Running head: THE HEALTHCARE SECTOR 1
THE HEALTHCARE SECTOR 2
A Pertinent Healthcare Issue
A Pertinent Issue in the Healthcare Sector
The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as the ACA, has continually enabled millions of people to acquire health coverage. The number of enrollees is expected to increase over the years. However, since the law passed around 9 years ago, it is clear that it has been central to the issues in the healthcare sector especially the nursing sector. As earlier noted, the major issue is the creation of a high demand for nurses. According to the US bureau of labor statistics, the field if expected to grow by 16% by 2024. At the Baptist Health System, the effects of the ACA are currently being felt. There is a major shift where the patients are no longer seeking emergency room services, but are looking for services from the primary care facilities and the urgent care facilities. This means that the nurses available must adjust and focus on providing the services where needed. This has created an increasing demand for nurses.
It is one of the major problems that have been created. There is a high demand of nurses and there are no readily available human resources to meet the needs. A good example is the Baptist Health System where it has responded by creating a residency program where the resident nurses need to be trained on their roles in new settings. This tends to slow performance and increases waiting times. It is an example of the big question being asked regarding the nursing field in response to the trends introduced by the ACA now that millions of people now have an access to health coverage.
In order to address the shortage of nurses, there are mitigating measures and strategies that are being adopted. Susan Salmond and Mercedes Echevarria (2017) note that a majority of the facilities are dedicating more spending to hiring visiting nurses. A good example is the Charleston Medical that spent over $12 million in 2017 on the travelling nurses. The amount is estimated to be more than double what was spent three years ago. This is in line with an industry analysis that shows that the cost of hiring travelling nurses has increased to $4.8 billion a year, which is more than double what it was three years ago. This move means more operational costs for the facilities which may subsequently see a rise in the treatment costs.
Breanna Lathrop and Donna Hodnicki (2014) notes that healthcare facilities are focused towards retention of nurses and are offering more benefits. The authors note that many hospitals are now offering additional benefits including no-cost housing, loan repayment, and career training and mentoring. The facilities are taking up measures to ensure that the current labor force does not reduce in the wake of the volumes of the patients in the waiting rooms. This trend is consistent with the measures taken by the Baptist Health System. It was earlier noted that the hospital offers a residency program where the nurses are offered no-cost specialty training. This is an effort not only for equipping them with the right skills, but also for retaining them.
From the sections above, it can be seen that an approach for addressing the issue outlined entails retaining more nurses to address the shortage being experienced. It is an effective approach as the facilities need more nurses. They need to spend more on hiring and retaining. This approach has both positive and negative effects on the Baptist Health System. In terms of positive outcomes, the facility will be able to retain its nurse workforce hence maintain high quality services and reduced waiting time. This will help it meet its performance goals. Additionally, the organization can formulate strategic plans based on the current workforce. It can make plans with certainty enabling it to attain better performance goals. Further, a focus on hiring and retaining will enable the institution to create a competent workforce as they will be trained continuously. The skills they already have will be added on. On the other hand, the program has two major setbacks. One, the organization must adjust its budget and invest more in hiring and retention of registered nurses. This might have key impacts on the performance of the organizations. Hiring nurses that need training may have a negative impact on performance before they are skilled enough to meet performance goals in the new specialties.
The ACA is an important landmark in the US healthcare as more millions of people can now access health coverage. However, the healthcare sector was not prepared for the increased need of services, creating a shortage of registered nurses in the country. In response, many facilities are forced to spend more on hiring and retaining nurses as well as on the visiting ones. In the long run, this may have negative effects on the overall organizational performance. The facilities can draft strategies for optimization of the current labor force in a manner that does not comprise quality of the services offered.
Lathrop, B., & Hodnicki, D. R. (2014). The Affordable Care Act: Primary Care and the Doctor of Nursing Practice Nurse. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing 19(1), 15-33.
Salmond, S. W., & Echevarria, M. (2017). Healthcare Transformation and Changing Roles for Nursing. Orthopedic Nursing 36(1), 12-25.
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