New Jersey Lawmakers Debate Bill Aimed at Closing Health Care Gap

Photo of Overlook Hospital in New Jersey.

If you are looking for a career in health care, a new bill has been introduced in New Jersey that would help create more jobs at doctor’s offices across the state.

According to the Daily Journal, New Jersey faces a severe shortage of health care workers, especially doctors, over the next several years. A recent survey by the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals found that 59% of hospital residents planned to practice medicine in another state or country.

If approved, the new law would give incentives to practices that created at least 5 new positions over the next 5 years, which would in turn generate more jobs for health care workers with a variety of experience on their resumes. It’s time for us to treat doctors offices like the small businesses they are, Assemblywoman Amy H. Handlin told the news source. “We should create an opportunity for physicians who practice in small groups to take advantage of the same incentives based on creating jobs that other businesses enjoy. Doctor’s offices are themselves economic engines that hire people and generate business for drugstores, labs and other health professionals.”

More than 800 residents graduate from the state’s teaching hospital every year.  Deborah Briggs, acting president of the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals, said bolstering programs to help the graduates repay students loans and increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates are among the things that could also keep doctors from leaving.

Meanwhile, New Jersey is not the only state facing a future shortage of highly-trained health care workers.

In Wisconsin, a new survey of 8 major health care providers in Fox Valley found the shortage is exacerbated by a rise in workers who plan to retire in the next 15 years.

We have this double whammy with a mass exodus of aging baby boomers who are aging: not only are they leaving health care, but they require more health care as they age, Josh Bullock, vice president of strategic advancement for Moraine Park Technical College, told the Northwestern.

In Maryland, a number of community colleges have joined together to open a new center for health care education, The Associated Press reports. The center, which was funded in part by the federal government, will train up to 500 students a year to help alleviate the growing shortage of health care workers in the state, which according to state officials range from dental hygienists to paramedics.


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