Obamacare likely to increase the need for travel nurses
April 10, 2014 by Vickie Anenberg
As the lengthy rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues, the new rules and regulations it implements have challenged healthcare providers in unexpected ways. However, one outcome that hasn’t been a surprise is the increasing value of travel nurses at healthcare facilities around the country.
The number of newly insured Americans as a result of the ACA – more commonly referred to as Obamacare – has been tough to track, although one of the more reliable estimates puts the figure at more than 9 million. But there is little doubt that the demand for healthcare is increasing. These newly insured Americans enter a healthcare system that is already facing staffing shortages in many areas, including a lack of qualified nurses.
Employer-mandated coverage must also be factored into the equation. With the looming provision that employers who have more than 50 full-time employees need to offer health insurance coverage, many businesses will choose to forgo hiring and explore other options.
Travel nurses will be a key resource in helping satisfy this increased demand in healthcare facilities. They will be needed in acute-care hospitals, outpatient clinics and other skilled nursing settings.
Many of the newly insured live in urban areas, so demand for travel nurses in metropolitan locations around the country will continue to increase. But rural healthcare facilities will also need help. Many are working to trim costs and may seek to replace full-time staff with professionals who can come in and augment their workforce during times of peak demand.
The Affordable Care Act is still very much a work in progress with many moving parts and challenges ahead. And there’s no denying the ACA will change how healthcare providers staff their facilities. For travel nurses, that change should be a positive one.