Here are some recent headlines in the medical field, which indicate a continued demand for medical assistants.
More Americans insured
A new report shows the number of insured Americans is growing, which could mean an increased demand for medical assistants.
“About 10.3 million Americans gained health coverage this year, primarily as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to a study by the federal government and Harvard University, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine,”reported Phil Galewitz with Kaiser Health News. “The estimate of newly insured adults — the largest to date — is the first published in a major medical journal and authored by some federal health researchers.”
The Kaiser Health News story reported on various changes in healthcare demand, including that “The federal government had previously reported that about 8 million people bought private health plans on the state and federal exchanges and 6.6 million additional people enrolled in Medicaid since last October. But it has not estimated how many of those had been previously uninsured.”
The Obama administration took pains yesterday to say that the views of the study’s authors are not those of the administration – even as it hailed their findings.
“We are committed to providing every American with access to quality, affordable health services and this study reaffirms that the Affordable Care Act has set us on a path toward achieving that goal,” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement. “This study also reaffirms that expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is important for coverage, as well as a good deal for states.”
Many paths to medical career
Going to college or earning a medical degree isn’t the only way to take advantage of the growth in the healthcare industry.
Jobseekers can find long-term employment in other healthcare professions, including as a medical assistant.
“According to a Brookings Institution report, the number of people with less than a bachelor’s degree working in 10 specific health care occupations increased from 46 percent to 39 percent between 2000 to 2011,”reported Kaiser Health News.
Citing a USA Today story, Kaiser reported that “The boom in health care jobs is skewed toward positions requiring less education … a new Brookings Institution report says. From 2000 to 2011, the number of workers in 10 large health care occupations who had less than a bachelor’s degree surged 46 percent, vs. 39 percent growth for all health care jobs, the study says.”
Medical spending on the rise
As healthcare spending grows, so does the demand for medical coverage and the workers who are found at hospitals and clinics across the country.
“Health spending has been damped down by the recession but it’s set to start growing at a faster pace again next year, according to a new projection,”NBC News recently reported. “Spending by people whose employers provide their health insurance — that’s most Americans — will grow by 6.8 percent next year, the Health Research Institute at PriceWaterhouseCoopers predicts. That’s up from 6.5 percent growth for this year, but still modest compared to double-digit increases in the ’90s and 2000s, the group says.”
With more Americans spending on healthcare that could continue the demand for medical professionals, such as medical assistants who are needed in various healthcare facilities all across the nation.
Medical facilities on the rise
Different types of medical facilities are bring built all across the country, including urgent care centers, which have a high need for professionally trained Medical Assistants who play an important role in these facilities that offer non-emergency care to patients needing to be seen quickly by a doctor.
The Chicago-based Urgent Care Association of America estimates that over 3 million patients visit urgent care centers each week. These centers can offer medical examinations, x-rays and other lab work, and staff doctors that are able to prescribe medication. These centers are on the rise and Medical Assistants serve an important role by handling administrative duties, as well as assisting with medical staff during the examination process.
One reason for this rapid growth in urgent care facilities is the lack of primary care doctors. The lack of available doctors can make the waiting period to see a doctor extremely long and many patients are finding that they cannot wait weeks before being seen by a physician.
Emergency room costs, which are constantly rising, are another reason for the growth in urgent care centers. Many illnesses and minor injuries do not require an emergency room visit, especially since the cost is often in the thousands of dollars. Urgent care centers can provide non-emergency care at a fraction of the cost of many emergency rooms and hospitals.