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More doctors, nurses, especially for neighbor islands

Posted on Jul 25, 2022 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main

The governor with (from left) Dr. Arcelita Imasa, JABSOM director of rural health Dr. Travis Hong and Dr. Erika Noel.

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that the state needs more doctors, nurses and other health care professionals. On July 7, Governor Ige signed into law two bills to address the critical shortage of physicians statewide. SB 2657 will help retain more graduates from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa School of Medicine by funding more medical residency training, especially on the neighbor islands and in partnership with Veterans Affairs. SB 2597 appropriates funds for the Hawai‘i State Loan Repayment Program in exchange for work commitments in geographically underserved areas across the state. The UH system will also receive nearly $2 million to expand nursing programs statewide.

Legislators, UH School of Medicine officials and members of the medical community applaud the governor’s signing of bills to increase the supply of doctors and nurses statewide.

“We saw many gaps during this pandemic in high-quality, professional jobs where we had no qualified local applicants,” said the governor, who has called for expanded training of homegrown talent in cybersecurity, health care, doctor and nursing programs, and teacher education. He thanked legislators and members of the healthcare community for their support, noting that the Commonwealth Fund had ranked Hawai‘i as first in the nation for its management of the pandemic. Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole, as chair of the Senate’s health committee, also praised the state’s response to COVID-19 and singled out the governor as “the person who never takes enough credit for stepping in and taking all the criticism, all the heat, but also having the obligation of people’s lives at stake.”


Read more in the August Capitol Connection newsletter.

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