(The Center Square) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order to create a special commission to examine how to fix the state’s healthcare worker shortage.
The 15-member Healthcare Workforce Commission must report its findings to the governor by the end of the year. Recommendations could include loan forgiveness programs, expanding education programs or technology investments.
Georgia, like other states, is facing a shortage of healthcare workers, including nurses, physicians and emergency medical personnel. State officials say the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated an existing problem.
“Our healthcare heroes have been through it all during the pandemic, and we thank them immensely for the sacrifices made and dedication shown,” Kemp said in an announcement. “To ensure the future health of Georgians and Georgia’s healthcare system, it is imperative for the public and private sector to come together and examine current needs and identify strategies for workforce recruitment and retention.
“I will take this commission’s findings into consideration as we continue working to keep Georgia the safest and healthiest place to live, work, and raise a family,” the governor added.
While Kemp plans to announce the commission’s members later, the order stipulates that the commission’s members include representatives of long-term care, mental health, nursing and hospitals.
The order allows the state’s Department of Community Health (DCH) to use funds “within its authority as needed” to help the task force complete its work. However, commission members will be unpaid, but state officers and employees can be reimbursed for their expenses.
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor