Once considered one of the most reliable generators of jobs during lean economic times, hospitals may be entering into a hiring recession, USA Today reported.
Healthcare providers cut more than 8,100 jobs last month, mostly from hospitals, according to the hiring firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas.
"While the rest of the U.S. economy is stabilizing or improving, healthcare is entering into a recession," John Howser, assistant vice chancellor of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told USA Today. Vanderbilt is cutting about 1,000 jobs by the end of this year; Indiana Health, 900 jobs, and the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio is eliminating about 3,000 positions.
Even smaller providers, such as Memorial Hospital in Belleville, Ill., are cutting positions. "Unfortunately, it's a sign of the times in the healthcare industry," Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Officer Mark J. Turner told the Belleville News-Democrat.
Among the reasons attributed for the reductions are payment cuts from Medicare and other payers in anticipation of the Affordable Care Act's rollout, as well as cuts related to the federal budget sequester.
Not every healthcare sector is in the dumps, however. Healthcare IT hiring, for example, is still occurring at a brisk pace.
And given as many as 30 million Americans may gain insurance coverage as a result of the ACA, some industry experts believe the jobs will be reversed sooner rather than later. "The cuts are a particularly short-term reaction," J.P. Fingado, chief executive officer of hospital consulting firm API Healthcare told USA Today.
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