Northeast Ohio faces a projected shortage of 3,500 nurses by 2020. Nurse practitioners, medical assistants, and other healthcare "extenders" are also in short supply, as are entry-level positions (medical technicians, medical technologists, Licensed Practical Nurses, nursing aides, nursing assistants, home health aides, etc.) across the board.
The region's response? Hiking pay. Which means higher healthcare costs for consumers.
The cause? Nurses and others are retiring at high rates, due to age, injury, and burnout. Changes in the way healthcare is provided have shifted hundreds of nurses into "care management" positions, where they direct patients to the right caregiver rather than provide care themselves. And the percentage of NEO residents over age 65 is already higher than average, and getting much worse fast. Since older people consume 5 to 6 times the amount of healthcare as those under 65, this -- combined with the shorage -- is creating a healthcare crisis in Northeast Ohio.