1. Nursing Faculty Fellows Program
The Subcommittee on Healthcare Workforce recommends that the House Select Committee on Health Care encourage the General Assembly to enact the Subcommittee's Proposed Committee Substitute for House Bill 1718 Nursing Faculty Fellows Program/Funds, which establishes a scholarship loan program enabling recipients to become full-time nursing teaching faculty.
North Carolina is suffering from a nurse shortage. The problem isn't a lack of nursing school applicants—there are long waiting lists. The problem is lack of faculty. The proposed legislation establishes a Fellows Program to be administered by the North Carolina Nursing Scholars Commission. The program's purpose would be "to provide up to a two-year scholarship loan [$8,000 per year] to selected recipients and extracurricular enhancement activities for scholarship loan recipients." The money would go to "only the best" candidates to become nursing school faculty. If the candidate finishes the necessary education to become faculty and then becomes faculty, the loan may be forgiven. There would be 50 scholarships offered in the next year.
2. Support NC NOVA
The Subcommittee on Healthcare Workforce recommends that the House Select Committee on Health Care support the North Carolina New Organizational Vision Award Program in an effort to address the shortage of direct care workers.
"Direct care workers," such as orderlies, nurse aides, home health aids, and personal care aids, are a rapidly growing part of the North Carolina health care system. They tend to get paid between $8 and $10 an hour, and the turnover in NC has been higher than the national average.
NC New Organizational Vision Award (NC NOVA) is a voluntary, incentive-based program that licenses home care agencies, adult care homes, and nursing homes. (It's a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Atlantic Philanthropies.) The subcommittee's recommendation is simply to provide state funds to further the NC NOVA program.
The report makes a good case that something like NC NOVA is required in the state, but it doesn't contain much that tends to show that NC NOVA is accomplishing its goals well. In other words, there is clearly a need, but is NC NOVA the right solution? I'd like to know more about NOVA's effectiveness.
3. Support Allied Health and Nursing Programs
The Subcommittee on Healthcare Workforce recommends that the House Select Committee on Health Care encourage the General Assembly to support proposals from the North Carolina Community College System to designate allied health and nursing training programs as "high-cost" programs in an effort to assure hiring and retention of qualified faculty and the acquisition of appropriate facilities, equipment, and technology.
NC's healthcare needs will balloon over the coming years. Meanwhile, the General Assembly has expressed an intention to provide additional funds to "high-cost" programs at the Community College level. This recommendation is simply to make sure that the programs that will provide the health workers we need for the future fall within that definition of "high-cost."
4. Support AHEC Funding Priorities Regarding Mental Health
The Subcommittee on Healthcare Workforce recommends that the House Select Committee on Health Care encourage the General Assembly to support the funding priorities proposed by the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) with regard to developing new models for preparing mental health professionals to practice in the reformed mental health system, and linking primary care professionals to behavioral health professionals in new models of care at the community level.
To go much beyond the language of the recommendation, I'd have to know much more about "the reformed mental health system" and AHEC. Anybody understand this one?