State of Play: The healthcare workforce delivers quality, effective healthcare to a diverse and growing American population.  Currently there is a shortage of available personnel due to a variety of factors including population growth, healthcare provider retirement, an aging population (which brings an increase in utilization of health services), and insurance coverage expansion.  The workforce shortage is not limited to one field but extends to a wide range of healthcare professions.  According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States faces a shortage of up to 121,300 physicians by 2030.  Similarly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for 203,700 new RNs each year through 2026 to fill newly created positions and to replace retiring nurses.  In addition, there is a lack of sustainable funding for other integral members of the care team, such as community health workers.  Workforce shortage and payment issues are at the crux of care delivery.

HLC Position: HLC believes health system stability includes having a well-trained workforce to meet the needs of our country’s evolving health system, as well as our growing and aging population.  HLC supports increased GME funding, as well as increasing the number of residency slots available in both primary and specialty care.  HLC also supports the expanded use of telemedicine and immigration rules that allow recruitment of nurses and other workers critical to the healthcare industry.  Nonphysician providers should be allowed to practice to the full scope of their training and should be reimbursed for such services. More must be done to make mental and behavioral health services more accessible and integrated for those who can benefit from them.  HLC also promotes safe harbor legislation as an innovative healthcare liability solution that provides greater protection of healthcare providers against liability for utilizing evidence-based medical practices, including through health information technology.

HLC Recent Activity:

  • On February 28, HLC wrote the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee on the importance of workforce programs that train providers to care for rural residents.
  • As part of HLC’s High-Need Beneficiary Playbook, several recommendations focus on workforce needs. These include payment to support better care coordination and an adequate workforce of physicians, community health workers, and other direct health professionals, as well as adoption of the nurse licensure compact in all 50 states.