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Jersey City Medical Center- Improving Health Care Delivery by Investing in Frontline Workers

National Fund for Workforce SolutionsToday's guest post is by Fred Dedrick, Executive Director, National Fund for Workforce Solutions.  I spoke with Fred a few years back about the National Fund.  You can listen in on that podcast here.  The National fund for Workforce Solutions  is focused on finding effective new ways to prepare low wage workers for careers that can support them and their families. Read on to learn how Jersey City Medical Center is investing in their frontline workers.

The American health care market is reinventing itself. Catalyzed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aging patient populations, a spike in mergers and acquisitions, workforce shortages, and a host of other factors, health care providers are fundamentally altering their business approach to raise clinical outcomes and patient experiences while also reducing error rates and unnecessary costs. Faced with the dual pressure to reduce cost and raise performance, many health care organizations are investing in their frontline workers to make their organizations more responsive, flexible, and efficient.

A national movement of health care providers working to train their frontline workers is starting, and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions has partnered with hundreds of health care organizations in dozens of industry partnerships to support and expand training and education for frontline workers. These providers are partnering with community organizations, community colleges, and each other to make major investments in their communities' health care workforce, and they are seeing significant returns to those investments. A leader in this movement is Jersey City Medical Center-Barnabas Health (JCMC) working with CareerWorks: the Greater Newark Workforce Funders Collaborative to invest in its frontline employees.

In order to fill critical positions ranging from medical assistants to patient transporters, JCMC has developed a network of learning and advancement opportunities designed to help frontline workers cultivate new skills, perform their roles more effectively, and expand into new positions. Hundreds of employees have participated in training programs and nearly 40 frontline workers have been promoted to advanced positions with expanded responsibilities and a $5,000 - 8,000 raise. At JCMC's core is an effort to build an “engaged employee and physician workforce.” JCMC's leadership believes that its career ladder-training programs adds critical value by creating a talent pipeline of confident and well-trained workers who are performing professionally and efficiently in billing departments, at patients' bedsides, and in emergency medical teams. By investing in their frontline workforce, JCMC is investing in its success. More skilled, responsive, and flexible workers allow JCMC to handle patients more professionally and effectively and therefore stay competitive in today's chaotic and evolving health care market.

For more information on how Jersey City Medical Center is transforming its quality of care by advancing its employees, see the recent CareerSTAT report Building Career Ladders in the Age of the Affordable Care Act

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