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Forget the Pundits – Here’s How to View Staffing Over the Next Four Years

A lot of medical providers are wondering: “How is health care coverage going to change over the next few years?”

And, more importantly: “What’s the best way to plan for those changes?”

It’s a perfectly reasonable- and downright critical- question to be asking ourselves right now. But as with most future-oriented questions, no one can say for certain how things will shake down over the next four years.

Sure, the talking heads will still pull out their crystal balls and give you their “expert opinion”. But sadly, the pundits’ predictive powers are less accurate than the flip of a coin.

So, what are you to do if you’re in a role that depends on planning for the future?

Start with this…

 

Analyze the current trends

It’s safe to assume that the current political turmoil is unlikely to settle down quickly (although miracles do happen every now and again). Likewise, it’s easy for most people to envision that the cost of care will be forced downward.

Continuing along this train of thought then, you would expect the recent push from Inpatient to Ambulatory Care to continue/accelerate.

This probable outcome means you’ll be required to do more with less; becoming nimbler when faced with as-of-yet unknown political/fiscal/population health challenges and technological changes.

 

Your only viable long-term option

Thus, it would seem the best way to move forward is to empower Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants and other “physician extenders”. That way you’re utilizing the full potential of your workforce.

In fact, you can already see signs of this trend when you look at the increase of PAs entering the workforce- among other data pointing in this direction. Consequently, it wouldn’t be that surprising to observe these positions become even more popular in the next couple years.

Contrary to what most people believe, this won’t demean the role clinical and administrative leadership will play. For instance, as providers take on new roles they need more guidance and support. Meaning, medical leaders will be vital for survival- not just the routine policy improvement.

Per usual, it takes a team effort to effectively provide care for people and the next few years will be no exception- no matter who’s “in charge” of patient care.

 

The full picture moving forward

Considering the current landscape, you must be prepared for change- that much everyone can agree on.

The more strategic planning you do NOW the better off you will be tomorrow. Even if you’re only partially correct in your predictions, you’ve at least given yourself a leg up on any organization that waited to act.

To recap, you should have a…

 

  • Full pipeline of mid-levels in your organization
  • Go-to list of clinical/admin leadership

If you accomplish just those two things, you’ll be better able to respond to the changes that are bound to occur over the next four years.

Remember, you don’t have to perfectly predict the future to plan for it.

Act accordingly.

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