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How Will the Financial Crisis in the US Affect the Healthcare Industry?

来源 作者:Andrea Santiago 时间:2009-03-18 Tag:healthcare   crisis   点击:

Question: How Will the Financial Crisis in the US Affect the Healthcare Industry?
When the economy takes a turn for the worse, careers are impacted. While healthcare is fairly recession-proof, the industry as a whole is not completely immune to a major financial crisis. How will the financial crisis affect healthcare in America, and how will healthcare professionals be impacted?

Answer: The financial crisis and economic downturn in America may affect the healthcare industry and medical job market in several ways.

Student loans: One of the most immediate, and obvious impacts of the financial crisis is the availability of student loans. Student loans will become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for many prospective healthcare professionals to obtain. Because the average physician graduates with about $140,000 in school loans, the pipeline of prospective physicians will surely shrink if students are unable to borrow money to fund their extensive(广泛的,大量的) education costs.

A decrease in potential physicians could be a huge strain on the healthcare industry, as many analysts were already predicting a severe physician shortage in the future. Other highly educated healthcare roles will also be affected, such as advanced practice nurses, pharmacists(药剂师), or PhD researchers.

Clinical research for new technologies, treatments and medications: In a financial crisis, funding for research could be much more difficult to obtain, which could impact patients worldwide if new treatments and cures cannot be developed. Additionally, this could eventually cause layoffs of researchers and scientists, in addition to the layoffs of sales and marketing professionals already experienced in the pharmaceutical(制药的) industry in 2007 and 2008.

Healthcare Recruiting: Recruiting is already showing signs of being affected, particularly in fields where relocations are common, such as physician recruiting, and executive recruiting. Candidates reluctant to take a loss on their home value may hold off on relocating if selling their existing home is too difficult. Additionally, if gas is too expensive, or unavailable, traveling to interviews will become more costly, or even impossible!

Non-profit organizations: It's not entirely clear how non-profits will be affected. Non-profit organizations which rely on fundraising and charitable donations will most likely see a decrease in funds, according to a recent report in Modern Healthcare. These potentially affected non-profit organizations include healthcare advocacy groups and professional societies. Furthermore, non-profit hospitals may feel the pinch(感到手头拮据) if investors lose confidence, or if tax dollars are allocated to make up for losses in other areas of the marketplace.

Consolidation, tightening of the belt, and right-sizing: As with other industries, the economic crisis will force healthcare companies to "trim the fat" so to speak. Companies may be acquired or merge(合并), or fold altogether. Healthcare companies who remain in operation may have to cut out unnecessary overhead and expenses, including personnel(人事) costs, which could result in layoffs. Subsequently, healthcare professionals who are already very busy and stretched thin could find they're being asked to do more in less time and care for more patients than ever. This could then result in more medical errors, which could then result in loss of life and increase in malpractice(玩忽职守) lawsuits.

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