California hospitals challenged by vacant allied health positions

California's hospitals face a looming shortage of allied healthcare professionals in the next few years due to upcoming retirements and a lack of well-educated replacements, reports AHA News Now.

According to the study of more than 120 hospitals by the California Hospital Association, at least 850 clinical laboratory scientists will have to be replaced between now and 2015, while only 125 graduate from the state's college system every year. Physical therapists, another highly in-demand position, are expected to become more difficult to fill as a doctorate degree will be required by mid-decade for licensure. Currently the vacancy rate for physical therapists is 8 percent statewide--by far the highest of any allied healthcare position.

"It's clear from this survey that retirements within the allied health occupations will have a serious impact on access to care for patients if long-term strategies for replacing these workers are not developed and implemented," said CHA President C. Duane Dauner.

The report recommends coursework be more closely aligned with job requirements, educational credits transfer more easily between institutions and the bureaucracy hospital administrators have to go through in order to provide on-site education be streamlined.

For more:
- read the AHA News article
- read the Payers & Providers article
- here's the CHA study (.pdf)