The Hawaii State Legislature opens Wednesday, January 15, 2020 and in preparation the Healthcare Association of Hawaii (HAH) has spent several months discussing legislative priorities with HAH members, community partners, and elected and appointed government officials.
The top legislative priority for HAH in 2020 will be securing a state grant-in-aid to support industry-wide efforts designed to increase the numbers of patient-facing healthcare workers in Hawaii.
HAH has been working steadily on this challenge over the past two years because of the ongoing tightness in the healthcare workforce supply. In September, HAH’s Healthcare Workforce Initiative Report showed that there are more than 2,200 healthcare jobs open across the state, with an average vacancy rate of 10%, and most jobs are taking 6 to 12 months to fill.
The report also found that of 76 non-physician, patient-facing professions, 19 of them have no Hawaii-based education or training programs, and four of them are fields in high demand, such as physical therapy and RN case management.
HAH is already strengthening efforts by the state’s healthcare and education sectors to more closely align training programs with industry workforce needs. These include collecting and sharing fresh data, and talking on a regular basis with high school and college officials to discuss where progress can be made.
The grant-in-aid will support these and other efforts, with a particular emphasis on creating healthcare education and training opportunities for students of Native Hawaiian descent.