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Primary care staffing top priority for hospitals

Posted on October 21st, 2013 Read time: 1 minutes

Employment at health care facilities is following a new pattern. Illness prevention is replacing fee-for-service practices that were in demand last decade. As a result, primary care practitioners are replacing radiologists and cardiologists as the most sought after specialty physicians, U.S. News reported.

Factors driving the new trend are a growing elderly population, a shortage of physicians and the Affordable Care Act, which is causing hospitals to prioritize prevention. In-demand primary care positions include family and internal medicine, hospitalist physicians, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants.

Finding the employees to fill the new positions will be a major step for hospitals. According to John R. Thomas, CEO of MedSynergies, "[s]taffing is the linchpin" of modernizing hospitals. In fact, 42 percent of hospital executives cited staffing as a top priority this year compared to only 9 percent in 2009, according to a survey by AMN healthcare.

As duties in hospitals grow in and out of demand, the qualifications of employees do as well. To cope with the need for changing roles, some hospitals could be hiring more temporary or contract workers. With such a strategy, executives could alter their staff without consistent lay-offs. Others, however, might wait until the Affordable Care Act rolls out in 2014 to determine exactly what changes need be made.

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