Gov. Mills announces $14 million plan to strengthen health care workforce

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) – Governor Janet Mills is launching a four-pronged effort to bolster Maine’s well being care workforce. The multi-million greenback marketing campaign is the most recent funding from the Maine Jobs & Restoration Plan, which is federally funded by the American Restoration Plan.

Pushed by each a retiring workforce and an getting older inhabitants, Maine’s scarcity of well being care staff was a difficulty previous to COVID-19.

The pandemic solely made it worse.

“I can’t say sufficient how inspiring these well being care heroes are. However like different hospitals within the state, our workers is stretched skinny. It’s been all fingers on deck for 19 months,” mentioned Chuck Hays, President and CEO of MaineGeneral Well being & MaineGeneral Medical Middle.

On Monday, the Mills Administration introduced $14 million in new initiatives to deal with the workforce scarcity.

“To make it extra reasonably priced for Maine individuals to pursue well being care jobs, we plan to take a position $4 million in scholarships and scholar mortgage reduction,” Gov. Mills mentioned at Monday’s information convention. “To encourage present well being care staff to maneuver up the profession ladder, we’ll make investments $8.5 million to make coaching for brand spanking new abilities and new credentials cost-free.”

The opposite initiatives embrace a $1.5 million advertising marketing campaign, and $600,000 to launch Maine’s Well being Care Profession Navigators, a brand new service to information these eager about well being care to a job that’s the correct match.

“With these initiatives, we need to make it simpler and extra reasonably priced for individuals, particularly younger individuals, to pursue careers in well being care, transfer up the profession ladder into greater paying jobs, understanding that these jobs present a rewarding alternative to do life-saving work, and make a very good wage with advantages on the identical time,” mentioned Gov. Mills.

Well being care executives who spoke at Monday’s press convention are optimistic these steps information Maine in the correct route.

“This funding offers well being care suppliers a much-needed increase of hope,” mentioned Darcy Shargo, Maine Major Care Affiliation CEO.

“These are vital first steps in addressing Maine’s well being care scarcity,” mentioned Angela Westhoff, President and CEO of the Maine Well being Care Affiliation. “Because the pandemic continues, it’s critically vital that we work collaboratively to deal with these challenges and implement brief and long run methods to recruit and retain our caregivers.”

Republican State Consultant Joshua Morris of Turner responded to Mills’ plan Monday. His assertion says:

“This plan is a partial long-term answer at finest. My constituents are going through much less entry to well being care proper this second, and this announcement does nothing to deal with that. It’s time for Governor Mills to face actuality: we’ve got an issue now and she or he has the flexibility to repair it now. We’ve individuals certified and able to work now, and her mandate is the one factor that stands in the best way. She must put her partisan ideology apart and get again to enthusiastic about the scared Mainers making an attempt to entry healthcare throughout this state.”

That reference is to the well being care employee COVID-19 vaccine mandate which the state will start implementing Friday.

Copyright 2021 WABI. All rights reserved.

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