Medical care accounts for almost 20 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In 2010, The Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act was signed into law. With the initiation of the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996, the field of medicine, patient privacy, health insurance, health care employment and many other aspects concerning health care, while responsible for one-fifth of the country's economy, have gone through dynamic and, sometimes, difficult change.
Keeping up with health care reform, whether one is a patient, physician, nurse or other health care provider has been complex, confusing, and anxiety-producing. For institutions such as hospitals, surgery centers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, dialysis centers, and many other places where either people are employed or receive patient services, changes in health care delivery, privacy protection, staffing shortages, procedural compliance standards, and many other issues are affecting the administration of quality care tremendously.
On the business side of healthcare, changes in insurance laws, mandatory access to care, medical billing and coding, mandatory electronic medical record transformation, and other financial and record keeping continue to evolve along with each step of health care reform. Medical recruitment is focusing on hiring candidates with business experience as well as medical office experience as the financial complexities increase. Medical recruiters often look for registered nurses with master degrees in business administration to fill the ever-growing care management role required by insurers.
The structure of the health care system is based on a completely different model than it was only fifteen years ago. Physician private practices have changed in terms of productivity and quality of care. Medical recruitment is participating more in the need for physicians than ever before.
Health care reformers are proposing Affordable Care Organizations in which a patient is shared by a provider team consisting of a physician, hospital or long term care facility if needed. Physicians would be rewarded with incentives for providing access to populations they may not have otherwise served if they were in private practice. Because this is a new concept, medical recruitment is being sought to convince potential ACO members of the benefits and rewards of this model of care. Recruiters must show how cost effective an ACO can be without giving up quality care. This has been a tougher sell by medical recruiters to experienced physicians, and patients alike, who have a bad taste from the not-so-friendly managed care organizations of the 1980s.
Medical recruitment has been concentrating on the concept of hospitalists for institutions interested in bringing a doctor on board solely as a company employee. These are doctors hired to be part of hospital staff taking over patient care until a patient is discharged. This replaces residents, interns and personal physician privileges. A hospitalist has no separate practice or patients. This is becoming a popular option for new doctors who do not have the financing to open a private practice. It also allows a doctor to receive company benefits, set schedules, and other perks a physician-owned practice does not offer.
Physicians are also being recruited for temporary positions termed "locum tenen." These physicians are recruited to replace doctors on maternity leave, temporary leave of absence, and some are re-location recruits looking for a change of discipline or geographic location.
Nursing shortages are widespread throughout the country and have been for decades. Medical recruitment firms focus heavily on matching what a nurse requires with what a hospital or other facility is offering in hopes of maintaining a better retention rate. Medical recruiters must research employers in-depth so that there are no surprises when a nurse accepts a position. If a nurse is applying to be a patient caregiver, he or she does not want to be mopping floors or cleaning restrooms a majority of the shift.
Considering that one-fifth of the existing GDP of the U.S. economy relies on the growing health care industry and forecasters predict that number will increase exponentially as the population ages, the medical recruitment industry will be heavily relied on to provide quality staffing to facilitate that rapid expansion.
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