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Gov. Beshear outlines health care priorities in budget proposal

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 6:50 PM EST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WSAZ) - Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced several priorities relating to health care in his budget proposal on Wednesday.

One of the first requests is to fully fund the Medicaid program and the Medicaid expansion program, which Beshear said one in three Kentuckians relies upon. In addition, the governor’s budget provides funding for 500 additional slots in the Michelle P. Waiver program and 100 additional slots for the Supports for Community Living waiver program.

“Families across the commonwealth depend on Medicaid. It’s simply the right thing to do to fund this program and expand the services offered through it,” Beshear said.

We thank the Governor for his support of critical programs that provide health care and support Kentucky’s most vulnerable populations,” said Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander. “He recognizes the residual positive economic impact, and without taking his eyes away from the fundamental role of government. The Governor’s support for Medicaid benefits others, including Kentucky’s children and our commonwealth’s provider community. In the most recent fiscal year, over 32,000 Medicaid providers were reimbursed for over $6.4 billion. Our Governor clearly recognizes the positive impact on the lives of Kentuckians with his support.”

Another priority in the governor’s budget is to address the critical nursing shortage in Kentucky, which led the governor to declare a State of Emergency in December 2021 followed by an Executive Order to help boost enrollment in nursing training programs.

“Our nurses are the brave, compassionate health care heroes who care for our people daily,” Beshear said. “We knew before how important they are, but now we’ve seen just how critical as we’ve navigated COVID-19. We’ve got to act and support Kentucky’s nurses as they’ve supported us since Day 1 of this pandemic.”

To help recruit and retain nurses, the governor is providing $6 million each year to increase the number of scholarships awarded to potential nurses. Current scholarships are financed by a portion of nursing licensing fees, which only supports around 150 students. The governor’s budget doubles the maximum award from $1,500 per semester to $3,000 a semester.

To help recruit and retain nurses, the governor is providing $6 million each year to increase the number of scholarships awarded to potential nurses.

In a video message played during the briefing, “The pandemic has shown us that while nurses are good at what we do, mandatory overtime can only continue for so long. And with the shortage like it is, we have got to have people who are willing to step into those shoes and continue this fight,” said Lerae Wilson, DNP, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient services for St. Claire Healthcare in Morehead.

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