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Poll: Reform may worsen healthcare worker shortage

November 17 2009
Staffing Industry Analysts North American Daily News

The U.S. needs more doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals; and universal healthcare could make those shortages worse, according to a survey of hospital CEOs by AMN Healthcare Services Inc. (NYSE: AHS) released Monday.

When asked which healthcare workers the U.S. was short, 95% said physicians, 91% said nurses, 79% said allied professionals and 86% said pharmacists.

If universal healthcare coverage becomes a reality, 70% said there wouldn't be enough doctors to meet increased demand. About half of CEOs also thought demand would outpace supply for nurses, allied healthcare and pharmacists.

"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," Susan Nowakowski, president of AMN Healthcare, said. "Any plan to expand access to care would intensify an already anticipated critical shortage of clinicians. Healthcare reform should include robust efforts to train more doctors, nurses and other clinicians."

The survey included 285 hospital CEOs and was done in partnership with The Council on Physician and Nurses Supply, a group of healthcare experts funded by AMN that seeks ways to solve the shortage of doctors and nurses.

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