As California continues to lead the nation in its efforts to expand access to health care — and make coverage more affordable — the California Future Health Workforce Commission has released a bold plan for ensuring the state’s health system has enough qualified workers to support and provide needed health services.
The Commission’s proposals will eliminate projected provider shortfalls in the field of primary care and nearly eliminate the shortfall in psychiatry by 2030. These proposals will enable community clinics, hospitals, and colleges to recruit, train, and deploy a new wave of health workers — especially those coming from and committed to working in underserved communities.
Leaders agree — it won’t be easy to solve the workforce crisis. But it is critical that California acts now.
Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health:
“I was privileged to participate in the work of The California Future Health Workforce Commission. This report sets out recommendations that are thoughtful, innovative and bold. The shortage of health care professionals looms large in our health care system and will only get worse unless we address it. As a health care provider, and someone who believes that health care is a right, it is critical that we have enough of the right kind of health professionals, with the right skills, to provide that care, especially in rural areas like the one I represent. The goals are hefty and the time for action is now.”
Patrick Courneya, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer – Quality, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals
“We are definitely facing a critical shortage of mental health care workers and at a time when we’re seeing a rise in people needing care and treatment. We — health care leaders, lawmakers, citizens, and educators — need to come together to tackle this issue, as the Commission recommends, to put us on the right path to recruit, train, and retain more psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health workers who reflect the populations we serve.”
Carmela Coyle, President and CEO of the California Hospital Association:
“Health care is nothing without the women and men called to service in this profession. This new report affirms something we have known for years: that if we do not collectively invest in developing a new generation of diverse, well-trained, and well-educated health care professionals, we will fall short in our promise to care for all Californians.”
Carmela Castellano Garcia, President and CEO of California Primary Care Association:
“The recommendations put forth by the Commission reflect the intricacies surrounding California’s workforce crisis — there is no silver bullet solution. Given the complexity of the workforce crisis, I’m pleased to see the Commission prioritize recommendations and provide an actionable step forward. I would like to thank the California Future Health Workforce Commission for their tireless work on developing these recommendations. It is clear through their work that the Administration, legislators, health centers and many other stakeholders will all have a large role to play in the coming years to address California’s workforce gap.”
Michael Schrader, Local Health Plans of California Board Chair and CEO, CalOptima:
The California Future Health Workforce Commission report calls for bold and necessary steps to strengthen and diversify our health care workforce and shines a light on critical provider shortages impacting so many California communities. Having a robust, diverse workforce in the urban, rural and suburban communities across the state will support and improve upon local plans’ ability to ensure their enrollees have access to high quality care. California’s local health plans are partners with the providers who treat and care for our enrollees and we appreciate the attention on the need for primary care, behavioral health and home care workers who have a wide range of backgrounds and experience.