things.

Healthcare organizations that invest in consultations for their IT staff make a wise investment. They’ll probably recognize gains in revenue while simultaneously studying how to cut expenses. Surprisingly, with the correct details this is achievable while increasing the safety of patients. Consider investing in consultation services for the staff today.

Anybody inside the healthcare industry is conscious of how tough it could be to generally stay compliant while still generating revenue and keeping the safety and satisfaction of patients. Naturally, there are likely methods that every single organization could improve in, but finding those weak points is difficult, especially when they are in the information technology sector.

Even so, it’s achievable and suggested that organizations invest in Healthcare Consulting, which helps IT staffs to simply remain compliant although advancing care via the adoption of EMR/EHR. Quite a few organizations that have been looking into selections for various healthcare info systems have discovered these sorts of consultation services to be specifically helpful. Since the services will also aid the IT staff to increase revenue, it really is a great return on investment.

5 Essential Aspects Of Healthcare PR

Healthcare public relations is a growing field for those who do not mind the challenge of dealing with various individuals, and issues that can become crises.

Like other marketing jobs, healthcare PR requires good oral communication skills, good written communication skills, ability to meet deadlines, crisis communication skills, and knowledge of current issues in health care issues and policies. These are 5 essential aspects that should be sought in healthcare healthcare agencies and professionals. Additionally, most agencies or organizations that hire this type of specialists desire professionals who have 5-7 years in the field.

Healthcare PR firms specialize in public relations for hospitals and similar health care organizations. In addition, this type of marketing practice specializes in promoting goodwill or good relationships between the public and businesses, or other organizations. Like other organizations, some hospitals hire their own public relations staff, while others contract with outside PR agencies to handle agency duties. Good and valuable efforts can save money and keep consumers content, especially when a serious issue or crisis arises. Healthcare professionals in this sector deal with internal and external concerns.

In the health care field, PR experts should be good oral communicators because they are generally the spokespeople for a specific healthcare organization in times of crisis. They need to be able to speak and write carefully and respectfully. Being media savvy is a must for anyone handling public this type of situation.

This individual or business must be able to think on their feet, as well as communicate clear, concise messages to the public through the media. Along with media savvy, another essential aspect in public healthcare advertising is good written communication skills. Professionals in this field generate internal and external documents, including memos, letters, newsletters and updates. In some cases, the officer will maintain the public information page on the healthcare organization’s website.

The professionals who work in healthcare PR should be able to meet deadlines, and also be good at crisis communication. For example, if a patient receives surgery on the wrong part of the body, the situation could be a marketing nightmare for a hospital. An experienced professional is able to develop a targeted message, under tight deadlines to make sure that the public receives an explanation for why the incident occurred.

Finally, those people who do happen to work in healthcare PR agencies or departments must be knowledgeable of current issues in healthcare. This includes being up-to-date on healthcare reform issues, medications of popular interest and the healthcare organization’s policies and procedures.

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