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State Workforce Policy and Planning

  • Overview


Successful health reform requires having the necessary health workforce to deliver the array of services and care that patients and consumers need.  Many policies and programs are in place to help Illinois have the needed pipeline of workers and, to incentivize health professionals and paraprofessionals to work in the fields and communities where they are needed.  As Illinois’ health system prepares to ensure access to care following the enrollment of hundreds of thousands of people under the Affordable Care Act in both Medicaid and Marketplace plans, implement managed care and care coordination plans, and moves toward patient-centered and interdisciplinary care, a special focus on health workforce is essential.  Furthermore addressing Illinois’ long-term problem of significant numbers of health professionals shortage areas (HSPAs) is critical to address.

Health & Medicine has helped in the identification of health and health system challenges  through stakeholder engagement, research, and hosting forums focused on a variety of health reform issues, including the health workforce.  Over the last year, Health & Medicine has produced a significant number of research briefs to help advance health workforce development in the State.  We have also worked with several State agencies and other stakeholders on a number of health system planning efforts, including serving on the Illinois Workforce Investment Board heath care workforce committee, the Illinois Department of Public Health workforce core group, and the Governor’s Office of Health Innovation and Transformation Health Workforce Workgroup which is drafting workforce recommendations for the State’s health reform implementation plan..  Health & Medicine thanks the Chicago Community Trust and Illinois Department of Public Health for supporting this research and other work to engage stakeholders in identifying both obstacles and solutions. 

Below is a list of research briefs and links to PDFs of recent health workforce research briefs that Health & Medicine has produced.  The second list includes links to recent Illinois health reform planning documents that are focused specifically on health workforce, or are broader and include workforce initiatives.  Health & Medicine played a significant role in producing the research and plans in that list, and it provides further context for the first list of research briefs.  The health workforce planning efforts are often focused on improved collection and use of data, changing incentives to match the State’s needs, and providing resources to improve the health workforce, all plans that we think most stakeholders and decision-makers will see as commonsense solutions.

Report Release: Efficient Health Workforce Data Collection in Illinois

Illinois has seen large gains in health insurance coverage in recent years, and in the diversity of its population; however, the State has significant shortages of different types of health professionals in many parts of the state, which can limit healthcare access. Illinois does not systematically track data on its health workforce, and has an outdated and inefficient approach to collecting data on the providers in the state. The current license renewal data collection is inadequate for determining health professionals’ practice locations, amount of time in practice at each location, and the diversity of the health workforce.

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group recommends that Illinois collect and analyze detailed information during the license renewal process for all health professionals through a policy change made to each health profession’s practice act. Efficient data collection at the point of license renewal will: 1) minimize the administrative burden of data collection; 2) systematically and efficiently collect data on more factors than are currently collected; and 3) help ensure data-informed, strategic health workforce investments. To read the full recommendation and policy brief on this issue, click here.

Recent Health Workforce Research Briefs by Health & Medicine

Recent Illinois State Workforce Planning Documents