Medical Providers Hope to Keep State Budget Writers' Focus on Workforce Shortage

May 6, 2019

Republican state senator Jeb Bradley speaks in support of Senate Bill 308 on Monday.
Credit Jason Moon / NHPR

A group of medical providers, patients, and lawmakers gathered in front of the State House Monday in support of a bill designed to address a shortage of health care workers in New Hampshire.

The coalition is backing a bill currently in the Senate that would add state money to health care training programs, increase Medicaid reimbursement rates, and streamline the background check process for health care workers, among other things.

Pete Evers with Riverbend Community Mental Health Center was among those who spoke to the crowd.

“There are 2,000 vacancies in health care in New Hampshire. 240 of those mostly clinical positions are in the community mental health system,” said Evers.

The gathering was also a chance to highlight the proposal’s bipartisan support. Democratic Senator Cindy Rosenwald and Republican Senator Jeb Bradley took turns speaking in support of the proposal.

“The fact that there are some 2,000 unfilled vacancies is a very significant issue that our state faces,” said Bradley.

The bill has already passed the New Hampshire Senate, but the final dollar amount the state spends will be up to budget writers in both chambers.

Altogether, the proposals included in the bill could increase spending by close to $120 million over the next two years.