Growing demand for healthcareiStock_000019152137_Double

Southern Oregon faces growing healthcare provider shortages in multiple medical fields limiting access to critical physical and mental care. The demand for healthcare services has grown in recent years and is projected to keep rising.

Several factors are adding to increased demand for healthcare. National healthcare reforms have connected large numbers of individuals with an array of services. The number of uninsured Oregonians has dramatically dropped. Plus, a “silver tsunami” of soon-to-retire baby boomers with increasing healthcare needs will put an even greater strain on our system.

Healthcare insurance enrollment is up

  • The number of uninsured Oregonians was 19.4% in 2013 and dropped to 5.3% in 2015.
  • Southern Oregon counties had up to 13% declines in uninsured individuals.
  • Large increases in Oregon Health Plan (OHP) enrollment occurred from 2012 to 2014.
  • OHP enrollment in Douglas County increased by 11%; Josephine County OHP enrollment was up 14%—other regional counties experienced similar spikes.

Rising need for skilled healthcare professionals

  • Primary care, a focal point of healthcare reform, places greater demand on healthcare providers—Oregon’s Coordinated Care Organizations reported that primary care visits among OHP members increased by 9% from 2011 to 2013.
  • A 2016 federal report issued by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration predicts that Oregon will need about 6,000 new nurses by 2025—in part because nearly one third are set to retire over the next 10 years.
  • Large numbers of soon-to-retire baby boomers will place even greater demands on our healthcare system…about 25% of adults in most Southern Oregon counties are already 65 and older.

Healthcare jobs are increasingly difficult to fill

Oregon’s healthcare industry consistently tops the list of total job vacancies, as well as difficult-to-fill jobs, in the state. Job vacancies for nursing assistants, registered nurses and other healthcare positions are becoming increasingly difficult to fill. The reason is largely due to the lack of applicants and qualified candidates. Rates of difficult-to-fill healthcare jobs are high in many areas across Southern and Rural Oregon and are expected to worsen as more workers retire from the labor force.