NEW YORK — The number of hospital workers on the brink of losing their jobs as a result of the opioid crisis has more than doubled in the past year, according to a new report.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported Wednesday that it expects a total of 1,932 nursing assistant positions to be lost by the end of the year.
About 2,600 new nursing assistants will join the ranks by the start of the new year, the agency said.
Nurses and physician assistants have been the first to lose their jobs and are expected to be the hardest hit.
Since the opioid epidemic first hit, there has been a steady decline in nursing assistants, which accounts for nearly half of the job openings in the hospital system.
But that decline has been reversed, according the CMS report.
The number of nursing assistant openings increased by 7.9 percent to 4,832, and that of physician assistants increased by 1.4 percent to 2,065.
Among the other occupations that have seen increases are certified nursing assistants (CNA), nurse practitioners, nursing technicians and registered nurses, the report said.
Nursing assistant positions are one of three occupations in which the average pay has been rising over the past decade.
Another two of the three are pharmacy technicians, which is the fastest growing occupation.
The other two are home health aides and physician aides, which are also rising.