Health Care:

Adequacy of Pharmacy, Laboratory, and Radiology Workforce Supply Difficult to Determine

GAO-02-137R: Published: Oct 10, 2001. Publicly Released: Nov 13, 2001.

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Janet Heinrich
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Office of Public Affairs
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Concerns have been growing about the supply of health care workers and the future needs of an aging population. Shortages of nurses and nurse aides, the two largest categories of health care workers, are of particular concern. Although the number of pharmacists has grown during the past decade, the increasing demand for pharmacy services is outpacing the growth in supply, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Provider and professional associations have reported high vacancy rates and a decline in new entrants to the laboratory and radiologic fields. However, employment and earnings data for laboratory and radiologic technologists and technicians do not indicate a balance of supply and demand for these workers. Demographic changes, technological advances, and management decisions on how staff and technology are used will affect the future demand for health care workers.

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