Analysts predict impending shortages in the health care workforce, yet wages for health care workers already account for over half of U.S. health expenditures. It is thus increasingly important to adequately plan to meet health workforce demand at reasonable cost. Using infinite linear programming methodology, we propose an infinite-horizon model for health workforce planning in a large health system for a single worker class, e.g. nurses. We give a series of common-sense conditions any system of this kind should satisfy, and use them to prove the optimality of a natural lookahead policy. We then use real-world data to examine how such policies perform in more complex systems with additional detail.
Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering University of Southern California 3715 McClintock Avenue GER 240, Los Angeles, California 90089 May, 2013