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The 4 Pillars in the New Federal Health Care Workforce Plan

HHS plan highlights importance of health care workers within their communities

November 09, 2021

This month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) outlined its updated plan to recruit, retain, and invest in the nation’s health care workforce.

The Health Resources & Services Administration's (HRSA) updated Health Workforce Strategic Plan comes as hospitals and health systems across the country continue to provide outstanding care during the pandemic, and as hospital leaders identify strategies to support their teams.

The updated plan highlights the need for a strong health care workforce to ensure communities across the country have access to quality care.

“With the United States population growing by 25 million people every 10 years, the number of people older than age 65 doubling between 2000 and 2030, and recent medical advances, the demand for health care professionals continues to grow,” the report says.

The plan outlines four goals for health care and identifies important strategies to achieve those goals:

  1.  Expand the health workforce to meet evolving community needs:  The cost of education and training is a barrier to entry for many health careers. Medicare graduate medical education (GME) payments and other funding sources can help invest in the nation’s physician workforce
  2. Improve the distribution of the health workforce:  “Health workforce shortages are often in the places where health care is needed most urgently,” the report says. Training health professional students within underserved communities is another important strategy
  3. Focus on professional development, collaboration, and evidence-informed practice:  “A renewed priority must be placed on the delivery of high-quality primary care and preventive services, by interprofessional teams built upon effective partnerships that fully leverages data, scientific evidence, and technology,” the report says
  4. Develop and apply data and evidence to strengthen the health care workforce:  The use of data and research can help better understand the supply and demand trends within the health care workforce

HAP continues to advocate for policies and initiatives that bolster Pennsylvania’s health care workforce. Recently, HAP joined the American Hospital Association and Association of American Medical Colleges in advocating to support the physician training pipeline through the funding of additional GME slots.

In addition, HAP’s Health Care Talent Task Force is guiding the development of strategies that will help attract and retain the health care talent pool.

For more information about HAP’s workforce priorities and initiatives, Mary Marshall, director, workforce and professional development.