Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill Reported Out by Senate Committee
On September 21, 2011, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2012 Labor-HHS Appropriations. HHS is funded at $70.18 billion for FY 2012, compared with $70.44 billion in FY2011. The Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs have been level-funded.

FY 2012 Title VIII funds would be $242.387 million. The breakdown is as follows:
  • Advanced Education Nursing: $64.046 million
  • Nursing Workforce Diversity: $16.009 million
  • Nurse Education, Practice, Quality, and Retention: $39.653 million
  • Loan Repayment and Scholarship Program: $93.292 million
  • Nurse Faculty Loan Program: $24.848 million
  • Comprehensive Geriatric Education: $4.539 million

Oklahoma Addresses Nursing Education Bottleneck

In 2006, the Oklahoma Legislature created the Oklahoma Health Care Workforce Center (OHCWC), a nonprofit organization to deal with supply-and-demand issues related to Oklahoma's health care workforce and to develop solutions to identified concerns. One such concern is the bottleneck keeping nursing programs from adding more students because of the current, and inadequate, process in coordinating and scheduling clinical rotation spaces.

The demand for more nursing students is clear. According to OHCWC executive director Jim Durbin, "Projections provided by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce indicate there will be 3,000 new nursing jobs in the state by 2015. Yet data from the Oklahoma Board of Nursing indicates that schools are barely keeping up with current demand. If this holds true, schools will need to increase graduation rates by an estimated 25 percent to fill the new jobs." Durbin added, "Every nurse in school has to spend time at the bedside learning to be a nurse," but, "Nursing schools can't increase their enrollment unless they have enough clinical rotation space to train the additional students."

Schools and hospitals must coordinate and schedule these rotations. Durbin noted, however, "That coordination is currently being done with face-to-face meetings, e-mails, phone calls and prayers. It's inefficient, cumbersome and opaque. There is misallocation and excess capacity that goes unused." Luckily, OHCWC has come up with a solution that will bring efficiency to the process. Working closely with nurses and hospitals, and particularly with members of Nursing Education and Service Administrators in Oklahoma City as advisers, OHCWC has developed a fee-for-service, web-based system that offers state-of-the-art clinical scheduling. "Training has been completed and the system is being rolled out this semester to 24 nursing schools and 13 hospitals in the Oklahoma City Metropolitan area," Durbin said.

OHCWC estimates that the system can increase the number of available clinical slots by 25 percent or more. In addition, with the filling of 3,000 new nursing jobs to provide the care needed by Oklahomans, OHCWC estimates the cumulative economic benefit to Oklahoma could exceed $300 million.

        Volume 8, Issue 7
         September 2011

Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill Reported Out by Senate Committee


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