New data source useful when covering health care professionals

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: Deborah Crowe

So much of reporting on medical studies focuses on drugs, treatments, preventive care, health outcomes, risk factors and similar aspects of individual health. It’s easy to forget that there is a whole other area of literature concerned with the people who provide care.

More and more studies are examining burnout and mental health among physicians, nurses and other providers, for example. Health policy often relies on research about workforce trends and shortages. But many of studies only look at the whole nation or a particular region, making difficult to localize the data if you’re not a national reporter.

A new data entry in the AHCJ medical studies core topic area may come in handy. It links to resources from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to help identify national and state health care workforce trends, salary and hourly wage medians and shortages of primary and mental health care, among other topics.

The new section includes the BLS handbook on health care occupations, as well as occupational employment statistics and weekly earnings by metro area. CMS data on shortages of primary care providers and mental health practitioners can be downloaded in spreadsheets by year, organized by ZIP code.

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