In February 2019, the California Future Health Workforce Commission released its final report, Meeting the Demand for Health, with ten priority recommendations for addressing the state’s growing shortages of health workers. The total cost of these priority proposals was estimated at $3 billion over the next 10 years—and the Commission projected these targeted investments would eliminate the state’s primary care provider shortage by 2030, while increasing access to health care in underserved communities across the state.
The 2019-20 state budget signed in June took an important first step toward this goal, and commissioners applauded the Legislature and Governor for directing more than $300 million in new funding toward expanding the state’s health workforce pipeline.
In October, a team of researchers from Healthforce Center at UCSF released a detailed analysis of how this year’s budget dollars for health workforce development will be allocated, where unspecified funds could be spent to make the biggest impact—and where the state should invest next year to continue “making rapid progress in addressing the state’s health workforce needs.”
Healthforce Center at UCSF: Summary of Budget and Recommendations
- 2019-20 Budget and Other Expenditures ($311.2 million): The Healthforce report concludes that up to $191.2 in this year’s budget could be invested in a manner consistent with Commission recommendations—along with an additional $120 million in Proposition 56 funds that have been dedicated to physician and dentist loan repayment programs.
- Specified budget funding ($75 million): Healthforce finds that $75 million of this year’s budget spending specifically advances the Commission’s recommendations—directing funds toward supporting residency training programs for primary care physicians (through the Song-Brown Healthcare Workforce Training Programs, CalMedForce, and other avenues).
- Unspecified funding ($116.2 million): Healthforce notes that $116.2 million in this year’s budget has been set aside for health workforce-related programs, but those funds are not yet tied directly to Commission’s recommendations. Healthforce makes suggestions for allocating these dollars—including, most notably, targeting a “large share” of the $60 million for the 2020–2025 Workforce Education and Training (WET) Program Five-Year Plan to fund grants to establish new psychiatry residency programs and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner education programs.
- 2020-21 Budget Recommendations ($196.7 million): Healthforce identifies opportunities to invest an additional $196.7 million in next year’s budget to “improve California’s ability to meet its health workforce needs in the short-run.” This includes five funding recommendations:
- Increase funding in residency training in primary care and psychiatry ($118.2 million)
- Invest in nurse practitioner education programs ($45.9 million)
- Expand psychiatric nurse practitioner programs in underserved areas ($3.9 million)
- Grow the pipeline of health professionals from unrepresented regions/backgrounds ($27.4 million)
- Assess impact of establishing a universal home care worker family of jobs ($1.25 million)
Access the complete Healthforce report here: https://healthforce.ucsf.edu/publications/leveraging-state-budget-implement-california-future-health-workforce-commission