The Affordable Care Act, which is infusing millions of new paying customers into the economy who previously couldn’t afford medical care services, continues to boost jobs growth as the health industry emphasizes outpatient care and value-based medicine.
The health care industry added 22,000 jobs last month, which was about on par with February totals for health services jobs, according to the jobs report issued Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In the past year alone, 363,000 jobs have been added in the health sector. The entire U.S. economy added 126,000 jobs in March though such totals ended a string of 12 consecutive months when 200,000 jobs or more were added to employment rolls.
The growth in health care continues to come in the ambulatory care sector which is key to the shift away from fee-for-service medicine to value-based care models that emphasize outreach to patients, encouraging them to take their medications and see a primary care provider, typically in a less costly outpatient care setting.
The labor department said there were 19,000 jobs added in the ambulatory care sector. By comparison, hospitals added just 8,000 jobs. And the nursing home sector actually contracted by losing 6,000 jobs.
As an example of the shift going on in health care, technology firms are benefiting as well as hospitals and other traditional medical care providers look to cloud-based platforms to help them manage populations of patients. Value-based care emphasizes health outcomes.
On Friday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said health technology company ZirMed, which helps hospitals manage populations of patients in part with predictive analytics and help with claims management, is openings its first Chicago office and would add 200 or more jobs, including “advanced healthcare technologists” to what it calls a “Healthcare Analytics Center of Excellence.”