Quiet Progress on the Med Tech Supply Crisis

QUIETLY, WITHOUT MUCH FANFARE, a growing number of laboratory administrators and pathologists are taking action to increase the supply of med techs in their community. It’s the unpublicized response to the headlines about the impending mass retirement of baby-boomer MTs and MLTs.

This is a noteworthy story and THE DARK REPORT is proud, once again, to be first to provide useful intelligence about an emerging trend, along with effective management strategies you can use in your own lab to address this same problem. We’ve devoted most of this issue to the strategic initiatives lab administrators are using to recruit and train more med techs for their lab and their community.

There’s been plenty of publicity about the growing shortage of med techs. The situation facing Intermountain Healthcare of Utah is typical. It operates 21 hospitals in Utah and Idaho. Recently its Director of Laboratories, Steve Miller, told our editor that 25% of his existing laboratory techs are eligible for retirement over the next five years. Meanwhile, even if Intermountain could successfully recruit and hire 100% of graduating med techs in Utah each year, it would only fill 25% of those vacancies as they occurred. This situation is typical. Many other lab directors tell THE DARK REPORT they face a similar situation in their laboratory.

On page five, you will read about some interesting reasons behind the drop-off in annual med tech certifications. We also bring you two stories about labs like yours. In both cases, lab administrators made their case to hospital CEOs and obtained substantial funding and other resources to help recruit and train med techs. These two stories are representative of others that we hear about daily. Both successes, in Eugene, Oregon and San Francisco, California, demonstrate that hospital CEOs will provide adequate funds to help resolve the problem—but only if lab directors do their homework first and provide detailed information about the management steps and budgets required to increase the supply of med techs.

I’d like to add another important observation. The Eugene and San Francisco stories are not exceptional. Similar efforts are underway in almost every city. It is an example of free market economics at work. Individual labs are taking steps to expand the supply of med techs in their community. Collectively, these actions will bear fruit long before policy-makers and legislators get around to tackling the problem.


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