Sen. Ossoff, Rep. Buddy Carter Lead Bipartisan Push to Boost Health Care Workforce Across Georgia

Georgia is facing a critical shortage of nurses, physicians and emergency medical personnel across the state

New program would help train & retain more health care workers across the state

Georgia health care leaders across the state applaud efforts

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff and Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA-01) are leading a bipartisan push to help train and bring more health care workers to Georgia. 

Sen. Ossoff, Rep. Carter, and 11 members of Georgia’s Congressional Delegation launched an inquiry with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to approve a new program to bring more physicians, nurses, and emergency medical personnel to communities across Georgia.

Sen. Ossoff, Rep. Carter, and the Delegation members are pushing CMS to approve the new “GA-STRONG” proposal, which would provide funds to help teaching hospitals across Georgia hire, train, and retain more health care workers.

The expanded health care workforce would help more Georgians access the vital health care they need.

“Georgia has consistently been in the top ten states for critical staffing shortages,” Sen. Ossoff, Rep. Carter, and the members wrote. “The complex crises of workforce shortage and health inequity are urgent matters that require action. It is our sincere hope CMS will approve this program expeditiously.”

The letter was co-signed by Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock and Reps. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA-02), Drew Ferguson (R-GA-03), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (D-GA-04), Nikema Williams (D-GA-05), Lucy McBath (D-GA-06), Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA-07), Austin Scott (R-GA-08), Barry Loudermilk (R-GA-11), Rick W. Allen (R-GA-12), and David Scott (D-GA-13).

Click here to read a copy of the letter.

Hospitals and health care professionals across the state applauded Sen. Ossoff and Rep. Carter’s efforts.

“On behalf of Emory Healthcare and the communities we serve, I would like to thank Senator Ossoff and Representative Carter for leading their Georgia colleagues in support of the Georgia STRONG program,” said Dr. Bryce Gartland, Hospital Group President and Co-Chief of Clinical Operations, Emory Healthcare. “When approved, GA-STRONG will allow Georgia’s teaching hospitals to further invest in training the next generation of healthcare workers and improving access to important clinical programs such as maternal health. We urge CMS to quickly approve this innovative program to help stabilize our essential healthcare workforce and improve care for people across Georgia.”

“Memorial Health supports the GA-STRONG program and its creative approach to help teaching hospitals across our state address the healthcare workforce shortage” said Shayne George, CEO of Memorial Health in Savannah, GA. “The pandemic has put unprecedented pressure on all our teams and has made our staffing challenges even worse. The funding opportunities proposed by GA-STRONG will help Memorial Health recruit and train clinical staff to serve patients who need the high level of care we provide.”

“This innovative program will go a long way to strengthen the healthcare workforce pipeline for current and future generations. Northeast Georgia Health System enthusiastically supports Georgia’s proposal, and we encourage Administrator Brooks-LaSure to proceed quickly with approval. I would like to thank Senator Ossoff, Congressman Carter, and members of the Georgia Delegation for their support in Washington,” said Northeast Georgia Health System President and CEO Carol Burrell. “We also appreciate the hard work of Governor Kemp and the Department of Community Health to craft this critical program for our state.”

“At Phoebe, we are committed to developing innovative, collaborative and comprehensive responses to the worsening shortage of healthcare workers in Georgia – the most serious challenge facing hospitals and health systems in our state. The GA-STRONG program is exactly the kind of support we need as evidenced by the bipartisan support it has received in the Georgia Congressional Delegation,” said Scott Steiner, President & CEO of Phoebe Putney Health System in Albany. “We are extremely grateful that Senators Ossoff and Warnock, Congressmen Bishop and Austin Scott, and other members of Georgia’s House delegation came together to support this effort to improve healthcare in Georgia by strengthening the development of healthcare professionals. Their work will have tangible results, ensuring and expanding access to the quality health care Georgians need and deserve.” 

“GA-STRONG is a pioneering effort to address healthcare workforce shortages across Georgia,” said Kevin Brown, President and CEO of Piedmont Healthcare. “As Georgia’s largest healthcare provider and employer, we are grateful for Senator Ossoff’s and Congressman Carter’s leadership as well as broad bipartisan support from the Georgia delegation. We hope that CMS will approve this program quickly.”

“If implemented, the GA- STRONG initiative will provide critical assistance to Atrium Health’s mission as we improve health and wellness, elevate hope and advance healing for all of Georgia through both diversifying our talent pipeline and direct care developments,” said Atrium Health Navicent President and CEO Delvecchio S. Finley and Atrium Health Floyd President and CEO Kurt Stuenkel. “We are thankful for Georgia’s legislative delegation’s support of health care workers and our efforts to expand access to high quality care in some of the state’s most critical areas including pediatrics, maternal health and chronic disease management.”

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