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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Staffing Issues Remain Health Care Concern
04/04/2005

I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

Health care continues to grow at a rapid pace in North Texas, as hospital systems hustle to meet an ever-growing demand for more patient beds.

But more beds are only part of the answer. Because of general population growth, and a rapidly advancing elderly population, hospitals across North Texas also need more nurses and allied health personnel to meet the demand.

The good news is that the word is spreading that health care is a terrific career choice and that jobs are available. Unfortunately, our nursing schools can’t admit all of the qualified students who seek enrollment because of one simple fact: We don’t have enough nursing faculty to accommodate them.

Just last month in Austin, more than 200 nurses delivered this message to state legislators: Help nursing schools hire more faculty or risk falling further behind in the race to keep up with health care needs. The nurses asked elected officials to allocate about $50 million for faculty positions at nursing schools and recommended incentives, including tuition exemptions for children of nursing school faculty who attend state universities and colleges.

As our elected officials in Austin and Washington, D.C., look at ways to improve our nation’s health care system, it’s absolutely critical that we heed the nurses’ call for help. The fate of our communities’ health care for the future depends on our action today.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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