Issues in Healthcare /
Health Policy Topics
Working in this field, you'll be affected by the latest developments in health care issues and public policy. Even more importantly, your patients will be affected.
Staying on top of current healthcare concerns and legislative issues will help you become what this country desperately needs -- informed, caring and socially conscious health professionals who understand the issues and are willing to advocate for their patients.
With your help, we can improve healthcare for all Americans... not just those who can afford it.
One way to learn about the current healthcare issues is to peruse the health policy journals and the websites of health policy research/analysis firms, such as:
On these websites and others, you'll find information about the latest "hot topics" being debated by health professionals. Here is a sampling of resources for some of these topics:
In this section: The Aging of America | Health Workforce Shortages | Uninsured / Medically Underserved | Global Health
Recent research indicates that between now and the year 2030, the number of people who are 55+ in the U.S. will almost double while the number of those 65+ more than doubles. In the near future, there will be nearly 178 million older Americans, or over 41% of our total population.
What does this mean, in terms of the health professions? Now and over the next few decades, there will be a high demand for health professionals who are skilled in geriatric care.
A "perfect storm" of unmet healthcare needs is fast approaching: the number of patients with age-related health needs is exploding, just as a large cohort of health professionals is retiring to join the ranks of America's seniors, themselves.
There simply aren't enough health professions students "in the pipeline" to meet the oncoming demand for services. The result? An impending health workforce shortage of unprecendented proportions.
The U.S. has a serious shortage of practicing nurses, but recruiting more nursing students is only part of the solution. Additional teachers are needed to train these students. Nursing Education Bottleneck, a report by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN), outlines some of the solutions underway to address nursing faculty shortages across the nation.
The "frontline healthcare workforce" -- nurses, assistants, technicians and other direct care providers -- is the foundation for a quality healthcare delivery system, according to Defining the Frontline Workforce, a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. According to the report, demand for frontline workers is expected to increase 50% over the next five years, but there are not enough students in the pipeline to fill these jobs.
Here are more resources on workforce shortages:
There currently are 46.6 million Americans without health insurance - a figure that increased between 2004 and 2005 by 1.3 million. The number of uninsured children also rose for the first time in recent years, from 7.9 million in 2004 to 8.3 million children without health insurance in 2005.
Even if they are fortunate enough to have health insurance, many Americans live in medically underserved areas - that is, communities with few or no healthcare facilities or clinicians.
Medically Underserved – Bureau of the Health Professions
National AHEC Organization
We live in a global community, where news and disease can span the globe in hours or even moments. Our actions and choices can have far-reaching consequences for our own and others' health.
Whether it is a tsunami or bioterrorism, greenhouse gases or avian flu, global health has the potential to affect every one of us.
Please keep in mind that these are only some of the websites addressing some of the current issues. We encourage you to continue researching these and other healthcare-related topics on your own.
NOTE: If you've found a useful website on a healthcare issue you care about - please share it! Email us a brief description of the resource, why you find it useful, and the website's URL: email@example.com
Last updated: December 11, 2013
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