Quick Takes

Beshear signs bill to address shortage of health care workers in Kentucky

By: - March 22, 2023 4:05 pm

Registered nurses make up the largest chunk of Kentucky’s nursing workforce. Most Kentucky nurses are female, and most are white, according to data collected by the state Board of Nursing. (Getty Images)

Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday signed a bill aimed at addressing Kentucky’s health care workforce shortage. 

House Bill 200, which received bipartisan support from legislators, will create a health care workforce fund with private-public partnership administered by the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE). 

“This broad-reaching initiative helps nurses, nurses aides, mental health counselors, dental hygienist, EMTs, paramedics, just to name a few,” primary sponsor Rep. Ken Fleming, R-Louisville, said at the signing. “What we have accomplished is that we kickstarted health care career paths for Kentuckians while putting a jetpack on education and training to fill the healthcare workforce pipeline.” 

Most of the money in the fund will support scholarships for people seeking health care careers. It won’t receive funding this year, the Lantern previously reported, although funding could start from other sources.

Fleming has said he wants scholarship money to support underprivileged areas, specifically in Eastern Kentucky. Money may be used to “improve racial and ethnic diversity within a specific designated healthcare credential.”

“This will not only get us more health care workers we desperately need,” Beshear said ahead of signing, “but they’ll come in with less debt, which is something that we would all like to see.”


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Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, COVID-19 and more.