Explain how changing demographics are impacting patients and providers in the delivery of health care in the U.S. Describe the impact of increased diversity in and around the health care industry.
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Assignment Reading Brake Down:
The health care industry provided approximately 14.6 million jobs in 2004 alone, making it one of largest employers in the United States. Registered nurses, the largest employed group in health care, estimated 2.9 million jobs and physician numbers reached about 885,000, with a majority working in metropolitan areas.
Physician assistants and nurse practitioners are steadily climbing the employment ladder within the industry as well. And though there are a number of other specialized professionals and nonprofessionals employed in the industry, there are also more jobs that do not require a four-year college degree.
For our discussion on credentialing and licensure this week, we will focus on those professionals that diagnose and treat patients.
Barton, P.L. (2010). Understanding the U.S. health services system (4th ed.). Chicago, IL: Health Administration Press.
Licensure, Certification, and Credentialing
After academic and clinical training is completed, clinical professionals are required by law to attain their licensure and/or certification to practice. Most physicians are eligible to obtain a license to practice medicine after one year of post-graduate training. Licensure is granted by the state. It is required for physicians, nurses, and others to practice, and demonstrate competency to perform a scope of practice. State Boards of Physician Quality Assurance (BPQA) establish requirements for medical licenses. In the field of nursing, the National Council Licensure Examination must be passed by nursing students to obtain their licenses. In some states a criminal background check is also required for both RN and MD licensure. This information is available to those who screen, hire, and/or evaluate personnel through the National Practitioner Data Bank. Not only does this data bank provide the list of practitioners, it provides the scope of practice for the specific license. This is an important tool for leaders and human resources managers to avoid any major lawsuits.
Now that we have looked at the licensure, let’s move on the certification requirements.
The level of certification in health services depend on the practitioner being examined. A physician, who has submitted the documentation of education, training, and practice to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) for review, does so voluntarily. Upon approval of the medical specialty board and successful completion of examinations, the physician is designated as board certified in that specialty. Certificates are time-limited. Physicians must demonstrate continued competency and retake the exam every six to ten years, depending on the specialty. Board certification is a form of credentialing a physician’s competency in a specific area.
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