In the News

Crain’s New York

Pat Kane, executive director of the New York State Nurses Association, has seen the pandemic intensify the decades-long fight over adequate nurse staffing.

Before Covid-19 struck, the Midtown South–based union of more than 42,000 frontline nurses made safe-staffing ratios a top priority for its members, who work in major hospitals and other health care settings across the state. The ratios regulate the number of patients that may be assigned to a single nurse…

…The department noted that in 2016, the Center for Health Workforce Studies, an academic research center based at the School of Public Health at the University at Albany, projected that if RN graduation and retirement trends remain the same, the supply of nurses would grow by 5% to 9% between 2015 and 2025, largely keeping pace with demand.

However, the department also acknowledged that other projections, such as those published more recently in the American Journal of Medical Quality, indicated a shortage of more than 39,000 registered nurses in New York by 2030.

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Cato Institute

The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that government licensing of health professionals blocks access to care. Licensing gives state politicians the final word on allowable categories of clinicians, the education and training requirements for each category, and the range of services each category of clinician may perform. It reduces access to health services by increasing prices and reducing the supply of clinicians who can provide those services. It harms health professionals by preventing them from providing services they are competent to provide and by preventing capable individuals from entering or rising within health professions. By suspending such rules to improve access to care for COVID-19 patients, states have acknowledged that licensing prevents clinicians from providing services they are competent to provide….

..Right‐​skilling is critical to reduce costs across the spectrum of care. Academics and health care providers have proposed using right‐​skilling to reduce the cost of primary care by creating such new clinician categories as primary care technicians and community paramedics.6 “Psychiatric pharmacists … could help offset the shortage of psychiatrists by providing medication‐​management services.”

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McKnight’s Senior Living

Some of the fastest-growing occupations in New York between 2016 and 2026 are expected to be positions found in senior living communities and other healthcare settings, according to an annual report on trends in the healthcare workforce in New York.

“The Health Care Workforce in New York State: Trends in the Supply of and Demand for Health Care Workers,” from the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University of Albany School of Public Health, reviewed healthcare employment trends in New York, identifies the healthcare professions and occupations in greatest demand and is meant to guide healthcare workforce policies, including decisions related to education and job training programs.

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Montana State University

An article written by health workforce leaders and published today in the New England Journal of Medicine calls for health care delivery organizations, educators and government leaders to “cut through bureaucratic barriers and adapt regulations to rapidly expand the U.S. health care workforce and sustain it” for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The article was written by eight leaders of public and private research centers who interact with and study the U.S. health workforce, including Peter Buerhaus, director of the Montana State University Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies and professor in the MSU College of Nursing. Additional authors are Erin P. Fraher, Patricia Pittman, Bianca K. Frogner, Joanne Spetz, Jean Moore, Angela J. Beck and David Armstrong

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Times Telegram

Mohawk Valley Health System CEO Darlene Stromstad said she needs all the health care workers she can get to take care of an expected surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Oneida County and surrounding areas…

…Whether New York has a shortage of health care workers when there’s not a pandemic can be a question of perspective, said Jean Moore, director of the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University at Albany.

“Do we have adequate numbers? Yes and no,” she said.

“Sometimes it’s not about counting the numbers. … They tend not to be well-distributed,” Moore said. “And many times, access to the underserved remains a sort of chronic problem.”

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Sandra Eaton, a 66-year-old with complex medical needs, described the prospect of leaving her apartment in a rural upstate New York village for a nursing home as a death sentence…

…The health care dilemma is acutely felt in rural communities across upstate, where nearly one in five people are 65 and over, according to a study last year by the Empire Center. By contrast, about 15% of the New York City area is 65 and over.

Further, those rural areas tend to be poorer and have fewer doctors. It all comes together to widen medical deserts where thousands of New Yorkers receive limited health care in comparison to more affluent suburbs and cities.

While Long Island had about 148 primary-care physicians for every 100,000 people, the comparable number was 89 in the Southern Tier, 83 in the Mohawk Valley and 78 in the North Country, according to a 2018 report from the University at Albany-based Center for Health Workforce Studies.

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Everyone loves a success story.

How about 25 success stories?

That’s exactly what readers will find in a new compilation that details best practices in innovative oral health service delivery programs drawn from over 40 case studies conducted by the Oral Health Workforce Research Center, part of the Center for Health Workforce Studies. The latter is an academic research center based at the School of Public Health on the Health Sciences Campus at the University at Albany, State University of New York.

Titled “Compendium of Innovations in Oral Health Service Delivery,” the 64-page digital booklet features organizations from across the country that have found success through varied measures in expanding oral care to underserved populations

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Becker’s Hospital Review

To modernize healthcare practices, regulations limiting nurses and physician assistants should be revised, according to a perspective piece published Feb. 12 in The New England Journal of Medicine. 

Authored by eight directors of health workforce research centers, the commentary suggested states implement the same scope-of-practice laws and regulations across health professions.

The authors’ collective research hasn’t found anything to support claims that relaxing scope of practice for nurses harms patients, Bianca Frogner, PhD, director of the Center for Health Workforce Studies and an associate professor at Seattle-based University of Washington School of Medicine, said in a news release. She said most studies find that relaxing scope of practice expands access and the quality of care is the same as that delivered by physicians.

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Managed Healthcare Executive

Scope of practice laws, long the province of the states and the subject of fierce lobbying, should be standardized across the country, argue healthcare workforce experts in an opinion piece published in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine. This could be more than wishful thinking because the authors may have an ally in the Trump administration.

“Greater uniformity would support health professionals’ ability to practice to the full extent of their education and training and enhance opportunities for efficient and effective health service delivery that better meets patients’ needs,” wrote Bianca Frogner, PhD, the director of Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University of Washington, and her seven colleagues…

…The other authors of the Perspective piece, titled “Modernizing Scope-of-Practice Regulations—Time to Prioritize Patients” are Erin Fraher, Joanne Spetz, Patricia Pittman, Jean Moore, Angela Beck, David Armstrong, and Peter Buerhaus.

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Advisory Board

Female physicians on average are paid $37,000 less than male physicians in their first job after finishing their residencies or fellowships—and the gap cannot be fully explained by seemingly obvious causes, such as practice area and a desire to have greater control over work-life balance, according to a study published last week in Health Affairs.

For the study, researchers examined the unconditional mean starting compensation of more than 16,000 individuals who finished their residency training or fellowships from 1999 through 2017. The researchers reviewed data from the University at Albany, State University of New York‘s Center for Health Workforce Studies’ New York Survey of Residents Completing Training.

The researchers in the study wrote that they focused on “information about new physicians accepting their first non-training position” because it “minimizes unobserved differences in productivity and work experience that may confound analyses of a wider range of physician seniority.”

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