MDCH To Create Michigan Healthcare Workforce Center

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 18, 2006

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) will create a new health care workforce center to coordinate state efforts that address physician workforce challenges Michigan will be facing in the next decade, state officials said today.

"We want to be increasingly proactive and address physician workforce shortage issues today, so we are not struggling with them tomorrow," said Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director. "Through the use of this Center, we will develop a single point of entry in state government so we can coordinate efforts to recruit and retain physicians in Michigan over the next decade."

The Michigan Healthcare Workforce Center – to be housed in the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH)’s Bureau of Health Professions – represents a collaborative effort between MDCH, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth (DLEG), the Michigan Department of Human Services, and the Michigan Department of Education, Olszewski said.

One of the key components of the Center will be an interactive web site that will house Michigan-specific data and reports generated by state departments, Olszewski said.

"As health care providers address healthcare workforce shortages in their own organizations, we hope to assist them by providing – through the Center – data and information that will help to influence personnel decisions and responses to employment challenges," Olszewski said.

A second web site – Careers In Healthcare – will be similar to existing sites for manufacturing jobs already available on www.michigan.gov. The Careers In Healthcare website will house on-line resources about health and medical professions, so that career seekers can access critical information necessary to pursue a career in healthcare.

The state’s efforts come in response to a recent study conducted by MDCH that concluded Michigan will soon face shortages in its physician workforce.

Some key findings from the survey show that:

  • Overall, 73 percent of physicians licensed in Michigan are active in Michigan—providing patient care, working with no time in patient care, enrolled in graduate medical training, and/or semi-retired.
  • Sixty percent of physicians licensed in Michigan are providing patient care services in Michigan.
  • Thirty-six percent of physicians who are providing patient care report that their practice is nearly full and they can accept only a few new patients; another 6 percent report that their practice is full.
  • More than 38 percent of active physicians indicate that they only plan to practice medicine for one to ten more years, and 37 percent of active physicians are aged 55 or older.

"Because thousands of physicians were willing to participate in this survey, we now have access to critical data that gives state policy makers insight into physicians’ attitudes and preferences so – together – we can make decisions based on hard evidence – not speculation and anecdotes," Olszewski said.

Last year, MDCH and DLEG jointly released a study that indicated that Michigan will need to fill more than 100,000 professional and technical health care jobs in the next decade.

Already, Michigan has addressed potential shortages in the state’s nursing workforce, through her economic development plan and the MI Opportunity Partnership, which has made available more than $17 million to 13 Michigan universities and community colleges to accelerate training for nurses and other health care professionals.

"Health care is Michigan’s leading job provider and we need this relevant data for the debates necessary to create long term public policy regarding the future of medicine and health care in our state," said Kevin Kelly, executive director of the Michigan State Medical Society. "The MDCH results show the continuing problems in Medicaid participation and the realities of increased paperwork and decreased reimbursement. We appreciate the efforts of Director Olszewski and MDCH to conduct this survey of physicians and look forward to it continuing on an annual basis."

"This survey provides hard data to support what many in the health care community have feared: Michigan is facing a physician shortage," said Michigan Osteopathic Association Executive Director Dennis Paradis. "More important than the data itself is how we move forward with this information to address the issues of physician supply and access to healthcare."

"We need to continue to build collaborative efforts around the state to address the issue of physician shortage at all levels," said Anne Rosewarne, President of the Michigan Health Council. "The Center for Health Professions – now housed at the Michigan Health Council thanks to a state grant – will foster our efforts, using this important data as a basis for our planning efforts. MDCH has done an amazing job by taking a national leadership position on this important issue. They have worked hard to bring all stakeholders to the table, so we can address the issue of physician workforce shortages together."

Click here for a copy of the physician workforce survey.

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