Home Health care provider Gillibrand calls for increased funding to alleviate shortage of healthcare workers

Gillibrand calls for increased funding to alleviate shortage of healthcare workers

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Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is looking to increase funding to help train the next generation of healthcare professionals, including those from generally underserved communities, amid a growing shortage of healthcare workers exacerbated by the pandemic.

Gillibrand wrote to Senate leaders on Monday asking lawmakers to increase funding by at least $ 20 million, for a total of $ 67 million, in FY2022 spending bills for the program. Area Health Education Center.

The 250 AHEC programs nationwide, including one that serves Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn, recruit, train and retain a diverse group of young aspiring healthcare professionals from college to college, proving educational assistance, financial aid , mentoring and internships.

In a Monday press conference at Stony Brook University, Gillibrand said, “Over the past year and a half, our healthcare system and our healthcare providers have been at historic levels of stress. They have worked day and night at greater risk than ever before to meet the growing demand for health care and to keep fellow New Yorkers healthy. They are in desperate need of reinforcements. The staff are physically and emotionally exhausted.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the country struggled to fill a growing shortage of doctors and nurses. The pandemic has exasperated this crisis, experts said, with a projected nationwide deficit of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034, while New York alone could be short of more than 39,000 registered nurses d ‘by 2030.

This shortage, officials said, now extends to physiotherapists and occupational therapists, pharmacists, social workers, medical assistants and speech language pathologists.

But the pandemic has also revealed disparities in health care outcomes, with a higher proportion of blacks and Hispanics succumbing to the virus.

Creating a culturally and ethnically diverse health workforce could improve these outcomes, said Stacy Jaffee Gropack, dean of the School of Health Technology and Management at Stony Brook University.

“It is important to recognize that diversity extends to patient care outcomes,” said Gropack. “Minority patients have greater acceptance and confidence in the care of practitioners who are of the same race and ethnicity.”

There are three regional centers and nine AHECs located across the state. During the pandemic, the Brooklyn-Queens-Long Island AHEC launched a virtual program to train young people in homebound elderly surveillance and immunizations, said Gabrielle Kersaint, executive director of the facility.

“We are committed to increasing the diversity of the health professions by increasing access and opportunities for underserved and under-represented students,” said Kersaint.

Other factors are causing a shortage of manpower in the health sector. This month, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that 3% of workers – nearly 34,000 statewide – in hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies and adult care facilities were forced to quit their jobs after refusing to be vaccinated against COVID.

While the vaccine’s mandate has exacerbated an already growing shortage in many health careers, Gillibrand said the requirement would save lives.

“It is the wisest choice,” she said.

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