by Devon Green, VP of Government Relations, VAHHS Ding, dong, the 2021-2022 legislative biennium is dead! Or, on life support until we see if the governor issues any more vetoes and calls a special session.
It’s been a long two years, as reflected in the number of legislators leaving, including Bill Lippert, Chair of the House Health Care Committee. I will never forget that day in March of 2019 when he asked health care providers what they needed during the pandemic and then passed supportive legislation in about 24 hours. Thank you.
Our priorities this year were workforce, mental health, and regulatory flexibilities. Regulatory flexibilities were extended until spring of 2023. The legislature passed several workforce initiatives aimed at nurses, including: $2 million for nurse faculty, $400,000 for preceptor pay to Critical Access Hospitals, $2.5 million for employer nursing pipelines, $2.5 million in loan repayment to nurses and other providers, $1 million in loan assistance to nurse faculty, and $1 million to simulation labs. The legislature also allocated significant funding to the mental health workforce and passed the governor’s proposal of $500,000 to emergency departments for patients in mental health crisis with long stays.
These initiatives would be arduous during a regular session, but workforce challenges, new variants, and supply shortages popped up like a chainsaw murderer in a 70s horror movie every time we thought we could take a collective breath. Luckily, I get to work up close with those who keep our health care system and our government moving forward to serve Vermonters. These folks are truly inspirational, and I appreciate their work.
Vermont Asociation of Hospitals & Health Systems May 16, 2022