Physician Shortage Outlook? Not Good
We knew the national physician shortage was bad, but new data from the federal government reveals a projected deficit of more than 20,000 physicians by 2025 (taking into account graduate medical residents), according to the U.S. government accountability office. The office also noticed that many physicians tend to practice in urban areas and the Northeast, with rural regions hit the hardest by the shortage. So far, federal funding to assuage this issue has been limited.
Worries for rural and rust belt hospitals
National Public Radio’s Robert Siegel and Jessica Cheung take a look at the precarious fiscal situation of Ohio hospitals and the communities they serve. Those areas have been hard hit by the loss of steel and coal jobs, and a big chunk of their remaining employment is in the health care sector. In one county, for instance, a quarter of all private-sector jobs are in health care, NPR notes. Because a significant proportion of people living in these communities are on Medicaid, the possibility of cutbacks to the program sends chills down the spines of hospital CEOs. Joe Tasse, acting CEO of Trinity Hospital, points out that certain departments, like emergency care and obstetrics have high rates of Medicaid patients and are also among the most costly to operate. If Trinity Hospital were forced to cut back on some services it provides or perhaps to close altogether, the impact on residents needing care and on local economies “would be pretty devastating,” Tasse says.
He won’t be a nurse. Is it really the wife’s fault?
The New York Times’ Susan Chira analyzes why many unemployed men refuse to consider moving into fields with plenty of job openings — like nursing, nurse assistants, home health aides, occupational therapists and physical therapists. And some of the experts she quotes point the blame in a surprising direction — the wives. Despite all our work to overcome gender biases, it seems that “work is at the core of what it means to be a man, in a way that work is not at the core of femininity,” one of those experts avers. A researcher notes that it’s not just a blue-collar issue. His studies found that some middle-aged white-collar professionals were willing to consider lower-paying jobs in what have typically been considered feminine fields but, as Chira writes, “encountered resistance from their wives, who urged them to keep looking.”