Delegate Larry Pack, R-Kanawha, offered praise Tuesday for Gov. Jim Justice’s recommendation to use $48 million in CARES funding to help attract, train and teach nurses of all specialties.
“My mother was a nurse, and I work in healthcare, so I can’t say loudly enough just how important this effort will be for our entire state,” Pack said. “We’ve all heard how desperately we need more health care heroes here in West Virginia, and we need to take care of the nurses we already have serving our friends and family throughout the state, but we also need to recruit and train even more nurse to help boost our ranks.”
Justice described his announcement today as a “really aggressive program” that was created in consultation with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and Department of Health and Human Resources, among other entities. Some of the initiatives announced today were fully funding the West Virginia Nursing Scholarship Program; supporting a faculty loan repayment program; and increasing capacity at all RN and LPN programs throughout the state. Three specifics were highlighted today during the announcement: a joint program opening at Glenville State University in conjunction with Marshall University; a new program at Concord University; and an expansion of the current program at BridgeValley Community and Technical College.
This program has a worthy goal of producing 2,000 nurses in the next four years, and Justice said there will be “incentives to have them stay in West Virginia,” in addition to training and producing more quality nurses.
“As the governor said today, a large majority of our nurses are just plain tired and pushed to the very limit,” Pack said. “And these funds will have a multiplier effect, because when we invest in healthcare, we’re giving our economy a broad boost, and we’re also helping to improve health outcomes throughout the state.
“Just like the West Virginia University School of Nursing looked for ways to think outside the box to respond to the effects they were seeing of our state’s nursing shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we need all these efforts to support our healthcare heroes and work together for creative solutions to our problems.”
Pack is the CEO of Stonerise, a transitional healthcare company with locations throughout West Virginia. He was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2020 to represent Kanawha County and he serves on the House Health and Human Resources Committee as well as the Judiciary Committee and Small Business and Economic Development Committee.