Supporting the Health Care Workforce
Across New Hampshire, severe workforce shortages are impacting Granite Staters’ access to health care. From primary and emergency care to mental health and substance use treatment and many other health care fields, patients are left facing lengthy wait times and distances to access care because there are not enough health care workers to meet their needs.
These workforce challenges are contributing to New Hampshire’s ongoing substance use and mental health crises, and are impacting the health of the Granite State.
The N.H. Legislature has taken several steps in recent years to help address the workforce, including raising Medicaid reimbursement rates for providers and expanding student loan repayment, among others. Still, the workforce crisis has only grown as more professionals have left the health care workforce.
A 2023 Senate bill (SB 86) proposes to boost New Hampshire’s health care workforce. It would make more funding available to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates which would help health care providers recruit and retain more workers and treat more patients in need. Further, SB 86 would establish a certification program for Community Health Workers to help these critical health care professionals enter the workforce. Finally, this bill would direct the state Health Department to expand health services in rural and underserved parts of the state.
New Futures strongly supports SB 86 because it proposes important steps to increase access to care by boosting the health care workforce. By increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates and expanding rural care services, this bill will go far to help recruit and retain needed health care professionals and increase access to care for individuals and families in need.
The Senate Health and Human Services committee made significant changes to SB 86 in committee. In its current version, only the increases to Medicaid reimbursement rates remain. The bill passed the Senate in amended form and was referred to the House. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives included $120 million for Medicaid reimbursement rate increases in their proposed budget. The Senate Finance Committee increased this to $135 million in its proposed budget. The full Senate will vote on the budget on Wednesday, June 7.