'Healthcare staffing growth will remain healthy,' and other letters to the editor
Regarding the article "Why health hiring is slowing as health spending is growing" (ModernHealthcare.com, March 17), it should be noted that healthcare hiring continues to be very healthy, growing by approximately 60,000 jobs over the first three months of this year. And that growth occurred even though Congress was debating the future of healthcare policy.
Possibly an even more important statistic came out earlier this year from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, showing that there were approximately 1 million healthcare job openings in December 2016 and only about half that number of hires for that month. So even if the pace of healthcare hiring growth cools slightly, there still remains a huge number of unfilled jobs in the industry. We are certainly seeing this phenomena on the frontlines of healthcare staffing.
The fact is that healthcare policies are not the principal drivers of the rising demand for healthcare. Perhaps the biggest driver is the aging of our population: People 65 and older experience three times as many hospital days as the general population, and those 75 and older experience four times as many. The number of people 65 and older will rise from 40 million in 2010 to 72 million in 2030 and nearly 90 million by 2050. Other drivers of demand for healthcare include the improving economy.
Meanwhile, the still super-hot demand for healthcare professionals is fueled by these factors, plus the growing shortages of physicians, nurses, allied professionals, executives and even support personnel such as medical coders.
The healthcare industry and healthcare staffing continue to be robust, and we don't see that changing for the foreseeable future.
Susan SalkaPresident and CEOAMN HealthcareSan Diego
Regarding the article "Faith-based hospitals could lose decades-old ERISA exemptions" (ModernHealthcare.com, April 1), as a practicing Catholic who spent 10 of my almost 40 years of healthcare human resources management in Catholic systems, I am amused by anyone who maintains that faith-based hospitals/systems should be exempt from ERISA requirements as a "church plan."
The thousands of non-faith-based but not-for-profit hospitals in this country have been required to abide by these regulations and are every bit as "mission-driven" as their church-aligned counterparts claim to be. The change in structure from being just one more arm of the ministries of a sponsoring order or diocese (the original basis of the exemption) to a corporation operating, in most cases, at a great distance from the sponsor, should have been a clear signal to the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Labor Department that the exemption no longer made sense.
The compliance obligations and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. premiums should apply equally to all not-for-profit hospitals/systems, regardless of their origins or "sponsorship."
Bernard H. BeckerVice president and chief human resources officerStormont Vail HealthTopeka, Kan.
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