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Healthcare jobs growing in New York, but recruitment remains an issue

In all, healthcare employment accounts for about 12 percent of total employment in the state, and continues to grow faster than in other sectors

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Employment in healthcare across New York continues to grow statewide, especially in home healthcare and ambulatory care, according to a report from the University at Albany's Center for Health Workforce Studies.

Between 2000 and 2014, employment in home healthcare grew by 136 percent, with employment in ambulatory care growing  30 percent. Overall, healthcare employment in New York increased by 24 percent during that time.

In all, healthcare employment accounts for about 12 percent of total employment in the state, and continues to grow faster than employment in all other sectors. Many of the fastest growing occupations in the state are in the health sector, including home health aides, personal care aides, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

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In some cases, certain healthcare subsectors have  experienced difficulty filling their open positions. In 2016, hospitals across the state reported the most difficulty recruiting experienced registered nurses, NPs, PAs and clinical laboratory technologists.

[Also: Greater New York Hospital Association pitches $2.5 billion plan to bring safety net hospitals into larger systems]

Also in 2016, the state's home health agencies reported the greatest difficulty recruiting speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, experienced RNs and respiratory therapists. And agencies downstate reported difficulty recruiting home health aides, homemakers and personal care aides, while agencies in many upstate regions reporting difficulty retaining individuals in those same occupations.

Federally qualified health centers in the state reported the most difficulty recruiting primary care physicians, obstetricians/gynecologists, NPs, dentists and most categories of behavioral health workers.

Between 2014 and 2024, the New York State Department of Labor projects growing demand for direct care workers, including home health aides and personal care aides, as well as RNs, social workers and LPNs.

"Despite job growth in the health sector, many patients lack access to services in some areas of the state where providers report unmet demand for workers," said Robert Martiniano, senior program manager at CHWS, in a statement. "Workforce recruitment and retention can be problematic for primary care providers and behavioral health providers, resulting in delays in obtaining needed services for patients."

Twitter: @JELagasse