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The lack of jobs in Hawaii drives graduates away, which could hurt future demand

Scotty Okura, a registered nurse in the emergency department, and fellow registered nurse Michelle Miller go through a supply checklist in the Queen’s Medical Center emergency room.New nurses in Hawaii are finding it difficult to land jobs in their field despite increasing demand for medical services.

The tight employment market has left many registered nurses working in lower-level health care positions such as nurse aides or medical secretaries as a way to gain experience.

As Hawaii's population ages, health officials say eventually this nurse surplus could turn into a shortage as some graduates who can't find jobs move to the mainland or get out of the profession altogether.


A prominent researcher from the National Institutes of Health once told me that the best health care is "everything I choose to prescribe, order and do for my patients," according to physicians; "everything my doctor orders and everything I want," the patient's standpoint; and "as little as possible without breaking the law or losing market share" when it comes to the insurance company. The tension among these vantage points is further aggravated because neither the social, political nor medical culture of the United States has come to terms with the fact that there are insufficient resources to purchase all the health care money can buy for every citizen.

Physicians’ financial data under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, also known as the “Open Payments” program, will be released to the public Tuesday. While your data might not make it into the local news, chances are your patients or others you know will ask you about it. Learn the three common questions you’ll hear—and how to answer them.

Physicians despair over having no say in what they’re paid by programs or insurers

coming-up-short2While Hawaii doctors get paid slightly more than the national average, the state has the third-highest cost of living, making it difficult to attract and retain physicians, according to the Hawaii Medical Association.

Hawaii has the 22nd-highest average Medicare payment for an office visit at $77.86, compared with the national average of $72.81, according to an HMA analysis of Medicare reimbursements in 87 regions.

HAWAIITOP1It pays to be an internist in Hawaii.

Not so much, though, if you're a retail salesperson.

Internists in the state average $111.32 an hour and make an average $231,550 a year, according to the Occupational Employment and Wages in Hawai‘i 2013 report issued Wednesday by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

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