New Bill Looks To Combat Home Health Worker Shortages Via Public-Private Partnership

In a move to address the shortage of health care professionals, a new House bill — the Kentucky Healthcare Workforce Development Act — has been introduced in the state.

Broadly, the legislation aims to combat workforce shortages by building a public-private partnership that will increase workforce training and education initiatives.

“This bill kickstarts career paths for Kentuckians that are interested in a health care career,” the principal draftsman of the bill told Home Health Care News. “It puts a jetpack on the training pipeline for health care professions, for health care certification and licensure.”


The legislation would create the Kentucky Healthcare Workforce Investment Fund, which would be administered by the Council on Postsecondary Education. There are two primary programs under the fund.

The first program is a matching fund. This means that each dollar a private-sector partner put up would be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis by an educational program in order to fund scholarships for health care professionals. The professions covered include registered nurses, LPNs and nurse aides, which is notable for the home health sector.

The second program is meant to reward excellence among health care educational and training programs with some benchmarks and measurements. For instance, graduation rate.


“The unique aspect here is this allows private entities to contribute and get matched funds by the state,” Evan Reinhardt, executive director of the Kentucky Home Care Association, told HHCN. “I think that leverage puts this on a whole new level. That’s one of the biggest opportunities here, particularly for home health.”

The Kentucky Home Care Association is an association comprised of home-based care providers operating in the state.

The association is just one of the many health care organizations that has thrown its support behind this legislation. So far, the Kentucky Hospital Association, the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities and the Kentucky Nurses’ Association have also championed the bill.

On its end, the Kentucky Home Care Association will be ramping up its advocacy efforts in support of the legislation.

“The way the legislative session works here in Kentucky is that they come in for a short time in early January, and then last week was their first week back in,” Reinhardt said. “This is really the first chance we’ve had to get some public momentum going. We’ll be drumming up the grassroots efforts, we’ll be having our people reach out to their representatives and their senators to make sure that this is a top priority for everyone.”

Reinhardt believes that the focus on training and education is key because it allows for the direct development of the workforce.

“We need folks with clinical expertise, with charting expertise, and those kinds of things to be able to jumpstart them into the industry,” he said. “That’s where we see an opportunity here, not only to have the funding, but also maybe to create some situations where that exposure can happen earlier and more often.”

While the legislation is only happening at the state level, the optimal impact in its supporters minds’ would be for this to trigger a federal equivalent.

“There are members of Congress in both chambers, and in leadership positions, that are aware of this legislation that would like to consider how it could be implemented nationally,” the principal draftsman said.

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