Emerging Occupations

By Himes, Douglas | Monthly Labor Review, March 1996 | Go to article overview
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Emerging Occupations


Himes, Douglas, Monthly Labor Review


The health and social services industries are, between them, the leading employers in 16 of the 25 emerging occupations identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics 1993 Occupational Employment Statistics survey. (See chart 1.) Emerging occupations may be entirely new or may be occupations in which employment increased from very low levels.

Health services jobs

Emerging health care management occupations were reported very frequently. Among these occupations are discharge coordinators and planners who arrange for medical care after a hospital stay and medical and mental health case managers who assess patient needs and develop plans to ensure that the patient receives appropriate care.

In addition, as more health care services are reimbursed by insurance or other third party payers, more people are needed to handle the paperwork. This has created a need for reimbursement specialists to process the forms necessary to receive payment; intake coordinators to process the paperwork necessary for admission of new patients and respond to inquiries from prospective patients; and medical coders to read medical documents and, using specialized software, code patient diagnostic and treatment data.

Health maintenance organizations (HMO's) continue to gain in popularity and to contract with more doctors, hospitals, laboratories, and clinics to provide services for their members. Occupations emerging from this trend are provider relations representatives to establish and maintain relations between health care providers and purchasers; and utilization review coordinators (nurses employed by HMO's) to assess the extent to which medical services are provided in compliance with established medical and financial standards, and who screen admissions for medical necessity.

Social services jobs

In the social services, emerging occupations often appear in the area where health care and social services intersect. (See exhibit 1.) For example, activity directors plan, coordinate, and supervise activities for groups in nursing homes, hospitals, residential care facilities, and senior citizen centers. Adult day care coordinators, adult day care directors, and adult day care supervisors coordinate and supervise day care for elderly persons in residential care facilities or senior citizen centers. Art and music therapists use these mediums in a physical or mental therapy program for disabled or emotionally disturbed persons, or for senior citizens or others in residential care settings.

Also in social services, bereavement counselors, bereavement coordinators, and bereavement followup workers provide grief counseling to families or individuals after the death of a loved one.

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