Is There a Healthcare Worker Shortage in Montana?

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There’s a shortage of healthcare workers across the U.S. and Montana hasn’t escaped the problem. Especially in rural areas, there is demand for all kinds of healthcare workers. In fact, 51 of the 56 counties in Montana are designated as “health professional shortage areas (HPSA).” For a variety of reasons, Montana lacks enough well-trained healthcare professionals to fill the gap. The Global pandemic may have ignited the crisis, but the shortage shows no signs of abating. What’s going on?

Montana Baby Boomers Need More Care

Montana is one of the most rapidly aging states in the country. It’s estimated that more than 30 percent of Montana’s population will be over age 60 by 2030. As Baby Boomers age, their need for medical care will increase. That means the need for medical workers, including medical assistants, will increase too. In Montana alone, Baby Boomers compose almost 20% of the state’s population.

The Montana Workforce is Retiring 

It isn’t just the general population that’s aging in Montana—it’s the workforce too. According to the Montana Hospital Association, the healthcare workforce in the state is among the fastest aging groups in the U.S. Many healthcare professionals have retired or are heading in that direction soon. There are more open positions that need to be filled by younger workers. Some medical workers have also expressed high levels of burnout recently. The number of healthcare workers is projected to decline further over the next year. According to a recent study from Elsevier, 47% of healthcare workers say they plan to leave the profession by 2025.

Montana Is Medically Underserved

Most of Montana’s counties have been designated as HPSAs, but they’re also designated as MUAs, or medically underserved areas. This means there’s a shortage of primary healthcare services in an entire county, group of counties, urban census tracts, or civil divisions. This is reflected in the state’s employment statistics for healthcare workers. For example, the number of medical assistants employed across the state is 1,920, but the state’s population is over 1.1 million. With so few workers for such a large population, the need for healthcare professionals in the state is apparent. 

Can you help tackle the healthcare shortage? If you want a career where you can make a difference in the lives of others, consider joining the healthcare workforce. At Charter College, we provide a variety of healthcare training programs in Billings, Montana. Consider training to become a Medical Assistant. You can complete the program in as few 10 months and be on your way to a rewarding healthcare career. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.