Health Workforce Key to Successful Health Reform Implementation

April 1, 2010

Challenges Facing All Health Professions Highlight Need for Comprehensive Policy

WASHINGTON, April 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Now that the Administration and Congress have enacted historic health reform legislation, they must work together to establish a comprehensive and coordinated national health workforce policy to ensure health reform’s successful implementation, according to Dr. Steven A Wartman, president and CEO of the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC). “Our health workforce is already strained by powerful economic and demographic forces,” Wartman said. “If we do not significantly improve how we educate, train, and mobilize our health workforce, we will not have the appropriate mix and geographic distribution of health professionals to meet the increased demand for health care services that will accompany expanded access to coverage, especially in already underserved urban and rural communities.”

“The media has focused on primary care physicians,” continued Wartman, “but the challenges affect the entire health workforce, including nursing, dentistry, behavioral health, gerontology, and many other disciplines.” The AAHC believes that addressing historically fragmented and ineffective health workforce policies is essential to ensure that recently enacted health system reforms are not undermined by the lack of a comprehensive, coordinated national health workforce policy. Specifically, the AAHC:

  • Urges policymakers to develop and implement an integrated, coordinated, strategic national health workforce policy. Developing a strategic national policy should be the primary goal of the newly created national health workforce commission.
  • Urges stakeholders to work together to harmonize conflicting national and state-based regulatory and private self-regulatory standards (e.g., licensure, scope of practice, accreditation) that create significant barriers to optimizing the health workforce. Needed policy changes cannot be applied consistently or in a timely manner without significant reduction in the fragmentation of health workforce policymaking.
  • Urges the new national health workforce commission to serve as a continuously available policy research and consultative resource. The newly created national commission has many of the characteristics of the permanent, independent health workforce planning body recommended by the AAHC, but its timeline for recommending policy changes needs to be accelerated and its ability to implement policy changes strengthened.

The AAHC’s recommendations are drawn from its landmark report, Out of Order, Out of Time: The State of the Nation’s Health Workforce. To request a copy, or to download the report, please visit the AAHC website: http://www.aahcdc.org/policy/workforce.php. For topical discussion of health-related news, see the AAHC blog, www.HealthPROSe.org.

The AAHC is a national non-profit association dedicated to advancing the nation’s health and well-being through the vigorous leadership of academic health centers.

SOURCE Association of Academic Health Centers

Source: newswire

comments powered by Disqus