Call to Action , SB 308 (healthcare workforce crisis)
Senate Finance Committee or your Senator
State House, Room 103
107 N Main St
Concord, NH 03301
Re: Health Care Workforce Budget, SB 308
Dear Chairman D'Allesandro and Honorable Members of the Committee: or your Senator
As an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) I have seen firsthand the impact of our health care workforce shortages in New Hampshire. Can briefly describe relevant experience here.
New Hampshire’s economy is remarkably strong, with historic revenue estimates and a record low unemployment rate. At the same time, a workforce shortage is slowing the state’s economic potential, jeopardizing the ability of our businesses (both profit and not-for-profit) to thrive, fulfill their missions, and serve those in need. This workforce shortage is most prominent in health care, where a lack of clinicians and direct care providers limits Granite Staters’ access to services, causing a rationing of needed care and added health care costs system wide. In 2019, the Granite State is uniquely positioned to invest in recruiting, retaining, and advancing our health care workforce. Therefore, the NH Nurse Practitioner Association is asking the Senate Finance Committee to fund a budget that keeps NH healthy and thriving economically by investing in our health care workforce.
New Hampshire does not have the workforce to meet either the current health care needs of our residents or the State’s goal of truly integrating primary care, behavioral health, substance use disorder treatment, and oral health. The findings on vacancies across Granite State health care organizations are startling, with over 2,000 vacancies across New Hampshire that are preventing quality care. But by investing in our health care workforce, you are incentivizing students to seek health care degrees and remain in New Hampshire upon graduation; remove career advancement barriers for our dedicated direct care providers; and equip health care organizations with the tools necessary to secure skilled clinicians.
Our goal is to build a strong consensus in both state government and the legislature to put health care workforce issues at the top of the agenda and we hope that you will support a budget that funds a systematic approach to addressing our health care workforce crisis.
Please Invest in our Health Care Workforce by supporting the legislative package in SB 308.
New Hampshire Health Care Workforce Coalition
TOPLINE MESSAGE: New Hampshire’s health care workforce shortage costs Granite Staters access to lifesaving care and puts an unnecessary burden on New Hampshire’s economy.
Overall, in May 2017, New Hampshire had just 2.7% unemployment. With such low unemployment, businesses struggle to fill vacant positions because there is a lack of qualified candidates. This challenge is overwhelming in NH’s health care industry.
There are currently hundreds of unfilled positions for clinicians in New Hampshire’s hospitals, Community Health Centers, Community Mental Health Centers, and nursing homes.
In Community Mental Health Centers, there are 217 clinical vacancies, and the vacancy rate has grown over 20% in the past 24 months. In Community Health Centers, there are over 50 primary care vacancies.
Research shows that over the next 8 years, New Hampshire will need an additional 12,000 nurses alone. However, our current nursing programs at NH colleges and universities fall well short of meeting that need.
Clinical vacancies lead to longer wait times, staff under additional pressure, and backups in emergency departments, all of which prevent Granite Staters from getting the care that they need.
When New Hampshire residents don’t get necessary health care, it puts a burden on our economy. For example, untreated substance misuse costs our economy over $2 billion every year in lost worker productivity, decreased participation in the labor force, and criminal justice costs, among others.
- Something needs to be done about our health care workforce shortage. Some steps we can take forward as a state include:
- Investing in the State Loan Repayment Program
- Medicaid rate increases
- Administrative relief for health care providers
- Reforming the Medicaid “spend down” system
- Expanding access to telehealth services
- Implementing an online background check system for new employees
- Investing in residency programs
- Supporting the health care pipeline
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