Apr 27 2005

Medical Emergency

Published by at April 27, 2005 11:15 pm under General

The U.S. Hispanic economy’s surging demographics are putting pressure on a healthcare industry already plagued by a shortage of qualified workers, creating increased demand for Hispanic professionals from nurses and doctors to administrative, executive, and emergency personnel.

Already grappling with a rapidly aging U.S. population, as well as mergers and cutbacks, the healthcare industry has strained to keep up with overall nationwide needs, a situation which experts expect to continue. “The demand for qualified healthcare workers will continue to increase as the U.S. population ages,” says Rhonda Lipsey, vertical marketing manager and healthcare employment expert at CareerBuilder.com. “More than 300,000 healthcare jobs were created in 2004 and economists are projecting this trend will continue in 2005 with nurses, medical assistants, and radiology technicians as some of the top-recruited positions.”

But a 2004 report by the Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce highlighted significant disparities in a variety of medical fields. The commission found that while Hispanics account for more than 12 percent of the U.S. population, they represented only 3.3 percent of physicians in 2002 and only 2 percent of registered nurses in 2000.

The commission and other experts say the shortage is translating into lower quality of care and higher rates of illness, disability, and premature death among minorities. The commission and others also note a link to marketplace competitiveness, with poor health outcomes for members of racial and ethnic minorities attributable to a lack of diversity in the health workforce, translating into a loss of productivity, avoidable absenteeism, and increased healthcare costs for businesses employing minorities.

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