Khan to roll out healthcare workforce legislative package

HARRISBURG, March 14 – State Rep. Tarik Khan, D-Phila., today announced that he plans to introduce two bills to help address shortages of healthcare workers so that all Pennsylvanians can receive high-quality medical care.

These bills would provide for the recruitment and retainment of nursing faculty members and health care preceptors.

The first bill would establish the New Nursing Faculty Grant Program to provide grants of up to $10,000 per year for newly employed, full-time nursing faculty members.

The second bill would establish the Pennsylvania Health Care Preceptor Deduction to incentivize qualified individuals to serve as preceptors for advanced practice nurses, physicians, physician assistants and registered nurses by providing a $1,000 tax deduction for doing do.

“As a nurse practitioner, I know how important it is to keep our healthcare workforce supply strong,” Khan said. “Recruiting nursing faculty is often difficult, and healthcare preceptors are often hard to find. Our bill will help ensure critical support for both nursing faculty and healthcare professional preceptors.”

The nursing faculty grant program is modeled after a Maryland program that was highly successful.

The second bill would make Pennsylvania the sixth state to take action to incentivize medical professionals to enter preceptorships.

Nearly 80,000 applicants across the nation were not offered enrollment to nursing schools in 2022. These prospective nurses were not turned away due to a lack of qualifications, but because nursing schools are facing a shortage of faculty members. In response, nursing schools have been forced to limit class sizes, therefore limiting the number of nurses Pennsylvania is able to turn out. The nursing faculty shortages are caused by many factors, including a need for higher education to be considered for positions, pay inequities, and faculty retirements.

Khan is joined in introducing these bills by state Reps. Bridget Kosierowski, D-Lackawanna; Paul Takac, D-Centre; Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne; Justin Fleming, D-Dauphin; and La’Tasha D. Mayes, D-Allegheny.

“People have to wait longer when they are seeking health care, because of the shortage of medical professionals that we are experiencing in Pennsylvania,” said Kosierowski, a registered nurse for nearly 30 years. “The financial incentives proposed in our legislation will help to remedy that situation and I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this bill through the state House.”

“A key to ensuring that every Pennsylvanian has access to high-quality, affordable health care is making sure that we have the workforce necessary to meet the growing need for highly trained nursing professionals,” Takac said. “In order to address the current critical shortage of nurses in our commonwealth, and to build capacity so that qualified students are not turned away, we must attract and retain the faculty and experienced mentors needed to train the next generation of healthcare providers. This legislation is designed to help close a critical gap in medical education in order to benefit patients, communities and caregivers.”

“Not only does our Commonwealth have a nursing shortage, but nearly 80,000 applicants across the nation were not offered enrollment to nursing schools in 2022,” said Pashinski. “These nursing faculty shortages are caused by many factors, including a need for higher education to be considered for positions and pay inequities, and due to many faculty members retiring in recent years.”

“A program model used in Maryland has been very successful in combatting some of these issues,” Pashinski continued. “Adopting this model would help ensure that Pennsylvanians can receive high-quality and reliable medical care and that starts with providing the incentives needed to keep nurses in the workforce and to continue to support new nurses and future nurses, and I am proud to be a part of that goal.”

“The pandemic drove home the impact of our nurse staffing shortage on patient care,” Fleming said. “One of the primary factors in the nursing shortage is that there aren’t enough faculty to train nurses. This package of bills would help turn this situation around by increasing the number of qualified nursing faculty and preceptors so that health care training programs can admit more students and ensure more health care workers enter the field.”

“With the nursing shortage in the U.S., Pennsylvania has approximately 10.64 nurses per 1,000 residents. With nursing homes, such as Jefferson Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation, shutting down as a result of staffing shortages, we must act now,” Mayes said. “Providing financial incentives, such as grants and tax credits, will attract more health care workers to pursue their career in our commonwealth.”