Coming up short

The nurse shortage is not as worrisome as once feared, but it is still an issue for the field, according to a study published in Medical Care, the American Public Health Association’s journal. The authors of the report forecast that the registered nurse shortage will be about 130,000 in 2025. While that’s “still a big shortage,” it’s far less than the 500,000 to 800,000 forecasted a decade ago, says Peter Buerhaus, co-author and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies at Montana State University. Significant variables for the future include the pace at which aging baby boomer nurses retire, and the change in demand for nurses that will be required of the transforming health care system.

CMS jumps into health equity battle

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released its first-ever plan to address health equity in Medicare. The four-year plan targets Medicare populations experiencing disproportionately high burdens of disease, lower quality care and barriers accessing care. The plan has six priority areas, including increasing the ability of the health care workforce to meet the needs of vulnerable populations, and improving communication and language access for individuals with limited English proficiency and persons with disabilities.

Workforce research organizations unveiled

George Washington University and Oregon State University opened separate research divisions with a major focus on health care workforce matters. George Washington’s Milken Institute of Public Health launched the GW Healthcare Workforce Institute, aiming to bolster health workforce policies domestically and globally. “The institute hopes to advance the development of policies that address the quality, supply, distribution and use of the health care workforce,” says Fitzhugh Mullan, M.D., the Murdock Head professor of medicine and health policy. Oregon State’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences established the Oregon Center for Health Innovation, in part to help build a workforce to address health challenges of the future.