In the Spring of 2008 Senator Wyden challenged the Oregon Medical Association to review the current state of the health care workforce, particularly whether the country had the current volume of physicians and other health care professionals to provide the access to medical services that the Healthy Americans Act promises all Americans. The result was a voluntary effort that has included the best thinking of a variety of state experts on various aspects of health care workforce education, policy and political viewpoint. On October 17, 2008 the Wyden Workforce Workgroup, chaired by John Moorhead, MD, Professor Emergency Medicine, at Oregon Health & Science University and a past OMA president, presented its recommendations to Senator Wyden. (view complete recommendations)
The Workgroup’s primary recommendations included:
- Creation of the Healthy Americans Workforce Commission to serve as an independent agency to advise Congress on issues affecting health care workforce.
- Establishment of the Health Workforce Trust in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to coordinate and develop regulatory guidance for the equitable allocation of federal funding for state health workforce centers that are responsible for the collection of accurate, uniform data on health care professionals through the licensure/re-licensure process.
- Creation of a Commission for Innovation in Delivery Systems whose purpose is to design and advise Congress on recommendations to retain health care professionals through (1) re-entry programs; (2) the reduction of streamlining the workforce environment; (3) professional job redesign and (4) in the adoption of technologies to increase efficiency in the delivery of health care services.
The Senator is considering these recommendations and, the OMA and other members of the Workgroup expect to meet with him in the near future to discuss it.
For more information, please refer to this article in the Fall 2008 issue of Medicine in Oregon.