Geriatrics Health Care Workforce
Shortage of Geriatrics Healthcare Providers
By 2030, when the last of the baby boomers reaches the age of 65, the U.S. population aged 65 and older will exceed 70 million – approximately twice the number in 2000. As America's 77 million baby boomers age, the need for healthcare professionals trained in geriatrics will be high in demand. Unfortunately, doctors, physician assistants, psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists, pharmacists, social workers and other healthcare professionals specially trained in the care of older adults are in dangerously short supply. The complex problems associated with aging will require a supply of healthcare providers with special training in geriatrics.
A career focused on caring for older adults can be particularly financially unattractive for physicians with increasingly large medical school loan debts. A loan forgiveness program will provide the incentives needed to bring more providers into the field of geriatrics.
Title VII & VIII Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program
Title VII seeks to improve high quality, interprofessional geriatric education and training to the health professions workforce, including geriatric specialists, as well as increase geriatric competencies of primary care providers and other health professionals to improve care in medically underserved areas. Title VIII funds curricula development and dissemination, continuing education, and traineeship for individuals preparing for advanced nursing education degrees in geriatric nursing, long-term care, gero-psychiatric nursing or other nursing areas that specialize in the care of older Americans.
Medicare currently reimburses hospitals for GME payments pro-rated on the percentage of a hospital’s patient days that are Medicare days. Geriatrics fellowship programs (including Geriatric Medicine and Geriatric Psychiatry) are the only GME programs that care for only Medicare patients. Therefore, it could be argued that for individuals in these programs, hospitals should get full GME payments, with no reduction for non-Medicare patient days. While this benefit would not directly impact the trainees going into such programs, it would make it more advantageous for hospitals to invest in the growth of these programs. Furthermore, if these enhanced GME payments to hospitals are tied to a requirement for financial incentives to physicians choosing to train in Geriatrics (e.g., loan repayment), there could be a direct impact on the career choices of physicians in training.
Working in Coalition: Partnership
Eldercare Workforce Alliance
The Eldercare Workforce Alliance is a group of 28 national organizations, joined together to address the immediate and future workforce crisis in caring for an aging America
Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition
The Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC) is an informal alliance of more than 60 organizations representing a variety of schools, programs, health professionals and students dedicated to educating professional health personnel.
Institute of Medicine Report – RETOOLING for an AGING AMERICA
The Institute of Medicine, in its critical report Retooling for an Aging America, called for immediate investments in preparing our health care system to care for older Americans and their families.
Click here to view a free PDF download of the report.