Over the next five years, California hospitals could face a shortage of allied health care workers because of an aging medical work force and other factors, according to a report by the California Hospital Association, Modern Healthcare reports (Vesely, Modern Healthcare, 2/9).
For the report, CHA conducted a survey of California hospitals between January 2010 and May 2010. Researchers at the UC-San Francisco Center for the Health Professions analyzed the findings (Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 2/10).
According to the report, California's hospital work force will need more than one million new allied health professionals by 2030. CHA notes that an aging population, the federal health reform law and population growth will contribute to the increase in demand (Payers & Providers, 2/10).
Researchers also found that upcoming retirements will fuel a higher demand for certain allied health workers, such as:
- Diagnostic imaging workers;
- Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians;
- Physical therapists;
- Radiological technicians; and
- Respiratory therapists (Modern Healthcare, 2/9).
In addition, 844 clinical lab scientists in California will be eligible for retirement by 2015. However, the state produces only about 125 graduates in the profession annually, according to the report.
C. Duane Dauner, CEO and president of CHA, recommended that policymakers address financial gaps that could limit the ability of educational institutions to train allied health workers (Sacramento Bee, 2/10).
The report also called for educational institutions to align course work with job duties and standardize requirements across campuses (Payers & Providers, 2/10).