The Importance of Strengthening Our Country’s Health Care Workforce

Last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched its Health Workforce Initiative to support, strengthen, and grow the health workforce by leveraging programs across the Department. Throughout the summer of 2023, the Initiative highlighted programs to enhance the health workforce recruitment and prioritized the need to renew and extend the National Health Service Corps and the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program.

It also continues to focus on federal investments to support individuals from various health workforce disciplines, such as physicians, nurses, dentists, behavioral health care providers, community health workers, peer support specialists, and others who devote their careers to improving the nation’s health and well-being.

In addition, the HHS Initiative plans to leverage the $2.7 billion workforce investment proposed in the President’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget for the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) workforce training, scholarship, loan repayment, and well-being programs. (Congress is currently negotiating the 2024 budget.) The HRSA is an agency within HHS that administers various programs aimed at expanding, diversifying, and strengthening the health workforce, with a particular emphasis on fulfilling the health care needs of underserved and rural populations.

A Shortage of Health Care Workers

According to survey data from the American Hospital Association (AHA), employment openings for various nursing workers climbed by up to 30% between 2019 and 2020, while respiratory therapist positions increased by 31%. These shortages are anticipated to continue, with an analysis of EMSI data indicating that there will be a lack of up to 3.2 million healthcare workers by 2026. Furthermore, our country will confront a physician deficit of up to 124,000 by 2033, and we will need to hire at least 200,000 nurses each year to satisfy rising demand and replace retiring nurses.

Furthermore, according to the AHA, there are significant shortages of allied health and mental health specialists, particularly in historically disenfranchised rural and urban regions. These workforce shortages, combined with an aging population, an increase in chronic diseases and behavioral health conditions, and advances in the “state-of-the-art” of care delivery, all contribute to the need for supportive policies to ensure that America’s health care workforce has access to care and is adequately prepared for the future delivery system.

We need more health workers, especially those who look like and share the experiences of the people they serve. And we need to take care of the people who take care of us – especially their mental health”, said Secretary Becerra. “This Initiative will help to elevate workforce projects across the Department, engage with stakeholders, and identify potential policy gaps and opportunities to prioritize.”

About One80 Intermediaries/Manchester Specialty

Manchester Specialty, a division of One80 Intermediaries, provides comprehensive business insurance solutions for for home care, medical staffing, misc. medical facilities, and elder care organizations. Licensed to do business as a program administrator in all 50 states and D.C., our agent/broker partners and their Allied Health clients look to us for our expertise, broad product capability, and commitment to the market and the quality and stability of our insurance programs.

For more information call us at 1-802-472-1500 or visit Allied Health Care Firms – One80 Intermediaries.