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The Dose - JK Wall

Welcome to The Dose, which tackles the finances behind local health care and life sciences and points to the most interesting national analysis. Your host is J.K. Wall.

Health Care & Life Sciences / Life Science & Biotech

Hoosier docs, hospitals cut jobs while peers nationally keep hiring

December 8, 2014

As I wrote last week, Indiana’s hospital systems are enjoying a recovery in their business fortunes that marks a significant turnaround from 2013.

Much of that improved outlook has come from trimming jobs, which pretty directly fattened profits.

The Indiana University Health hospital system and the Franciscan Alliance hospital system saw their profits skyrocket as their payrolls shrunk by hundreds and even thousands of workers.

Across all hospitals, those job cuts have totaled 3,500 over the past 12 months, according to the latest figures available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That marks a 3 percent cut.

As I noted back in March, the recent job cuts have made a modest dent in the big run-up in employment at hospitals for the previous decade and a half. But they have gotten large enough to set hospital and physician employment in Indiana back to roughly their 2010 levels.

You can see the scope of hospitals’ cut in the chart below.

Indiana Hospitals:

Indiana Hospitals Employment

The story is similar at Indiana’s physician practices, where 1,500 jobs have disappeared over the previous year, according to BLS. That’s also a 3 percent cut.

You can see the magnitude of doctors’ office cuts in the chart below.

Indiana Physicians:

Indiana Physician Offices Employment
These figures contrast with national data in two significant ways.

First, as you can see in the two charts below, hospital and physician employment has continued to grow the past year across the country.

 

U.S. Hospitals:

U.S. Hospitals Employment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Physicians:

U.S. Physicians Employment

In spite of that divergent trend, Indiana still employs more workers in hospitals and doctors’ offices than the nation as a whole.

Indiana’s physician offices are leaner on staff than their peers’ nationally. For every 100,000 Hoosiers, there are 727 people working in physician offices, according to BLS data and the Census Bureau’s 2013 population estimates.

Nationally, the rate is 793 physician employees per 100,000 residents. That’s about 10 percent more than in Indiana.

But Indiana’s hospitals are staffed significantly heavier than the nation’s—about 12 percent heavier. For every 100,000 Hoosiers, there are 1,709 workers in hospitals. Nationally, the rate is 1,522 hospital employees per 100,000.

If you add the two categories together, Indiana has about 120 extra workers in hospitals and doctors’ offices than the national average.

It’s yet one more sign that Hoosiers are spending more than they should be on health care.

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