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HHS needs a plan to meet healthcare workforce needs

January 14, 2016
by Nicole Stempak, Associate Editor
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It's not clear what healthcare workforce needs are or if they're being met.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) lacks comprehensive planning and oversight to ensure its 72 healthcare workforce agency programs meet national healthcare workforce needs, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The GAO recommends coordinated department-wide planning, consistent with leading practices, to ensure efforts are aligned and effectively managed.

"The federal government, largely through HHS, funds programs to help ensure a sufficient supply and distribution of healthcare professionals," according to the report. "Without a comprehensive and coordinated planning approach, HHS cannot fully identify gaps and actions to address those gaps, including determining whether additional legislative proposals are needed to ensure that its programs fully meet workforce needs."

The department's workforce programs support education and training for multiple health professions, but its largest programs do not specifically target areas of workforce need, such as for primary care and rural providers, according to the report.

"An adequate, well-trained and diverse healthcare workforce is essential for providing access to quality healthcare services," according to the report.


Click here to access the report entitled "Comprehensive Planning by HHS Needed to Meet National Needs."