A new report published by AHA TrendWatch reveals that Medicare patients are living longer, despite the fact that the majority have a chronic condition. Individuals over the age of 65 are the most likely to have chronic conditions, and, according to the AHA report, four in five seniors have a chronic condition, such as heart disease, cancer, hypertension, and diabetes. Although most seniors have a chronic condition, life expectancy has increased approximately 17 months for the general population since 2000. The increase in older, sicker Medicare patients means hospitalists are managing more complex cases. It’s a trend that will continue as the baby boomers reach the Medicare eligibility age at a rate of 10,000 per day. In fact, the number of Medicare beneficiaries is expected to more than double over the next 40 years. In the July 2012 issue of The Hospitalist, SHM immediate past president Joseph Ming Wah Li, MD, SFHM, warned hospitalists of the increase in complex cases. Li said hospitalists can expect to see sicker patients more frequently; several times a day rather than just once or twice. It’s safe to say this trend will translate into increased demand for highly qualified hospitalists and hospital-based nurse practitioners. Hospitals simply cannot afford to go without these valuable care team members. At Barton Associates, we expect the demand for locum tenens hospitalists and hospital-based nurse practitioners to rise as well. The time needed to recruit and hire permanent candidates will increase as demand for hospitalists grows. Quality locum tenens providers who can step in and deliver excellent care will be highly sought after by hospitals who wish to ensure they can meet the needs of increasingly complex patients.