Health News Digest

April 16, 2012

Johnny Comes Marching Home…To Work in Health Care

Marine returns

By  Michael D. Shaw

For a variety of home-grown reasons, such as having the world’s highest corporate tax rates (replete with loopholes for the politically connected); fostering a burdensome and logically dubious regulatory environment; and tolerating an expensive but woefully inadequate educational system, jobs are being outsourced—leaving our shores—at an alarming rate. For at least the last 15 years, the best advice, cynical though it might be, that can be given to salespeople and job-seekers alike is this:

Concentrate on those fields of endeavor that can’t leave! This would include academia, agriculture, finance, government, mining, utilities, and, of course, health care.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in health care rose to 14.19 million in October 2011 from 13.88 million a year earlier. Certainly, demographics has something to do with this, as the Baby Boomers get older and possibly sicker. But, there is also the ongoing reform of how health care is delivered—Obamacare or not.

Earlier this year, Eric Rackow, MD, CEO of SeniorBridge, a 2,000-employee provider of home health care services for the elderly based in New York City, stated that “The market has shifted dramatically over the past year, driven by performance ratings of customer satisfaction, clinical outcomes and cost. This emphasis is steeply increasing the demand for health care professionals such as case managers and health care informatics specialists.”

Health care informatics (or simply “health informatics”) is the use of computer technologies in health care to store, share, transmit, and analyze clinical knowledge and data. The terms “medical informatics,” “clinical informatics,” and “biomedical informatics” are also used. Most authorities believe that this is the fastest growing segment of the more than $1 trillion global health care marketplace.

Even though demand for good health care employees exceeds supply in most areas, employers are still looking to hire the best, and many favor military veterans. According to Ted Daywalt—president of VetJobs in Marietta, GA—”Their work environment is much more hostile and demanding than at a US civilian hospital, so they’re able to hit the ground running after military retirement.”

There’s also the experience factor. Michael Wood was a Navy optometrist who retired in 1992 after 20 years to open a private optometry practice in Greenville, SC. “In the Navy, I saw thousands of patients,” he said. “You actually get stranger eye diseases in the Navy—more difficult than anything you would encounter in a civilian practice.”

I recently spoke with David C. Dickey, former major in the Marine Corps, and now CEO of The Patriot Group Inc. David describes his company, based in San Diego, as a professional consulting, professional staffing, career fair services, and Internet marketing company focused on customer needs and producing meaningful results.

Their latest career fair took place on April 11, on-board the USS Midway. More are planned for the near future. The format of these fairs is to have presentations by education, training, and veteran resource organizations in the morning, followed in the afternoon with opportunities to meet hiring employers. David weighed in on what vets can bring to the table in the health care field:

You’re going to get a bright, reliable, and motivated individual. This is not to imply that the rest of society may not also have these traits. Rather, it’s just that a preponderance of veterans seem to exhibit this. They’ve been asked to do more with less, and in many cases, to operate independently, given tasks to complete with little or no supervision—and that happens frequently.

When they transition, and go to an employer in the health care arena, they’re going to be more apt to excel.

Last October, the Obama administration called on the health care industry to make a special effort in hiring veterans, and this is certainly commendable. It will be a “win-win” for both parties.