Mar 13, 2020 - Health

Health care's hiring boom may not help the coronavirus outbreak

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Health care hiring has surged over the past few years, but the influx of bodies won't necessarily alleviate an impending wave of coronavirus cases.

The big picture: Most new health care jobs are on the administrative side — not doctors, nurses or other clinical staff who are needed to help triage and care for patients.

Where things stand: The health care industry has added roughly 914,000 jobs over the past three years — more than the population of San Francisco — and a large chunk of those jobs came in outpatient settings like physician offices.

  • However, more granular federal data show a majority of the hires have been for administrative and clerical jobs, like hospital billing, collections, IT, marketing and insurance contracting.
  • Many home health jobs have been created, which could help older adults who have chronic illnesses and need to stay at home during the outbreak, but the biggest need will be in hospital intensive care units.

The bottom line: "We have a lot of fat in our health care system," said Bob Kocher, a doctor and partner at Venrock. "But we don't have any fat on the clinical workforce side."

Go deeper: A longer coronavirus outbreak is the best outcome for the health care system

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What Biden's big Super Tuesday means for health care

Illustration: Axios Visuals

Health care has become the framework that defines the broader ideological and stylistic divisions within the Democratic primary — a contest between political revolution and Medicare for All vs. bipartisan compromise and a public option.

Yes, but: It's kind of a false choice. Passing either of those health care plans would require a knock-down, drag-out party-line brawl just as intense as the fight over the Affordable Care Act.

Go deeperArrowMar 4, 2020 - Health

U.S. economy surprises with 273,000 jobs added in February

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 273,000 jobs in February — way more than the 175,000 economists expected — while the unemployment rate dipped to 3.5%, the government said Friday.

Why it matters: The labor market is adding jobs at a breakneck pace, but the numbers don’t take into account the worsening coronavirus outbreak that threatens the record-long stretch of job gains.

Trump administration finalizes health data rule

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Trump administration finalized a rule Monday that would make it easier for patients to share their health data with apps, hospitals and doctors, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Between the lines: The rule is likely to benefit the growing health data industry, which uses the information to develop health care services. But opponents of the rule argue that it could also create data privacy issues.

Go deeperArrowMar 10, 2020 - Health