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Shortage of Health Care Workers to be Discussed Feb. 15

FEBRUARY 15th WORKSHOP TO EDUCATE LEGISLATORS, STAFF AND HEALTH ADVOCATES ON SHORTAGES IN STAFFING IN HEALTH CARE AND POSSIBLE LEGISLATIVE SOLUTIONS ~ Alaska faces a public health crisis without legislative intervention ~ ANCHORAGE, AK – Legislators, staff, health advocates and the public are invited to participate in a workshop Monday, February 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to discuss Alaska’s current shortage of health care professionals and possible solutions of attracting more health care workers to the state. The workshop will be held in Conference Room One of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, 4000 Ambassador Drive in Anchorage. Presented by Alice Rarig, Ph.D., and Robert Sewell, Ph.D. of the Alaska Department Health and Social Services, Evangeline Dotomain of the Alaska Native Health Board and Shelley Hughes of the Alaska Primary Care Association, the morning workshop will provide an overview of Alaska’s current shortage of health care professionals by occupational group and possible support-for-service strategies. Dotomain and Hughes will also discuss Senate Bill 139, which was introduced by Sen. Donny Olson. SB 139 is “An Act establishing a loan repayment program and employment incentive program for certain health care professionals employed in the state.” The afternoon session on advocacy strategies will be facilitated by Sheila Soule of the University of Alaska and Pat Luby of AARP Alaska. WHAT: “Solutions to get and keep health care professional in Alaska” A workshop on the shortage of Alaska’s health care workforce and possible legislative solutions WHEN: Monday, February 15, 2010, 10:00 am – 1:30 pm WHERE: Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, 4000 Ambassador Drive, Anchorage, Conference Room One NOTES: Teleconference available 1-866-723-6485; pass code 916-8135; Free brunch available A 2009 study by Alaska Center for Rural Health found among vacancy rates across all occupational health care areas with the majority of vacancies in the double digits. In rural areas, vacancy rates ranged from 10% for dentists to 35% for physical therapists. “If we don’t address the serious problem now, we’ll be faced with a crisis before long,” said Shelley Hughes, Government Affairs Director for the Alaska Primary Care Association. “We simply cannot compete with the Lower 48 presently when it comes to recruitment; we’re losing candidates for job openings to other states on a weekly basis. This workshop will help educate concerned Alaskans and policymakers about the shortage problem and the best strategies we can employ to work toward a resolution.” Sponsors of the workshop include: Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, Alaska Primary Care Association, Alaska Pharmacist Association and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.

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