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New York is rolling out a record-busting $10 billion multi-year investment to rebuild, grow, and strengthen the state’s healthcare workforce. This week, NY Governor Kathy Hochul said “We need to not just say we owe [healthcare workers] a debt of gratitude, but actually pay them the debt we owe,” as she announced a plan to pour billions into HCP wages and bonuses and workforce development to meet the increasing demand for healthcare professionals.

“Stop the current hemorrhaging of healthcare workers”

“From the very beginning of the pandemic, New York’s healthcare workers have been on the front lines,” Governor Hochul said in her announcement. “We must stop the current hemorrhaging of healthcare workers, and we need to not just say we owe them a debt of gratitude, but actually pay them the debt we owe. The health of every New Yorker depends on a strong, stable, and equitable healthcare system, and healthcare workers are its very foundation. With the largest ever investment in healthcare, we will retain, rebuild, and grow our healthcare workforce and ensure we deliver the highest quality healthcare for New Yorkers.”

The governor’s statement notes that the pandemic has impacted the experience of essential workers as well as access to high-quality care for New Yorkers. As of June 2021, New York’s healthcare workforce was still 3 percent below pre-pandemic levels, and 11 percent below where it would need to be by the end of 2022 to keep up with pre-pandemic projected demand.

5-Year plan to grow state’s healthcare workforce by 20%

New York’s essential health and human services workers have weathered a once-in-a-century public health crisis and turned the state into “a model for battling — and beating — COVID-19,” the governor said. However, she added that many of these workers are still earning a wage far below what they need to sustain a household and a fair quality of life.

See also
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The $10 billion investment is earmarked to grow New York’s healthcare workforce by 20 percent over the next 5 years. Key components of this multi-year investment include:

  • $2 billion to support healthcare wages
  • $2 billion to support healthcare and mental hygiene worker retention bonuses, with up to $3,000 bonuses going to full-time workers who remain in their positions for one year, and pro-rated bonuses for those working fewer hours
  • $500 million for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) to help raise wages for human services workers
  • $2 billion for healthcare capital infrastructure and improved lab capacity
  • Other investments in workforce and healthcare access and delivery

 

Massive investments in education and career growth for future nurses and HCPs

Expanding education and licensure opportunities for a diverse, skilled healthcare workforce are key parts of the agenda. The state plans to pump a substantial portion of the $10 billion into programs designed to increase access to healthcare training and education, bring NY to join the Nurse Licensure Compact, recruit health professionals to underserved areas, and strengthen home care.

These efforts include:

  • Increasing the Training Capacity of Medical Institutions: This initiative will cover the costs of new programs, provide compensation to allow workers to train full-time support staff (who help free up existing staff do more training), and the development of new training techniques.
  • Attracting Students into Healthcare by Relieving Their Financial Burdens: Governor Hochul will provide direct financial support for the education of healthcare professionals, provided that they work in New York State for a specified period after obtaining their credentials. The plan will offer free tuition, cover instructional costs for high-demand health occupations and provide stipends to make up for lost income while in school. It would also provide for wraparound services such as childcare or transportation support to eliminate obstacles that stand in the way of New Yorkers training for healthcare professions.
  • Awarding Prior Learning Credit Across SUNY and CUNY: As part of the Governor’s plan to make it easier for New Yorkers to move between college and career, the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY) will adopt a consistent, statewide policy for crediting relevant prior learning and work experience, supporting credit accumulation, certifications, and post-secondary attainment.
  • Recruiting Medical Professionals to Work in Underserved Areas: To recruit medical professionals to work in underserved areas, particularly in rural areas, New York State will:
    • Increase funding for the Doctors Across New York Program, providing loan forgiveness up to $120,000 for doctors who work in underserved areas for three years;
    • Create a “Nurses Across NY” Program based on the successful Doctors Across NY program, placing nurses in underserved areas across the state; and
    • Expand the SUNY Pre-Medical Opportunity Program and the Diversity in Medicine Program, recruiting and training a diverse healthcare workforce that represents the diversity of the patients in underserved communities to ensure health equity across the continuum of care.
  • Connect Immigrant New Yorkers to Direct Support Professions: State agencies will work with external partners to develop an apprenticeship job training program that provides new and existing immigrant workers with a career pathway in the workforce — addressing the gap in immigrant employment while filling more urgently needed direct support professions.
  • Urge New York Legislature to Join NLC: Governor Hochul will propose legislation for New York to join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact and the Nurse Licensure Compact. Joining these compacts will enable doctors and nurses to relocate to New York and use their existing license to more quickly be able to practice in the state through telehealth or otherwise, attracting more healthcare workers at a time of great need.
  • Expand Workforce Development Partnerships to Build a Human Services Talent Pipeline: To further strengthen the human services talent pipeline, Governor Hochul will use federal funds to:
    • Expand the Direct Support Professional Career and Technical Education Program to offer high school students the opportunity to become direct care workers; and
    • Expand the SUNY for All Partnership with OPWDD to all ten SUNY Educational Opportunity Centers statewide to offer a free training tool for direct support professionals to enhance their skills and help them enter, or advance, in the health and human services field.
  • Grow the Home and Community-Based Healthcare Workforce Through Benefits and Skills Development: Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, New York State has applied to the Federal government to spend $2.2 billion on 14 initiatives to strengthen our care workforce. These include:
    • Home Care Workforce Initiative: Enables home care agencies to implement evidence-based programs that help them to recruit, retain, train, and support their direct care workers.
    • Workforce Transportation Incentive: Solves transportation-related barriers related to home care worker recruitment and/or retention.
    • Enhanced Wages for the Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities Workforce: Provides longevity and retention incentives to direct support professionals.
    • Direct Support Professional Workforce Development Grants: Provides skills development for direct support professionals.
    • Workforce Recruitment Initiative: Implements data-driven strategies for effective recruitment of workers for OPWDD.
    • Community Residence Program: Increases funding for rising direct care staff costs.
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Original announcement can be found here.

Daily Nurse Staff
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