Profiles a teaching hospital’s efforts to develop its frontline workforce and meet the goals of the Affordable Care Act, and offers recommendations and lessons learned from those efforts.

“This report documents the steps taken by an urban teaching hospital to develop its frontline workforce and achieve the goals of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Responding to a host of challenges, including the ACA’s ‘triple aim’—better patient experience, lower costs of care, and improved health for populations— Jersey City Medical Center/Barnabas Health (JCMC) has invested in the skills and career development of its employees to build a robust talent development effort targeting frontline workers, including patient transporters, receptionists, and housekeepers.

This initiative, which earned JCMC the distinction ‘Frontline Health Care Worker Champion,’ aligns with the hospital’s strategic goal of engaging employees as a means to improve patient satisfaction, also a central goal of the ACA. To date, nearly 40 frontline workers have successfully entered and completed the program, with all but three garnering positions that pay $5,000- 8,000 more annually than their previous roles. JCMC’s strategic framework includes ‘improving the health of the population, enhancing the patient experience, and reducing the per capita cost of care.’ According to JCMC’s Framework, an ‘engaged employee and physician workforce’ is central to attaining these goals.

….This report uses the experience of Jersey City Medical Center to document how one health care employer is implementing frontline workforce development, and how workforce investment can advance business objectives and organizational mission in the post-ACA environment….

This report is based on a series of interviews conducted in summer 2015 with hospital executives, line managers, frontline employees, and instructors. It is one in a series of reports and case studies on the frontline workforce impacts of the ACA, conducted on behalf of CareerSTAT.

CareerSTAT is a joint initiative of Jobs for the Future and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions that documents the business case for investments in frontline hospital workers” (p.1-2).

(Abstractor: Author)

Full publication title: Building Career Ladders in the Age of the Affordable Care Act: A Case Study of Jersey City Medical Center/Barnabas Health

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Jersey City Medical Center’s development of career opportunities in the ACA environment offers a number of lessons: • Successful training and placement of frontline workers, with 100 percent retention and completion rates, is attainable and practical. • It requires staff, instructional, and financial resources, such as a dedicated training and development manager reporting to the Human Resources Department. Buy-in and support at all levels, especially from the chief executive, clinical leaders, and frontline managers, is essential. • Frontline workforce development needs to align with organizational strategy that promotes a direct link between supporting employee growth and well being, and performance outcomes that contribute to key objectives, such as patient satisfaction. • Workforce investments are best made in the context of systematic inquiry into employee interests and aptitudes and their alignment with organizational talent needs. These inquiries should result in opportunities for employee growth in the form of ladders, where the required steps or rungs are transparent to employees. • Personal and sustained relationships of workforce staff with employee-learners are critical to candidates’ retention and success. • Workforce development is organizational development and vice versa. Investing in staff learning and development can have positive spillovers into performance, morale, and team building among trainees and their peers” (p.15). Recommendations include the following: • “Expand the capacity for serving frontline workers at JCMC…. by adding a dedicated coach or retention specialist whose sole responsibility is to assist frontline workers in assessing career possibilities, identifying and removing obstacles—whether academic or personal—and supporting career and educational advancement. Creating this position would enable the manager for training and development to focus on strategy, program development, and sustainability. • Institutionalize frontline workforce development at an organizational and corporate level. • ….Use data to make the business case for scaling career path programs. • ….Bring workforce development into closer alignment with care transformation. Jersey City Medical Center’s work with population health and care coordination—especially its use of patient navigators and rewards to encourage healthy patient behavior (Wealth from Health)—is highly innovative and promising” (p. 15-16). (Abstractor: Author)