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Health care jobs among fastest-growing occupations in state
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Certain industries seem inherently fraught with political controversy. Big oil. Big pharma. Big government.

But maybe none riles so much partisan passion as the business of health care, particularly since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, colloquially and often derogatorily referred to as “Obamacare,” in 2010.

But no other industry also presents better job security today.

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth in the health care industry is expected to far outpace any other in the state of Georgia between 2012 and 2022.

Indeed, health care-related occupations dominate the list of fastest-growing jobs during that span, with advanced practitioners — physicians assistants, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives — all in the top 10.

Moreover, health care jobs account for about four in five of the top 25 fastest-growing occupations in the Peach State over the next seven years.

And evidence of this can be seen right here in Hall County.

“They’re all in very, very high demand,” said Mimi Collins, CEO of The Longstreet Clinic in Gainesville.

Collins said the clinic now employs about 70 full- and part-time advanced practitioners, up from just a handful when Longstreet opened about 20 years ago.

Moreover, with recent expansions to the clinic’s comprehensive care program, new openings in these positions remain available.

Advanced practitioners are also in high demand with the opening this spring of the new Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Braselton.

Gail Detraz, director of physician recruitment for the Northeast Georgia Health System, said the organization’s physician group, which includes advanced practitioners, has also grown recently at the hospital in Gainesville.

Detraz said the Affordable Care Act has “definitely” spurred job growth across the health care industry as a greater focus on and incentives for preventive care become the norm.

For Collins, growth in the industry, however, predates changes in national health care law, continuing a trend that began in the last decade.

“I think it’s been happening in the industry anyway,” she added.

Hall County seems to benefit from this growing industry in many ways, including the quality of lifestyle.

And as more and more well-trained and highly credentialed health care workers relocate here, that in turn spurs a larger and more qualified pool of applicants.

“It’s just a great place to recruit people to,” Collins said.