Friday, July 25, 2014

Select Committee Created to Tackle Texas’ Health Care Workforce Shortage

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) this week created the Select Committee on Health Care Education and Training, which will focus on preparing more Texans for careers in health care.

The state faces severe shortages in the health sector. Out of Texas’ 254 counties, 177 are designated all or partial health professional shortage areas by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. For mental health services, 207 counties face health care worker shortages.

“The strength of our health care workforce directly impacts the quality of care that Texans receive,” Speaker Straus said in a news release. “It also matters a great deal to our economy. Too many health jobs are unfilled, while too many Texans are not prepared to succeed in the workforce. The work of this committee will help more Texans prepare for successful careers in a very important field.”

Chairing the committee is Rep. Susan King (R-Abilene), a nurse, former school board member, and wife of Texas Medical Association President Austin King, MD. The committee also includes Reps. Cecil Bell Jr. (R-Magnolia), Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches), Garnet Coleman (D-Houston), Myra Crownover (R-Denton), Bobby Guerra (D-McAllen), Donna Howard (D-Austin), Joe Moody (D-El Paso), Chris Paddie (R-Marshall), John Raney (R-Bryan), and Justin Rodriguez (D-San Antonio).

According to the release, the committee will “assess the demand for health professionals across the state. They will also examine ways to better align public schools, as well as colleges and universities, with the needs of health care employers.”

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