Despite negligible job growth in 2013, 2014 proved to be a banner year for staffing in the healthcare sector. In 2013, the healthcare sector ranked third amongst industries for the highest number of employee layoffs; a trend that reversed in 2014 according to data recently released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increase in healthcare job creation began in December 2013, when 34,000 healthcare jobs were created. The trend continued through 2014, with an average of 26,000 new jobs being added each month. The monthly average was more than double the 2013 average rate, which was only 17,000 per month. Growth was seen across several major healthcare specialties, including ambulatory care (16,000), nursing and residential care facilities (11,000), and in general hospital staffing (7,000). At least part of the uptick in healthcare jobs was a result of the expansion of Medicaid eligibility due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, the increase in openings was limited to the states that chose to adopt the new legislation. States that did not expand Medicaid eligibility added an average of only 15,000 jobs per month between April and October 2014, compared to the 21,000 added per month by expansion states over the same period. Despite the initial difference between expansion and non-expansion states, the gap is closing as more states consider expanding their Medicaid programs. This data suggests that should this trend continue, there will be a major boom in healthcare openings going forward. This industry growth is especially promising for physicians who work in outpatient facilities. As opposed to hospitals, which experienced anemic job growth of 0.13 percent in 2014, outpatient care centers and home health have experienced significant job growth as a result of the ACA. Outpatient job growth has increased by more than 9 percent over a two year period between July 2012 and July 2014, creating a wealth of opportunities for physicians looking for a change of pace from the traditional hospital setting. If the positive job growth continues throughout the New Year, 2015 is poised to be a banner year to be a healthcare provider. Such an increase in staffing will only exacerbate the current physician shortage. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimates that by the year 2020 there will be a shortage of 90,000 physicians, a number that is predicted to grow to more than 130,000 by 2025. This shortage has created a situation where hospitals are unable to fill their new job openings with permanent physicians; supply is simply unable to meet demand. As the shortage becomes more severe, providers will have to seek innovative ways to meet their needs, and locum tenens is one solution. Facilities that effectively utilize locum tenens will have access to thousands of healthcare workers actively looking for employment, and provide physicians the flexibility to work where and when they want. For more information on the physician shortage, and how Barton Associates can help your facility, please visit BartonAssociates.com.