I would like to bring to your attention two recent studies authored by Joanne Spetz, a health economist at the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).
- Has Managed Care Affected the Availability of Medical Technology?
In this PPIC report, Spetz and co-author Laurence Baker examine the relationship between managed care and the availability of medical technology in California. While HMOs have been credited with reducing the growth of health care expenditures during the 1990s, many experts doubt whether such growth will remain low, especially if the industry is unable to control one of the most important drivers of long-term costs – the development of new technologies and their introduction into medical practice.
The results of the study appear to support this concern. The authors find that managed care has not slowed the overall diffusion of medical technology.
- Maintaining an Adequate Supply of RNs in California
There is growing concern among medical professionals about a potential shortage of RNs in California. Nurse leaders have called upon the state legislature to respond to this situation by increasing funding for RN education programs at public colleges and universities. Assemblyman Jack Scott (D-Altadena) has introduced AB 655, a bill which would require CSU and UC leaders to issue a report detailing a plan and budget for significantly increasing the number of students graduating from nursing programs.
Spetz and co-author Janet Coffman find convincing evidence that California faces a serious shortage of RNs. They conclude that the approaching shortage is too large for the RN labor market to resolve and suggest that state government provide additional resources for basic RN education programs. The article has been accepted for publication by Image: Journal of Nursing Scholarship.