Ilene MacDonald, editor of Fierce Healthcare, recently wrote a column on the four trends medical facilities should pay attention to in 2014.

The first trend MacDonald wrote about is the Evolution of Pioneer ACOs. “Although industry watchers wondered if the fact that nine Pioneer ACOs dropped out of the program last summer signaled the demise of the government program, it’s clear that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has no intention of ending the project,” MacDonald wrote. “Earlier this month, CMS announced that 123 new affordable care organizations have joined its alternative program, the Medicare Shared Savings Program, bringing the total MSSP ACOs to 360.”

Medical facilities are looking for ways to cut costs and grow in efficiency, which is one reason why medical assistants with relevant training are in growing demand. Medical assistants are looked upon to help a medical facility remain efficient.

The second trend outlined in the column is “Impact of ICD-10 transition. “Providers have been slow to move forward with the conversion of ICD-9 to ICD-10, according to a recent survey, but the Oct. 1 deadline is fast-approaching,” MacDonald wrote. “Although CMS delayed the ICD-10 implementation date once before, there are no indications that it will push back the deadline again. If you are among the 74 percent of providers who haven’t made plans for end-to-end testing with external entities or the 50 percent of organizations who have yet to estimate the impact the coding switch will have on you cash flow, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise this year.”

“With estimates by those who did measure the impact tallying anywhere from $1 million to more than $15 million, healthcare organizations are in for a rude awakening when they finally realize what [impact] the new standards will have on their bottom lines,” said Wayne Cafran, an advisory principal with KPMG, in a statement announcing the survey results.

The third trend if Turnover of hospital CEOs. “Latest statistics show that healthcare experiences higher CEO turnover than any other industry,” MacDonald wrote. “And while industry watchers attributed the departures to the roll out of the Affordable Care Act, there is no indication that the rising turnover rate will slow in the upcoming year. And new hospital CEOs won’t necessarily have a background in healthcare. Although some hospitals have put doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals in key leadership positions, a recent Black Book Rankings poll of human resource professionals at healthcare organizations found that two-thirds of hospital CEOs hired in 2014 will have a finance and non-healthcare background.

“But rather than look outside the organization, hospitals may want to address leadership turnover by building a strong talent pipeline in-house. It costs hospitals four times more to hire and train new management than it does to develop and retain internal leaders, according to an April healthcare management survey.”

The fourth and final trend hitting the medical industry in 2014 is More hospitals become insurers. “Population health management and Medicaid expansion have pushed some providers to expand their healthcare services and start offering insurance plans,” MacDonald said. “Many non-profit community health centers have entered the market as more people become eligible for Medicaid and states move enrollees into managed care plans.”

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that medical assistants are projected to be one of the fastest-growing occupations in the country over the next decade and workers in this profession will be in high demand by a variety of health care facilities. Medical assistants are in demand at medical offices, hospitals, ambulatory care clinics, outpatient laboratories, freestanding surgical centers, and occupational medicine clinics. There are a variety of environments a medical assistant can work in, which makes this an attractive profession for many. Add in the fact that medical assistants have a higher than average starting salary and a great chance for advancement, and this is a career that is very attractive to jobseekers of all kinds.

Milwaukee Career College is one of the best places to begin a new career as a medical assistant because students receive the type of training today’s healthcare facilities demand. There is a specific skill set that medical assistants need to have and Milwaukee Career College is meeting that need through its highly respected training program. Students learn the daily tasks that medical assistants are required to know, including how to handle medical records, understanding of how to quickly transition to new requirements posed by changing healthcare laws, and being able to perform a variety of clinical tasks.