A majority of hospital chief executive officers say they don't have enough physicians, nurses or allied health professionals to handle increased demand if health reform improves access, according to a survey released Monday by AMN Healthcare, a large provider of clinical staffing services.
The survey, completed by 285 hospital executives, found that although there are more applicants for jobs today because of the recession, significant gaps remain. And what's worse, many of the executives believe the situation will not improve.
"While the short-term economic environment may have temporarily eased the ability to recruit and retain clinical staff, the long-term dynamics of an aging population will drive the need for thousands of additional healthcare professionals," said Susan Nowakowski, president of AMN Healthcare.
"Any plan to expand access to care would intensify an already anticipated critical shortage of physicians. Healthcare reform should include robust efforts to train more doctors, nurses, and other clinicians," she said.
Among the survey's highlights:
Asked if their service areas had enough clinicians to handle increased demand if more patients have a source of healthcare payment, 21% said their regions had enough physicians, 33% said they had enough nurses, and 31% said they had enough pharmacists.
The AMN survey concluded that shortages persist though some hospital CEOs said the economic downturn has alleviated some of the difficulty of recruiting clinicians.