Reviews current literature regarding the Affordable Care Act and its accompanying Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG) and examines whether low-skilled workers can be trained for the potential high demand of entry-level healthcare jobs.

“The HPOG [Health Profession Occupation Grant] program awarded five-year grants to 32 grantees to expand available resources to economically disadvantaged groups to enter the healthcare workforce” (p.4-5). “This paper reviews the literature on the policy context of the HPOG program and the challenges and opportunities related to developing healthcare occupational training and support programs. It discusses the structure of the healthcare industry and trends in healthcare employment, implications of ACA for entry-level employment in healthcare, and resulting challenges and opportunities for training programs” (p.i). Focusing mainly on entry-level healthcare and related social services occupations that the majority of HPOG grantees target, the paper “summarizes important contextual information regarding the ACA and on health occupations and jobs; discusses the complexity of healthcare occupations credentialing requirements; provides insight into the structure of current and future employment opportunities; and summarizes key challenges and opportunities regarding developing and retaining a sufficient and high-quality healthcare workforce” (p.3). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: Literature Review: Healthcare Occupational Training and Support Programs under the ACA—Background and Implications for Evaluating HPOG


Major Findings & Recommendations

Implications of ACA coverage expansion for healthcare workforce training programs include the following: • “Making healthcare services more available to [an] additional number of covered patients and better coverage even for previously insured people will increase the demand for care and place increased burden on the currently stressed healthcare system” (p.17). • The new structures for the delivery of healthcare services facilitated by the ACA will require physicians, nurses, and healthcare support workers to work in a more integrated environment. (p.17) • “The ACA’s drive to increase coverage suggests the related need to expand and advance the healthcare workforce, for the which the ACA provides funds through the Prevention and Public Health Fund” (p.17). • “Investing in healthcare workforce training and development is critical to meeting efficiency and quality standards” (p.18). • “To expand effectively the pool of trained healthcare workers, training programs may have to systemically incorporate supports for student who may not otherwise succeed” (p.18). Implications for HPOG include the following: • “HPOG grantee programs, and all training programs focusing on healthcare employment opportunities, need to be aware of the specific healthcare labor market context in their area when developing and refining their programs. In particular, choices on occupational training opportunities should take into account differences in projected demand across areas and occupations, as well as varying licensing and certification requirements for each occupation” (p.19). • “Increased projected demand for labor as a result of ACA implementation and existing and projected labor shortages in many healthcare occupations seem likely to improve many HPOG participants’ chances in finding healthcare jobs” (p.19). • “The HPOG program and ACF’s multi-pronged evaluation strategy to assess the success of the program provide the opportunity to significantly contribute to the literature regarding innovative approaches to address the vast supply side needs of the healthcare workforce” (p.19). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)