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Today, we have an exercise for you. Below are two scenarios that play a role in healthcare delivery in Fort Wayne. Your questions–should you choose to take on the challenge of answering them–are included after the scenarios.

Situation #1
Modern Healthcare recently published “Attracting the best and the brightest” (http://www.modernhealthcare.com/…/attracting-the-best-and-t…), which included this statistic: in the last decade, Healthcare has created 35% of new jobs. However, it’s also true that “An estimated 82,000 additional physicians will be needed by 2025 to meet the demand, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.”

As the analysis continues, with growth and new technology come new problems: “growth in healthcare jobs likely also contributes to another issue employers have to face: turnover…the total average turnover rate among healthcare jobs in 2016 was 19.9%, second to only the hospitality industry, compared to 2010 when it ranked fifth.”

Doctors and nurses, it seems, have other options, as the article goes on to note: “recruiting firm NSI Nursing Solutions estimated that losing a single nurse can cost a hospital between $37,700 to $58,400. The average hospital will lose $5.2 million to $8.1 million annually due to nurse turnover.” Obviously, It has become important to be known as a good place to work. For example, a Texas hospital cut its turnover rate from 50% down to 4% and noted, “We found that the better we treated our employees, the better patient care they delivered.”

Situation #2
MedPage Today, a publication of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), reports on the state of student debt (https://www.medpagetoday.com/PublicHe…/by-the-numbers/68219…): “It’s well established that medical students are graduating with more student debt, on average. Whereas 30 years ago, the mean debt upon graduation was $70,000 (adjusted to 2017 dollars), by last year it had reached $190,000.”While average student loan debt increased across all specialties, an increasing number of specialists finished training with no debt, and the number with more than $300,000 in debt had doubled.The American Medical Student Association says, “These findings have important implications for the American health care system. Critical issues in American health care such as access to care, diversity and cultural competency in the workforce, and health disparities are all affected by the debt burden carried by today’s physicians-in-training…Minority graduates entered internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine in far greater numbers than any other specialty.Thus the debt crisis serves to exacerbate the shortage of minority physicians and severely hamper improvement in the care of underserved populations. And, while tuition and training costs have greatly increased, physician incomes have lagged far behind.”

Your questions:
– Of our two local healthcare systems–Lutheran Health Network and Parkview Health, which do you think is dealing most effectively with these pressing problems?
– Which system provides debt relief for graduates as well as hiring bonuses?
– Which system pays higher wages for new hires, both physicians and nurses?
– Which system provides more nursing help per patient and is seen as a better workplace?
– Does either system have newer, up-to-date equipment?
– Which system is more likely to hire local medical graduates?

Share your answers in the comments. We have no prize money to distribute, being but a lowly volunteer-run nonprofit, but bragging rights–and perhaps more informed decisions about your healthcare options–are yours for the taking.