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Here’s what Georgia is doing about the health care worker shortage


Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order Thursday creating a task force to look for ways to grow the ranks of Georgia’s health-care workforce.

The 15-member Healthcare Workforce Commission will focus on shortages plaguing a wide range of health-care professions including physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and emergency medical personnel.

Kemp’s executive order cites the pandemic as a contributor to a health-care workforce shortage that existed before COVID-19 struck two years ago.

“Our health-care heroes have been through it all during the pandemic, and we thank them immensely for the sacrifices made and dedication shown,” the governor said. “To ensure the future health of Georgians and Georgia’s health-care system, it is imperative for the public and private sector to come together and examine current needs and identify strategies for workforce recruitment and retention.”

Shortages among Georgia’s health-care workforce have long been on the radar screens of state policy makers. Most recently, the mental health system overhaul the General Assembly passed unanimously late last month includes a service-cancelable loan program offering loan forgiveness to several types of mental-health specialists.

The new commission will work to develop strategies for retaining the state’s current health-care workforce as well as expanding education initiatives – including scholarship and loan forgiveness programs – to build up the pipeline that feeds new workers into the system.

The panel will be chaired by the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Health and include representatives of doctors, nurses, emergency medical responders, mental health-care workers, long-term care workers, health-care educators and the hospital industry.

The executive order calls for the commission to issue recommendations by the end of December.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

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