Health IT Salaries Rising, Professionals in Higher Demand, Study Finds

from Healthcare IT News

Executives and those with certifications earn the highest salaries, while the industry mirrors others when it comes to the race and gender gap. Read More.

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.


Leveraging College Degrees & Professional Training

By Karen Corcoran-Walsh

College graduates are progressively facing obstacles, and one in particular is centered on seeking employment opportunities in a field related to their graduate degree. Quite often, undergraduates pursuing employment with an associate or bachelor’s degree are not finding jobs as easily as expected; furthermore, the available jobs fail to meet the financial needs of today’s college graduates. The salaries offered simply cannot maintain the young adult’s anticipated standard of living. A recently-released research study exposed the truths within today’s job industry, revealing a lack of employment in areas that have been promising in the past (Steinbaum & Clemens, 2015). One field, however, does not fall into this category.

The mental health profession is ever-growing, constantly proving that it is in demand and in need of rising stars. Not only is this field offering salaries that are enticing to recent graduates, the occupations available are not limited to a specific degree.

As our national employment market becomes the most competitive in history, forcing people of all ages to consider returning to the world of academia in pursuit of master’s and doctorate degrees, mental health professionals are readily finding employment. There are a couple of specific reasons positions within this field are on the rise, and the first one can be attributed to the changes brought on by the Affordable Care Act. Prior to health-care reform, insurance companies turned away and denied coverage to people with mental health illnesses, and this list included anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and even depression. Mental health professions have been on the rise and in demand since insurance companies are now mandated to treat such illnesses (Gleaton, 2015). The other major factor influencing the increase of jobs available in the mental health field can be attributed to the aging baby boomer population. According to Gleaton (2016), the U.S. Census Bureau reported 44.7 million Americans who are 65 or older, and age greatly increases one’s risk to the onset of mental illness like dementia and depression.

The Latest Trend
Mental health professionals who are employed by residential and outpatient addiction-treatment centers, counseling centers, and mental health practices are using their education and resources to leverage their college degrees, certifications, and skill sets. Leveraging education is the latest trend, as individuals are inspired to think out-of-the-box when considering employment options. Mental health professionals, in particular, are forward-thinking and creative individuals, utilizing their college degrees in positions that are not the traditional mental health employment positions. Social workers, marriage and family therapists, and mental health counselors are creating and obtaining management-level positions in businesses offering mental health services. These types of jobs include assisting in cultural-diversity issues, human-resource objectives, employee-assistance programs, and helping to promote and maintain a drug-free workplace. Within today’s workplace, it is quite normal to have aggressive and competitive employees who want to stand out, showcasing their individual skill set in attempts to climb the corporate ladder. Businesses can anticipate these types of employee personalities and traits, and they can utilize mental health professionals to encourage and preserve effective communication and workplace etiquette.

A large number of individuals are reconsidering an extended or advanced education in hopes of finding and creating their “dream job”. For many, returning to college is also how people are responding to limited employment options. A lack of employment within today’s society can be attributed to our economic challenges and an increasing number of overqualified applicants within an overeducated workforce. Many find that combining educational degrees enables them to create a personal “hybrid” skill set, and this newly-manifested resume is often more appealing to a business that is seeking new employees.

Let’s review some examples of creating a hybrid. An MBA is a Master of Business Administration, and this degree is centered on developing skills for business management. Many are combining their MBA with an MFT (marriage and family therapy), an MSW (Master of Social Work), and also MHC (mental health counseling) degrees. Combining such degrees catapults therapists into candidates for upper-management positions such as a company president, vice president, CEO, chief operating officer, and director’s positions in many health care organizations. In doing so, the annual salary of a mental health professional doubles and quite often triples. While these upper-management employment positions have been historically reserved for those who primarily have business-related degrees, they are now available to a whole new population that utilizes a hybrid-based educational approach.

A Promising Look Ahead
Mental health professionals are given a number of newfound opportunities, and these careers are extended to a wide range of companies. For example, medical-billing companies are employing mental health professionals to supplement an additional component of their medical-billing services. This position is referred to as a utilization review specialist. The rising salary within the mental health industry is very enticing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016) reported that the average annual wage for mental health professionals who held a bachelor’s or master’s degree was approximately $45,900 in May 2015 (i.e. social workers, mental health counselors, and marriage and family therapists). For individuals who have acquired their state licensure in substance abuse and mental health, such as a Licensed Professional Counselor, their annual salary is increasing by 20% (or greater) (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016).

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016) also indicated that over a 10-year period, from 2014 to 2024, employment of social workers is projected to increase by 12-percent, and this is notably faster than the average for all occupations. This 12 percent rise can be attributed to the ever-increasing demand for health care and social services. For example, families require counseling for a number of tragedies; such situations include child abuse, where the victimized children require the proper counseling to live healthy, productive lives.

Those who hold a master’s degree within the mental health field have the opportunity to work with individuals and families affected by addiction, substance abuse, and mental illness. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016), individuals who have a master’s degree can advance into positions of clinical director, COO, and CEO; furthermore, this enables individuals to transition into top executive positions, where salaries can easily exceed $100,000 annually.

Top Positions and Salaries
The 2015 average yearly wage for top executives was $102,690 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). Employment of top executives is projected to grow approximately 6 percent from 2014 to 2024, however, this percentage can be highly influenced by a rising opiate epidemic in our nation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016) noted that addiction-treatment programs with a residential component may cause the projection to vary. The fact is that cunning disease of addiction is on the rise, and opiate use among all generations is infiltrating families and people of all ages, races, and ethnicities.

Top executives employed at addiction-treatment facilities manage the clinical and medical services of the organization. Those who hold these positions are responsible for company employees’ compliance to policies and procedures, licensing bodies, and local, state, and national standards. These executives, also referred to as human resources managers, often create, direct, and coordinate operational activities of several departments within the organization (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). Human resources managers plan and coordinate the administrative functions of an organization. They oversee the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of new staff. They are responsible for consulting with top executives on strategic planning, and they serve as a direct link between an organization’s management and its employees. Personnel departments within agencies and facilities offer high-paying careers. Those working within the human resources departments within addiction treatment facilities easily bring in over fifty thousand dollars a year (Careers in Focus, 2008).

In Summary
The world is constantly evolving, ever-changing. Much like a trickling effect, as the rising epidemic of addiction continues to manifest, new jobs are created and a surplus of positions become available. Job applicants are applying for positions beyond the scope of their degree and experience. More often than not, professionals are working outside of their particular skill set or education, hoping to increase opportunities for employment. Being qualified to fulfill such positions is a critical component, especially within the mental health field. Lives are at stake, as many people with mental illnesses are dependent on the skill set of the professional who is paving their way to a healthier life. Through leveraging education and developing a hybrid, many individuals are creating newfound positions for themselves, while also providing the necessary care for those requiring treatment and a promising road to recovery.

karencorcoranwalshKaren Corcoran-Walsh, CAP, ICADC, MFT, ASAM owns and runs Inspirations for Youth and Families teen treatment center as well as its adult counterpart Cove Center for Recovery. Both dual-diagnosis facilities treat individuals struggling with substance abuse, such as alcohol or marijuana abuse, as well as mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and trauma.

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.


Why Be a Traveling Occupational Therapist?

from Advance Healthcare Network

While the majority of physical and occupational therapists may prefer to settle into practice close to home, others — particularly those just out of school and still unencumbered by family responsibilities — are attracted to the financial rewards and versatility of hitting the road. Read More.

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Physical Therapist

Can Telehealth Make Physical Therapy More Effective?

from mHealth Intelligence

A new study launched by Duke University will analyze whether telehealth platform can reduce costs and improve clinical outcomes for knee replacement patients. Read More.

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.


Biomedical Research Bill Approved in House

from The Scientist

The 21st Century Cures Act could provide funds to federal research agencies for the decade and accelerate the drug approval process. Read More.

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.


The Neuroscientist Who’s Building a Better Memory for Humans

from Wired

Theodore Berger, a biomedical engineer at the University of Southern California, can’t promise that level of perfect recall, but he is working on a surgically implanted memory prosthesis. Read More.

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.


House Passes Bill with Telehealth, Home Infusion Provisions

from Home Health Care News

A bill that was passed by the House of Representatives last week, if passed by the Senate, will have an impact on several areas of the home health and hospice industry. Read More.

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Dave’s Blog: Dave’s View of PA Full Practice Responsibility

by Dave Mittman, PA, DFAAPA





About a month ago, the AAPA Full Practice Authority Task Force issued a statement on full practice for PAs. As a PA and not as a member of any Board or company, I thought I would shed some light on why I think we need to look closely at this subject today and hopefully act on it. I have spoken to many PAs about the concept and there are some things that they and you may be surprised about. There are also plenty of misconceptions. I thought I would give you some of what I have compiled and put together to answer some common questions.

What Is Full Practice Responsibility (FPR)?
FPR is a simple concept. It is about PAs taking responsibility for what they do each day and owning it. Being responsible for it. it is about PAs governing their own profession and PAs making the rules and regulations for PAs. After 50 years we have earned the above rights. This does not mean we would not practice as a team, nor change our ability to do what we do today. It would hold us responsible for what we do and fully erase many practice barriers that keep our profession down and that are holdovers from the past. It would also put us on a firm competitive footing with other professions that are willing to take responsibility for what they do.

I’d Like To Rename The Concept
If it catches on, I’d like to call this PA Practice Responsibility (PAPR). Why? Because it’s really about taking responsibility for what we do. It will give us equity with NPs and others who provide services we provide and most importantly it will not put us behind the eight ball with healthcare institutions and hospital groups who choose to hire others to provide care we can provide.

Years ago, many solo physicians hired PAs. It was a nice relationship, especially for a new profession. It will not work in the future. Going forward most physicians will be employees. They will not want to work with anyone who will increase their liability while not substantially increasing their income as they have in the past. They will look to providers that can be colleagues and carry no risk on their license. We see this now from physicians and hospital systems across America. If we wait to plan for this shift, we will be too late.

Simply, this is PAs taking responsibility for our own profession and practice.

Is This Independent Practice?
To most physicians independent practice means something completely different than it means to most PAs. To physicians, “independence” means being in solo or group practice. Owning and running your own practice. To many PAs and NPs independence means governing your own profession. In actuality, there have always been PAs who have gone and set up their own practices-many in small towns and rural areas that needed them. In most states we were always legally allowed to do this with a physician some number of miles away. Full Practice Responsibility would not force PAs to change anything about how they are working day to day. It would allow you the ability to go to a small town, or be hired by the local ER and not have to worry about many of the barriers we face while providing care today.

I’m Still Not Sure What FPR Means?
Like all other professions, PAs graduate from their educational programs with a fund of knowledge and clinical skill. This knowledge (and possibly on the job hours) should allow these graduates to have a scope of practice. This scope of practice should no longer be determined by another professional (no other profession has this), but will include general primary care plus other education and training gained along the way. It will be determined at the practice level by the credentialing committee or hospital PA Board. FPR will create a real profession where people are not “delegated” the right to do something by someone else but they gain that right to do it through education and experience as other professions do. So, from doing a physical exam, to an injection, to putting in a chest tube-once you are competent, you have that right. No one can take it away, you own it unless you lose that competence or break other rules.

A Look At Pharmacists For Example
Pharmacists take take a very short course (a few hours) and are then allowed to give injections. It is not a “delegated” act. No physician tells them to give an injection, they do it as part of their license. They do not need a prescription from you or a physician (delegation) to do it. It is part of a pharmacist’s scope of practice. They own it. They can do it when they are retired as long as they retain a pharmacy license. PAs can’t. Ever. Everything we do is legally delegated, even when it seems it’s not. Again, we need to remove this.

I know you think the ability to practice is part of your license, but it is not. While you are an expert at injections, drawing blood, putting in IVs, doing physicals, suturing, reading EKGs and more by the time you graduate, once you start practice, legally these are delegated acts. They are not part of any scope of practice that you actually own. You get this ability in every state, because a physician allows you to do it. If they say no, you as a PA can’t do it. You can change your job, but you are dependent on someone else for your own abilities. Yes, it sounds bizarre but it is true.

RNs graduate with a scope of practice they own. PTs do also. So do NPs but it’s intertwined with RN practice (in many states, NP practice is delegated also). PAs don’t have a scope of practice on a legal level on our own. It’s time we did. It helps us and our patients to have one. PA Practice Responsibility will give us one.

Have We Always Had A Scope of Practice of Our Own?
Yes, but we did not recognize it as such. Thirty five years ago, I practiced Internal Medicine with an internist who was a pulmonologist. I did much of the primary care he did not want to do or know how to do. There was much that was within his scope of practice as a physician, but he never practiced it. So trauma, fractures, women’s health, derm and other problems were sent to me more than he. He acknowledged I was better at those than he was. I acknowledged he was better at IM, pulmonology and cardiology. I saw hypertension, bronchitis and CHF but he saw the more difficult cases. Looking back, we both had a scope of practice that significantly differed from each other. We made a good partnership. Many PAs practiced like this but in reality I was not doing what he did or what he was even good at. I had an expertise that I owned. It was mine. But I could not legally practice it or even write an Rx without having him along for the ride. Same with so many other PAs. I was not being an “extension” of the physician there, I was being another practitioner-a colleague. That now needs to be codified. That we have our own education and clinical background that merits our being able to take responsibility for what we do. If we learn more, fine. If the physician learns more, fine. Only the patients will benefit.

I am Happy The Way Things Are, Why Change?
Simply because times have changed. The PA experiment has worked. We are celebrating our 50th anniversary. We deliver quality care. We are professionals. As professionals, it’s time we joined the other professions who ALL plan their own futures. Others who do not have to worry about those who are not in their professions controlling their professions. We need “PA Boards” governing PAs. We need to evolve and grow. This is not about taking over medicine, it’s about giving us what all other professions have and what we have earned. It would be fair to not have a Board governing you made up of people from another profession, many of whom do not even work alongside a PA. It’s time we had a Board of PAs looking out for what is best for PAs and the patients we serve.

Do We Want To Be Physicians?
I have had PAs suggest to me in some way that we PAs do “some” medicine but we are really “allowed” to do it because physicians are nice to us. A PA leader told me that. Or we hear “if you want to be independent, you should have gone to medical school”. Another PA told me we don’t own any of medicine. It is not ours. Well, people, I must tell you I TOTALLY disagree with that thinking. It’s rubbish. It stems from insecurity. It is time to allow ourselves the feeling that PAs practice medicine. I think we all know this intellectually, but some of do not FEEL it emotionally. We are not physicians, nor do we want to be, but we went to school and learned medicine-not nursing, not PT or OT, and not chiropractic. We along with physicians (and NPs) own and practice our own style of medicine. Each of us. We prescribe, we diagnose and we treat our patients. Some of us do procedures, some do more complicated procedures than the average physician does. Some of us do primary care-what physicians really do the world over. It’s time to say we are not 90% of what physicians are, but 100% of what PAs are. Yes, in all of our shining glory what we do is provide medical care to people. Let’s own just that. If we can not even own what we do, do we even have a profession?

If I Am Still Torn, What Else Can You Tell Me About Why I Should Support FPR?
FPR will give PAs the right to bill and track what we do as PAs. If we are not stuck to someone else and billing under their names and their profession, our hospitals and office managers will bill under our names. What that will do is pull away the curtain of invisibility many of us have worn for almost 50 years. No longer will we do all the work in a system and have it attributed to someone else. It will be vitally important for our profession to be able to show exactly how much care we are providing and to whom. Washington and your state will demand it. If you want our profession to be funded and noticed, we can no longer be invisible when it comes to what we do and how we bill. I bet when the players know, we will also be reimbursed more fairly. They will try more to understand us. Over time, FPR will show the world exactly how much care we are delivering to the people of America. Today, we can not do that and it hurts us all.

What’s The Downside?
There really are few. We need the ability to look and work towards this as a profession. We need to evolve. We need to remain competitive. Will some physician groups feel threatened? Yes, without a doubt. But they are threatened anyway and usually group PAs and NPs together. They have not gone out of their way to hire PAs nor has any medical group asked their hospitals to do so? And we can speak to the points that threaten them. This will be done in your state when you are ready.

Looking at the NP profession, when they had a state adopt full practice, no one lost jobs; in fact for most little changed. The NPs I have spoken with say they have been treated with more respect by physcians. They feel more like colleagues than before. They still have physicians to go to when they need help. So will we. So do other physicians. This is about better patient care.

A plan for FPR would allow the profession to plan so you have a road map to adopt full practice. It would also allow states that feel they are ready to do this to proceed. You will not get fired, nor will the medical society stop talking to your state organization. In fact a conversation about FPR might lead to a more respected image for PAs. If our relationships with other professions are based around doing what they tell us to do, they are not out for us at all anyway.

What’s The Bottom Line?
FPR is going to happen somewhere. A state Governor may call a state society and offer it to their PAs because the hospital systems in a state asked him/her to change the law. One of the branches of the military or the VA will proceed. Somewhere soon. We need to be prepared for that phone call, before the call is made. We can either have it happen in a controlled, well thought out way, or have it happen in a haphazard way; one state doing it their way and another state doing it another way. We can either use the same terms; or have 50 states use 50 different ones. We will only get one chance, so the thinking and planning should start now. NO ONE WILL MAKE YOUR STATE DO THIS. No one will make the way you practice change drastically. This will in fact allow the PA profession to think proactively and plan ahead. It will only be done when states feel they are ready. What we want to do is start the in-depth look at the best practices on how to do it.

How do you feel? I am eager to hear your thoughts. I am also excited to explore this, are you?

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.


3,600+ Physicians Reject AMA’s Endorsement of Dr. Tom Price for HHS

from Becker’s Hospital Review

More than 3,600 physicians signed an open letter railing against the American Medical Association’s support for Rep. Tom Price, MD, R-Ga., chairman of the House Budget Committee, as secretary of HHS. The physician group wrote the AMA’s backing of the nominee contradicts any support for patient well-being. Read More.

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.


Even with Nearby Retail Clinics, Patients More Likely to Go to E.R.

from Physicians News Digest

Even if there’s a retail health clinic less than a 10-minute drive away, consumers are just as likely to go to the emergency department for low-level problems like bronchitis or urinary tract infections, a recent study found. Read More.

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.