Ohio health workforce

Ohio independent family practices to pool resources

In a first-of-its-kind organization in Ohio, five of the state's largest independent physician groups are forming a statewide collaborative to help compete with corporate hospitals and preserve small local practices (Source: “Ohio's independent doctors join forces to survive,” Cleveland Plain Dealer, Aug. 5, 2015).

The Ohio Independent Collaborative formally began operations Wednesday, a first step in an attempt to reduce the costs and complications that are driving many independent medical groups out of business.

So far, members of the collaborative are all based in the northern half of the state, but its organizers hope to expand to other regions in coming months. Members will use the group to jointly purchase medical supplies, coordinate patient care and adapt to the new insurance and funding landscape created by the ACA, organizers say.

HPIO releases latest “Voices on Value” commentary

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released the latest addition to its Voices on Value series. The new commentary is written by Barbara A. Nash of the Ohio Association of Advanced Practice Nurses, who explores the role of nurses in improving health value in Ohio. 


In conjunction with the release of its 2014 Health Value Dashboard, the Health Policy Institute of Ohio is asking prominent health policy experts from Ohio and across the country to submit brief commentary on the Dashboard and the importance of measuring and improving health value. 

The Institute plans to periodically post new commentaries from diverse perspectives in order to further conversation on health value and maintain awareness of the Dashboard

Policy considerations for home-care providers continue

Strong public opposition against a phase-out of the state’s 14,000 or so independent home-care providers has prompted another conversation about how to improve oversight of another group of providers: home-care agencies (Source: “Licensing next for Ohio’s home-care providers?” Columbus Dispatch, March 30, 2015).

Ohio is one of only eight states that don’t license home health-care agencies, and there hasn’t been much momentum to do so in the past. But a key state lawmaker said she is more willing to consider licensure in the wake of testimony about the inconsistency and poor quality of care some Ohioans say they’ve received from agencies. State Rep. Barbara Sears (R-Sylvania), who is the House majority floor leader, says, “I think sometimes licensing is necessary. When we have vulnerable people, I think the state needs to step up and address that issue.”

In response to last week’s letter from the Federal Labor Secretary to Ohio Gov. John Kasich and other governors, warning them to make sure their upcoming budgets comply with a federal rule requiring minimum-wage and overtime pay for most home-care workers, the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation posted a paper on the topic. The document notes that “HB 64 does not eliminate independent providers, but does clarify that the employer for a direct support worker must be either the individual receiving services or an agency, not the State of Ohio.”


IOM report calls for sweeping changes to medical education

A new report from the Institute of Medicine calls for sweeping changes to the way $15 billion in federal funds are spent annually on training physicians (Source: “Report Touches Off Fight Over Future Of Doctor Training Program,” Kaiser Health News, July 30, 2014).

Released Tuesday, the report for the Institute of Medicine called for more accountability for the funds, two-thirds of which are provided by Medicare. It also called for an end to providing the money directly to the teaching hospitals and to dramatically alter the way the funds are paid.

 The funding in question is for graduate medical education, the post-medical school training of interns and residents required before doctors can be licensed to practice in any state. 

“We recognize we are causing some disruption,” said Gail Wilensky, a health economist who, along with former CMS chief Donald Berwick, co-chaired the panel that produced the report. “But we think we are doing so in a thoughtful and careful way,” including phasing in the payment changes over 10 years.

The report was met with criticism by the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges.

“While the current system is far from perfect, the IOM’s proposed wholesale dismantling of our nation’s graduate medical education system will have significant negative impact on the future of health care,” said AAMC President and CEO Darrell Kirsh. “By proposing as much as a 35 percent reduction in payments to teaching hospitals, the IOM’s recommendations will slash funding for vital care and services available almost exclusively at teaching hospitals, including Level 1 trauma centers, pediatric intensive care units, burn centers, and access to clinical trials.”

HPIO forum to explore the state's role in strengthening primary care workforce

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in full swing, there is a greater demand for access to comprehensive, integrated and appropriate health services. 

From 9:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on July 18, HPIO will host a forum to explore the state's role in strengthening the primary health care workforce through strategic policy decisions. The event will take place at the Grand Oaks Event and Business Center

Featured Speakers at the event will be:

  • Dr. Barbara Ross Lee, Vice President, Health Sciences and Medical Affairs, New York Institute of Technology
  • Catherine Dower, Health Policy Consultant

The event will conclude with a panel discussion on primary care workforce featuring representatives from Minnesota, Ohio and West Virginia.

Click here for more information or to register

HPIO releases brief on diversity in Ohio’s health workforce

HPIO has released a new brief titled “The role of diversity in Ohio’s health workforce” (pdf, 16 pages).

The policy brief highlights how diversifying Ohio’s health workforce, by increasing the presence of racially and ethnically diverse populations, individuals from poor socio-economic backgrounds and rural or Appalachian Ohio can contribute to a number of benefits, including increased access to health services for Ohio’s most underserved populations. This brief also discusses a number of strategies that can be implemented to diversify Ohio’s health workforce.

Among the topics explored in the brief are:

  • What are the potential benefits of a diverse health workforce?
  • What are some barriers to developing a diverse health workforce?
  • What are some strategies aimed at diversifying the health workforce?
  • What is going on in Ohio to diversify the health workforce?

National med school enrollment hits record high

In the face of projected doctor shortages and debate about the future of medicine, a record number of students applied to, and started, medical school this year (Source: “Medical Schools See Record Numbers Of Enrollees,” Kaiser Health News, Oct. 25, 2013).

About 20,000 students enrolled in medical school in 2013, around 2.8 percent more than the year before, according to the data distributed by the Association of American Medical Colleges on Thursday. First-time applications were also up by almost 6 percent.

Meanwhile, osteopathic medical schools saw a continued surge in their new student pool, with an 11.1 percent growth in enrollment, according to data released by the Association of American Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. These students, who graduate with a Doctor of Osteopathy, or DO degree, practice in the same capacity as MDs.

Ohio to expand background checks on home health workers

Ohio officials announced this week that they will use a $2.1 million federal grant to expand criminal background checks for health-care workers who provide home- and community-based services to Ohioans (Source: “Health care workers’ criminal checks to be expanded,” Columbus Dispatch, May 16, 2013).

“It is important that seniors and people with disabilities can trust the service providers that come into their homes, and this program will ensure that home-based services are of the highest quality,” said Greg Moody, director of Gov. John Kasich’s Office of Health Transformation.

Ohio will add $700,000 in state funds to the grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The funds will extend the use of the Ohio attorney general’s Retained Applicant Fingerprint Database Information Exchange to the health workers. Long used by law enforcement, the system, which monitors criminal convictions, also is used for background checks on teachers. State officials can’t yet say when automated checks will begin.

Cincinnati study: Pediatric nurse ratios impact readmission rates

Researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have found that pediatric nurse staffing ratios are significantly associated with hospital readmission for children with common medical and surgical conditions (Source: “Nursing staff ratios directly impact pediatric hospital readmissions,” Fierce Healthcare, May 8, 2013).

The study, which was published in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety and is believed to be the first to examine the extent of the association between hospital nurse staffing levels and pediatric readmissions, found that an increase of only one patient in a hospital's average staffing ratio raised the likelihood of a medical patient's readmission within 15-30 days by 11 percent. And the odds of readmission for surgical patients increased by 48 percent.

Children treated in hospitals meeting a staffing benchmark of no more than four patients per nurse were significantly less likely to be readmitted within 15-30 days. Nursing staffing ratios had no effect on readmissions within the first 14 days after discharge.

HPIO releases brief on need for Ohio health workforce data system

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released it latest publication: The need for statewide health care workforce data system (pdf, 3 pages).

It is widely understood and accepted that Ohio is facing a primary care workforce shortage across medical, dental and mental/behavioral health care. However, the workforce issue goes beyond the number of providers; it’s also about how care is delivered and how the workforce is distributed.

To address the issue effectively, however, Ohio policymakers need a system for collecting data on the existing workforce.

"A statewide health care workforce data system would give Ohio policymakers the ability to assess current and future supply and distribution of the health care workforce, and support the development of effective health care workforce policies," the brief states.