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New Administration, Congress Must Act to Avert Health Workforce Crisis
Date:11/10/2008

Coordinated national planning needed to adapt to changing workforce demands and threats

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Without action by the new Administration and Congress to develop an integrated, comprehensive, national health workforce policy, the U.S. is at risk of losing its status as the global health care leader, according to the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC). The Association calls on policymakers to advance beyond incremental steps, and embrace fundamental change in the nation's approach to health workforce planning.

"It is essential that the nation take a critical look at the current health workforce policy framework which is no longer adaptable to changing national health needs," said AAHC President and CEO Dr. Steven A. Wartman. "We need decisive action because the workforce plays such a pivotal role in biomedical research and science, access to care, as well as the U.S. economy -- including jobs creation," he added.

The recent AAHC report, Out of Order, Out of Time: The State of the Nation's Health Workforce, warns that the nation is running out of time to ensure that there is an adequate health workforce that meets the needs of our aging population, increased demand for health services, and other critical socioeconomic challenges for health care. The report's key recommendations include:

-- Making health workforce a priority domestic policy issue;

-- Developing an integrated, comprehensive, national health workforce

policy that recognizes and compensates for the inherent weaknesses and

vulnerabilities of current decentralized multi-stakeholder

decision-making; and

-- Establishing a national planning body to create a national workforce

agenda and promote a national health workforce policy that ensures the

nation's health and economic well-being. Diverse federal and state

agencies, along with multiple public and private stakeholders, should

participate.

If coordinated action at the national level is not taken, the workforce will "continue to be plagued by the problems that arise from fragmented and inconsistent policymaking," said Wartman, adding, "Academic health center leaders recognize the urgent need for action and are committed to changing the nation's approach to the health workforce."

The AAHC is a national non-profit association dedicated to advancing the nation's health and well-being through leadership in health professions education, patient care, and research.


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SOURCE Association of Academic Health Centers
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