Congressional Briefing Highlights State of the Healthcare Workforce

Dr. Harlan Levine, City of Hope, answered questions from the audience. He was joined by experts from AMN Healthcare, Amgen and Maxim Healthcare Services.

The Healthcare Leadership Council hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill that illuminated significant challenges affecting the healthcare workforce.  The panel consisted of experts from AMN Healthcare, Amgen, Maxim Healthcare Services, and City of Hope.

Ralph Henderson, president of professional solutions and staffing at AMN Healthcare, discussed the shortage of physicians and nurses.  Hundreds of thousands of applicants for nursing and medical schools are turned away annually, and there is a maldistribution of those who are working.  Henderson pointed out that complex state licensure processes limit the mobility of health workers to move freely around the country.

Cara Bauer, executive director of talent management and development at Amgen, spoke of the competitive talent market in biopharma, and how transferable skills are becoming more important for the future.  She highlighted Amgen Foundation’s programs that encourage a growth of STEM knowledge in young people while they are in high school and college.  This education is vital, she noted, to building a future workforce that fits the next generation’s needs.

Andy Friedell, senior vice president of strategy and public affairs at Maxim Healthcare Services, explained that complex patients have a need that extends outside the provider setting, and described community-based care management as an approach to change the patient experience.  Community health workers engage and connect with patients and support them emotionally while helping them overcome barriers to achieving better health.

Harlan Levin, M.D., president of strategy and business ventures for City of Hope, addressed the fact that cancer affects a small percentage of the average workforce but accounts for a large percentage of healthcare spending.  He talked about the challenges for employers and how the best way to help employees is by ensuring patients receive an early and right diagnosis, an innovative cancer care team, and a comprehensive plan addressing medical, social, emotional, and financial needs.