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Strengthening California's Healthcare Workforce: Health Net Offers Expertise in Report

Date: 08/22/22

Better patient health outcomes are based on access to quality providers. Enhanced provider skills, culturally-centered care and greater workforce diversity are key to quality. This access is particularly critical today because California faces a shortage of doctors, nurses, physician assistants and other health care professionals. To address these issues, Health Net has invested nearly $4 million into workforce development initiatives.

While CalAIM is an innovative program to transform Medi-Cal, it's also a genius and targeted workforce development program. Through CalAIM, we have an opportunity to increase economic mobility of thousands of Californians and lift a new generation of workers from poverty. As a result of Health Net's statewide funding and partnerships, we have learned critical lessons – especially as it relates to the state's Medi-Cal population.

  1. The importance of identifying new talent pools: Health Net's grants demonstrate the positive impact engaging new talent pools – including community colleges and high schools in safety net counties – can have on not only clinic capacity, but also patient satisfaction.
    • Shifting recruitment to focus on engaging underrepresented professionals in traditionally underserved markets is key.
    • Mentors and mentorship programs play an important role in encouraging and inspiring the next generation of healthcare professionals.
  2. The need to provide upward mobility across levels: Retention of healthcare professionals, particularly entry level professionals, is key in addressing the workforce shortages. Providing opportunities to 'upskill' and designing career ladders for California's entire health workforce encourages retention and increases the availability of meaningful careers in communities across the state.
    • Providing opportunities for all healthcare professionals – from community health workers to physicians – to upskill and practice at the top of their scope increases clinic capacity, professional satisfaction and patient satisfaction.
    • The field of Medical Assistants is growing – and there's an opportunity to cross-train as health coaches and health educators for the medical care team.
    • Upskilling California's most vulnerable residents provides them the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty with good paying jobs that can create a better future for themselves and their families.
  3. The role of cultural competency training and recruitment: Almost every Health Net funded program reviewed included an element of – or was wholly focused on – cultural competency training and representative recruitment to enhance care to traditionally underserved communities, recruit underrepresented medical professionals and improve patient outcomes through the development of new roles/positions aims at addressing inequities.
    • Demand exists from both providers and patients for culturally competent care and a representative workforce.
    • Increased collaboration – including shared standards and best practices – among healthcare stakeholders (providers, educational institutions, CBOs, county systems and health departments) is critical to establishing the role of ‘health equity focused' professions moving forward.

Health Net is committed to continuing to collaborate and invest in the development of solutions that can help to reverse the workforce trend in California, build a stronger pipeline of qualified professionals and break down barriers to care for the most vulnerable patients.

Learn more about our recommendations and strategies to overcome workforce challenges in our Workforce Development Key Findings Report (PDF).

Last Updated: 08/22/2022