Planning For A New Year

CHI is fresh from a staff retreat to develop ideas for 2012.  The day involved breakouts, bagels and even a workout—we were at the Greenwood Village Athletic Club, after all. It was interesting to see who picked power yoga over swimming or spin class or Zumba. I’m sure you all have your guesses. . .

On the topic of health care workforce, where I spend a good deal of my time, we are considering how best to expand our analysis surrounding primary care workforce needs. Our latest analysis, “A half million newly insured: Is Colorado ready?”, published in December, estimated how many primary care providers will be needed when more Coloradans seek care after gaining insurance under health care reform.

Our top-line findings were that between 83 and 141 additional full-time equivalent providers will be needed by 2016 to fill the needs of Colorado’s newly insured. The critical context is that this does not take into account other factors affecting the supply or demand for primary care providers. This is important us, because CHI often get calls inquiring about the total need for providers. The December analysis focused on one part of a complicated  picture.

So, we are asking ourselves many questions regarding  workforce issues in  2012: What should we look at next? Colorado already struggles to meet the needs of its underserved populations and we expect that this need will stress systems that are already stressed. Can we quantify this? What will be the effect of an aging population? Of workforce retirements? Of health care delivery models? Or even of new medical schools? The ground is changing under our feet and CHI will continue to further inform the primary care workforce issue in Colorado. Stay tuned.

From your own work, what do you feel is the largest gap in our collective knowledge of future health care workforce needs in Colorado?

Athena Dodd is a research analyst at CHI.