Since its formation during the 2014 Legislative Session, the Legislative Health Care Workforce Commission has been studying how Minnesota could strengthen the workforce in the health delivery system. Specifically, the Commission was tasked with identifying shortages, evaluating the effectiveness of current incentives, developing alternative incentives, and providing solutions to identified growth barriers. The Commission also looked at the shortages experienced in the long-term care industry.
The Health, Human Services, and Housing Committee heard testimony this week on S.F. 590, which seeks to address the issues that the long-term care industry has in attracting, retaining, and training its workforce. First, the bill expands eligibility for the Rural Health Loan Forgiveness Program by reducing the minimum service obligation from three years to two years for nurses.
The language revives the nursing facility scholarship program and expands coverage to reimburse newly hired nurses for their educational expenses, including child care and transportation costs. The bill provides an increase to help pay for nursing assistant training, and implements initiatives within the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) that seek to advance careers in long-term care.
The bill was referred to the Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. (S.F. 590)