Thrive in a Tough Economy – Opportunities in Health Care

Today’s economy is in an apparent freefall; mortgage crises, Wall Street bailouts, and weakening job prospects are affecting us all. Hope is not lost, however; there is one employment sector that continues to show steady growth. According to Joanne Giudicelli, Talent Management Consultant and author of HIRE POWER: A Radical New Strategy for Defining and Executing Successful Hiring”, the health care sector is itself among the healthiest in terms of employment opportunities. According to Giudicelli, “As the large crop of Baby Boomers age, the need for health workers has increased. The need is not only found in the United States, but in countries throughout the world.” Backing Giudicelli’s statement, an August 1, 2008 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that “employment continued to fall in construction, manufacturing, and several service-providing industries, while health care continued to add jobs.”

The BLS further points out, “Employment in health care continued to increase with a gain of 33,000 in July. This industry has added 368,000 jobs over the past 12 months. In July, there were job gains of 21,000 in ambulatory health care services and 10,000 in hospitals.”

Registered nurses were among the health care careers with the highest employment in 2007, while physician specialists and dental specialists were among the highest paid. The 2008-2009 Occupational Outlook Handbook (available at http://www.bls.gov/OCO/) offers three separate health care listings:

Professional: Health Diagnosing and Treating-17 occupations, including physicians, surgeons and dentists.

Professional: Health Technologists and Technicians-15 occupations, including various specialized technicians, registered nurses and athletic trainers.

Service: Healthcare Support-8 occupations, including dental assistants, massage therapists and administrative positions such as medical transcribing.

Career Coach and Author Alice Fairhurst points out, “While most people are aware of the critical need for primary care physicians, physician assistants and nursing staff, many do not realize the shortage in the allied health professionals such as respiratory care practitioners, medical transcriptionists, radiographers and lab technicians. Those with the highest projected need include physical therapist assistants, dental hygienists and pharmacy technicians. Some health care providers are working with two year colleges to provide needed clinical training.”

Mid-career workers who have lost their jobs due to downsizing are training to enter fields where demand is high. Right now, health care is at the top of the list. Additionally, health care workers from other countries are getting U.S. certification to meet the increasing demand.

To help sort out the various opportunities in this growing sector, Fairhurst recommends individuals take a personality assessment. The Keirsey Temperament Sorter (free at keirsey.com) can help guide you to health care careers that would be most satisfying for your personality type.

oGuardians like the stability and service aspect of health care, preferring technical fields: dentist, physician, pharmacist or lab technologist. Many Guardians prefer fields requiring direct contact with patients: family physician, nurse, dental assistant or medical secretary.

oArtisans like action and change of pace and can often be found as surgeons, emergency care workers, or medical technicians. Some Guardians may become nurses, radiology technologists, medical social workers, or massage therapists.

oIdealists want to improve the future for others. Some Idealists are drawn to rehabilitation, speech pathology, and social work, while others teach/counsel others or administer in health care settings.

oRationals are the most fascinated with pure science, and are drawn to administration, scientific analysis, or biomedical engineering. Certain Rationals seek the newest advances in any field and can be found promoting and/or researching new ideas.

If you’re new to the workforce, looking to make a change, or have had change thrust upon you by the melting economy, the opportunities in health care are worth investigating. There is a broad range of jobs in the field, and there is sure to be at least one that offers career satisfaction to any person, regardless of personality type. For more information on temperament, and to take the free Keirsey Temperament Sorter, please visit Keirsey.com.

Home Health Care History

The early nineteenth century witnessed the initial stages of the home health care industry that offered qualified nurses to take care of the poor and sick in their homes. In 1909 when Metropolitan Life Insurance Company started to write policies that comprised of home health care, this industry became very popular. This company is credited for paying the first compensation for home health care industry. This gave rise to the birth of organized home health care.

The Great Depression in 1929 caused several businesses along with home care industry a lot of hindrances and struggle. This went on till the follow-up visits made by nurses after hospital discharge became reimbursable by the Medicare Act of 1966. The home care industry became most feasible and practical when Medicare in an attempt to reduce hospitalization costs set up DRG’s program (Diagnostic Related Group). This laid down that some disease or hospital practice needed a certain stay period. So the discharged patients were more sick compared to their DRG counterparts.

The story does not finish with DRGs. This in fact was the commencement of patient care vs. medical ethics debate. This subject shall be soon addressed in the present health care reform segment. The price of health care is the issue. Questions like how much does a human life cost and how long one should pay for keeping alive a person after he ceases to be a contributor to the society need to be addressed.

Home health care industry needs to answer these questions. The main intention of the DRG programs was to cut down the hospital stay in order to lower hospitalization costs. Thus this becomes a challenge to the agencies. But gradually home care started becoming expensive. The Balanced Budge Act of 1997 hand one major side effect. It limited the benefit days to the patients under home health care thereby lowering the compensations to the various home health care agencies. This resulted in many of these agencies going out of business.

The price to take care of a patient will always stay an issue. There was a growth of nosocomial diseases in hospitals that lead to heavy health care costs. Patients started getting discharged in a much sicker condition than before. This put additional burden on the family of the patient to make available good care once the family member is home. Also majority of the people were working. Home health care agencies that provide services were unable to discharge patients when they exceed their Medicare days if they are in a bad condition or its not safe to depart from them without any nursing services.

In case the home care agency declines admission of a patient who seems sicker than the number of reimbursement days allowed by the government, the patients’ family does not have too many choices. In case of the patient being discharged without any adequate follow-up care, the patients’ family can seek services of a qualified agency that could strain on emergency room visits and re-hospitalization leading to more compensation issues. Such questions are difficult to answer more so in cases where cost is to be taken care of. But, as time passes, such questions will continue to haunt till there are satisfactory answers to them.