As the health care industry grows, due to the aging of the baby boomers, funding has been proposed in order to decrease the effect of healthcare worker and nursing shortages. The United States Labor Secretary, Hilda Stolis, has declared the government’s plans to release 220 million dollars of federal stimulus funds to training programs for workers in the medical industry.
The Labor Secretary revealed plans to stimulate the economy with the bill’s funds while touring the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas and the Shawnee County Community Health Care Clinic in Topeka. These medical centers represent one of the areas hardest hit by the nursing and healthcare worker shortage, as rural areas have difficulty recruiting and retaining workers.
Economists often consider the medical industry recession-proof. There will always be a need for nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers; healthcare is not a luxury that can be put aside in hard times. With baby boomers aging and needing further medical care, the need for these workers will only increase and even with the increased acceptance of online nursing degree programs, the industry still needs help. The Labor Department aims to take advantage of this medical necessity by providing unlucky workers with a chance to start over in a field that is both lucrative and necessary.
While viewing the Kansas medical centers that will be among those improved by the funds from the healthcare training stimulus bill, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis routinely referred to President Barack Obama’s planned healthcare reform bill, that he hopes to make through Congress this summer. This healthcare training fund is a forerunner to those that will follow the President’s bill.
Healthcare reforms bills are particularly important in these difficult to staff rural areas. Training healthcare workers provides an ample job market for the unemployed, and will also help areas like Detroit that have been hard hit due to the changes in the auto industry. More than ten percent of the funds have been earmarked for areas suffering from unemployment as a consequence of auto industry restructuring.
The remainder of the money will to go fund groups that train nurses, workers in medical informatics, allied health careers and hospice care, in both the public and private sectors. More than half of the bill will be used for healthcare projects, with the remainder put towards medical technology and other miscellaneous items. The Labor Department hopes that private donors and foundations will attempt to meet and exceed the funds provided by the stimulus bill, bringing even more money towards health care training programs.
The Labor Department hopes to begin dispersing funds to worthy applicants in the next couple months, with further grants passed out by the end of 2009. Hospitals and departments with training programs already in effect can apply for funds from this stimulus bill through the Labor Department. There is an emphasis on currently effective training programs, so groups that are active now stand a better chance of being selected for stimulus funds than those started after the stimulus was put into effect.