News // March 19, 2014

University of Phoenix Forum Highlights Career Opportunities Made Possible by Health Care Reform

They showed up on an early Saturday morning for different reasons, but on March 15, 2014, nearly 100 people came to a special forum to learn about health care reform. Hosted by the University of Phoenix, School of Health Sciences and Nursing, “The Future of Health Care: Making Sense of Health Care Reform,” featured top-notch experts on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with a focus on real-world implications for physicians and nurses, businesses, employers and students looking for careers.

“Health care jobs are replacing the factory jobs of old,” said Nathan Aish, Lead Faculty Member of Health Care Services courses at Phoenix, and Co-Host of THRIVEcast, an internet radio station with a focus on social and emotional wellness and discovery for families and youth. Aish added; “To a great extent, the future economy will be about people helping people get healthy.” Aish was the faculty presenter at a well-attended session on the ACA and the health care job market.

He described multiple job opportunities, including: workforce wellness programs in which expertise in biometrics and incentivizing wellness is needed; federally qualified health clinics, accountable care organizations and person-centered medical homes where there will be more patients to serve; and alternative settings where health care services will now be offered, such as in schools and through peer groups. Also, Aish said the new “parity” for mental health care means a focus on “trauma” as key contributor to physical and health challenges. Also, there are new career opportunities in technological innovations such as the electronic health records and telemedicine.

Some participants came for CEUs (Continuing Education Credits), others because they are interested in a career change, and still others are small business owners who wanted to know how they would be affected by changes in the law.
“I loved the diversity of topics and I love the fact there are so many new things happening in the field because of the ACA,” said Marie Smith, who is an registered nurse now seeking a BS in nursing. Kasey Kirchner, an X-Ray Technician at Balboa Hospital and student, said he “really appreciated learning about the real-life implications of health care reform” and said he found it important to come even though he already has enough CPEs. Another participant said he had a career in the military, and then he worked in law enforcement, and now he is looking forward to a new career in health care.

Other emerging issues such as the implications of the ACA for employers; physicians, nurses and hospitals; and mental health issues were all explored in different sessions. The vital role that sharing data can play in reducing costs and improving care were illustrated by another speaker, Dr. Rich Swafford, Executive Director of Inland Empire Health Information Exchange. He told the story of a drug-seeking patient getting 30 screenings over a 60 day period because there was no sharing of data between hospitals—as a result, the patient not only got multiple prescriptions of Vicodin but was also exposed to high levels of radiation and cost an enormous amount to the insurance provider.

Participants also learned about the Live Well San Diego initiative as many visited a display of materials and visited the website which was on display. Bayside Community Center staff also attended, advising participants about how to sign up for health care insurance with the March 31st enrollment deadline only days away.